Year: 2022 Source: Crisis. (2022). 43(4), 278-288. SIEC No: 20220753

Background: While belongingness has frequently been investigated in the general population as an antidote to experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behavior, it has rarely been evaluated as a protective factor among individuals bereaved by suicide. Aims: We examined whether perceived belongingness could moderate the differences between suicide-bereaved, suicide-exposed, and nonexposed respondents regarding depression, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts. Method: We conducted an online survey of the adult Israeli population (N = 806), with 203 suicide-bereaved, 266 suicide-exposed, and 377 nonexposed respondents. Participants completed several questionnaires tapping depression and suicidality as well as perceived belongingness levels. Results: Individuals bereaved by suicide reported the highest levels of depression, suicide ideation, and suicide attempts in comparison with suicide-exposed and nonexposed individuals. However, belongingness was found to moderate these distinctions concerning suicide ideation and suicide attempts. Limitations: Belongingness was assessed by only a single question, and the online survey suffered from a relatively high nonresponse rate. Conclusion: Our results suggest that belongingness may act as a potent antidote to the adverse mental health consequences among individuals bereaved by suicide. Clinicians should accord adequate attention to fostering social connectedness among their clients bereaved by suicide.