Year: 2022 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2022). 26(3), 1362-1377. SIEC No: 20220829
Objective The loss of a friend or family member to suicide, i.e., surviving suicide, can be devastating. Yet, little is known regarding the support received by survivors of suicide. We aimed to examine the characteristics of survivors of suicide who sought counseling from a Danish volunteer organization. Method Data on all users of the Danish Network for those Affected by Suicidal Behavior (NASB) were obtained during 2012–2018. Information on age, sex, relation, time of loss, municipality was analyzed, and geographical driving distances calculated. Results Altogether, 1,268 survivors of suicide (mean age 43.3; 29.8% of all suicides) received counseling from NASB. In all, 81.8% of service users had lost a partner or first-degree relative; those being spouses/partners (15.3%), parents (28.5%), children (19.0%), and siblings (15.4%). Female service users (71.1%) outnumbered males (28.7%). A third of users sought counseling within 6-months of the death. A help-seeking rate of 6 users per 10 suicide deaths was found within close proximity to a counseling venue; equivalent of 5.5 (95% CI: 5.0–6.0) users per 100,000 inhabitants. Each additional 10 km of driving distance was associated with a 15% lower rate of use (b: −0.015; 95% CI: 0.027 to 0.003; p = 0.013). Conclusion Geographical proximity to help centers was important and could suggest that support might be lacking in some parts of the country. It seems likely that more than 0.6 persons per suicide might seek counseling from volunteer organizations if services were available within short driving distance.