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Title: Facebook and Suicide Grief: Tracking the Story of Bereavement through One Social Medium
Contributor(s): McKay, Kathryn  (author); Tighe, Joe (author); Maple, Myfanwy  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2013
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Abstract: The grief following a suicide death has long been considered different to other forms of bereavement. One key feature of this difference is stigma which, in many societies and cultures, can leave the suicide bereaved isolated and disconnected from their community. Previous research examining the experiences of the suicide bereaved report feelings of being silenced-left both without a voice to articulate grief and without an audience to hear their stories. Facebook has occupied a somewhat dichotomous role within suicide research. Initially such social media was viewed with uncertainty, particularly as it remains difficult to ensure the safety of vulnerable people who disclose suicidal feelings in such open fora. This may be exacerbated by the fact that a person's number of Facebook 'friends' may advertise popularity but may not be indicative of their true connectedness to individuals or a community. However, the positive role Facebook can play in giving the suicide bereaved a voice in their grief-allowing them to tell their story-has been little examined. In remote communities, where access to traditional modes of help seeking can be limited by distance and lack of services, Facebook can be used positively to not only remain connected to others but also access information on services which can provide professional counselling and support. A case study in a remote Australian Aboriginal community demonstrates the ways in which Facebook has provided an accessible and valuable tool for an individual recently bereaved by suicide. By analysing the trajectory of the language used over time, and the way the story of grief was told, it can be seen that the use of Facebook facilitated healing and (re)connection to the community. This discourse opens up new ideas to the ways in which Facebook and other social media may be employed to better assist those experiencing grief, identify vulnerabilities and ensure greater connection to services at appropriate times for those who require them.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Reflections on Narrative: Interdisciplinary storytelling, p. 147-160
Publisher: Inter-Disciplinary Press
Place of Publication: Oxford, United Kingdom
ISBN: 9781848882454
Field of Research (FOR): 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
111712 Health Promotion
200201 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Series Name: Probing the Boundaries
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