Year: 2017 Source: OMEGA--Journal of Death and Dying. (2017). 75(2): 184-206. DOI: 10.1177/0030222815612297 SIEC No: 20170329

Children whose parent died by suicide are a vulnerable and underserved population. This phenomenon will be described, as well as implications for practice and research. “Double Whammy,” a conceptualization of the overall experience of this marginalized group, emerged through two in-depth interviews from a phenomenological qualitative study with professionals who facilitate support groups for children bereaved by parental suicide. It was corroborated with current literature and practice experiences of the authors and their colleagues. Stigma was the largest contributor to the “Double Whammy,” and the following themes emerged as well: feeling isolated, feeling abandoned, and feeling responsible. The self-volition of suicide challenges how bereaved children make meaning and internalize feelings about the deceased parent, one’s self, and others. Developmentally appropriate education about suicide grief, depression, and normalizing the grief process is pivotal in helping children to effectively cope and manage their feelings.