School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Mollie Boyd


suicide prevention, postvention, bullying, connectedness


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Much has been discussed and researched regarding suicide in the general population as well as among military members and veterans, but far less attention has been given to the subject of suicide among military family members. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and describe the phenomena experienced by families who have lost someone to death by suicide, with the most salient point and objective being offering insights that may lead to preventing further suicide deaths. The scope of this study encompassed survivors of suicide loss, some selected for their affiliation with the U.S. uniformed services and others without this affiliation. The study proceeded in a pyramidal fashion from a generic overview of suicides to a more specific focus on young people, especially those who are part of the military family system who experience suicidal ideation or behaviors. The hermeneutic phenomenological experiences of surviving family members were examined. Interviews were conducted face to face or through video interface, the latter being the preferred method due to the social distancing restrictions secondary to the covid epidemic. Some interviews were conducted electronically when the participant chose to do so, and verifications were done by telephone. Twenty-one open-ended questions were asked of the participants. Responses were analyzed for content and for nuances of experience and for similarity and uniqueness of individual experience for comparison. It is my hope that shedding light upon and examining in depth the factors that may emerge as causative or influential may be used as roadmaps in furthering the prevention of suicide moving forward, especially in the military family system and in younger populations.

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