Supporting Adolescents Bereaved by Suicide or Other Traumatic Death: The Views of Counselors

Karl Andriessen, Jessica Snir, Karolina Krysinska, Debra Rickwood, Jane Pirkis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adolescents bereaved by suicide and other traumatic death may experience strong grief reactions and increased risks of mental health problems and suicidal behaviour. As timely access to professional help can be critical, it is essential to understand how counselors perceive suicide bereavement in adolescents and how they work with this population. This study aimed to examine the perspectives of counselors (N = 34). Eleven participated in an individual semi-structured interview and 23 others in group interviews. Thematic analysis yielded three themes: (1) Building a relationship with the bereaved adolescent, (2) Offering support tailored to the needs of the grieving adolescent, and (3) Offering strengths-based and sustainable support. Counselors’ skills, attitudes, content-related expertise, and approaching the adolescent’s grief within their developmental context were deemed essential for building a therapeutic relationship and offering viable support. The findings may inform good practices in counseling bereaved adolescents to facilitate positive mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalOmega (United States)
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 2024


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