Year: 2023 Source: Death Studies. (2023). SIEC No: 20231897
We examined social mechanisms of suicide support groups based on evidence from an Italian postvention program. Our data comprise field notes from 47 meetings of a peer group and interviews with 20 suicide survivors. Group meetings unfolded as interaction rituals with elements including the survivors’ focus on their trauma, their common emotions, and their perception of boundaries to outsiders. Meanings relative to these elements were expressed by participants according to three types of representations, termed diagnostic, prognostic, and motivational framing. Main themes concerned: the uniqueness of suicide loss; related emotions such as self-blame and a sense of abandonment; the survivors’ estrangement toward social networks; a common search for strategies for coping with grief; some correlated emotional benefits; the awareness of a diffuse cultural unreadiness to deal with suicide; the definition of the group identity; a related sense of belonging; and group participation in terms of an extended solidarity.