The suicide of an adolescent is a violent, unexpected, and self-inflicted death that falls outside the normal order of life, leaving the family in a crisis situation that requires them to mobilize their energy. Yet, despite this ordeal, most families continue to function and sometimes even undergo positive change following this experience. The concept of post-traumatic growth could help to explain this phenomenon. Based on the results of a study of families bereaved by the suicide of an adolescent, the process of post-traumatic growth of these families will be presented. Intervention methods will be proposed to help participants intervene to support families and individuals bereaved by a suicide.
Christine Genest is an assistant professor in the faculty of nursing at the Université de Montréal, and a researcher at CRISE and the Quebec Network on Nursing Intervention Research. Her research interests focus on postvention, nursing in relation to suicide, the role of first responders, and the impact of suicide on these workers. Genest is currently leading two major research projects: (1) the adaptation of the emergency safety net to suicidal patients, and (2) the impact on first responders of repeated exposure to trauma. Her doctoral thesis explored the process of resilience among families bereaved by the suicide of an adolescent.