Year: 2020 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2020). 24, S280-S302. DOI: 10.1080/13811118.2019.1574248 SIEC No: 20200614

Few studies have explored the impact self-harm has on family members, with none specifically focusing on physical and psychosomatic responses following a family member’s high-risk self-harm Therefore, this study aims to explore the health impact of experiencing a family member’s high-risk self-harm. Participants represented family members of consecutive cases of self-harm, who were recruited from the Suicide Support and Information System – A Case-Control Study (SSIS-ACE). Qualitative interviews were conducted with 9 participants whose family member presented to a large tertiary hospital in Ireland with high-risk self-harm. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was conducted. Qualitative findings indicated 4 superordinate themes in relation to experiences following a family member’s presentation to hospital following an episode of high-risk self-harm (1) implications for health and well-being; (2) process of meaning-making; (3) feelings of responsibility and (4) challenges with support network. Participants consistently experienced adverse health impacts including vomiting, hypertension, and depression. The findings imply that caring for their own and their family members’ well-being, together with challenges with accessing health services underscores the importance of family members being proactively contacted by healthcare professionals to alleviate these detrimental health effects.