A year ago, approximately 160 people bereaved by suicide took part in a study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. The eventual goal of the study is to teach computers how to read suicide risk in text. For their part, the suicide loss survivors collectively read through 1,300 suicide notes and assigned emotions to the words in the notes. Each participant completed about fifty notes although some people did more and some did less.
The study is significant because it is one of the first where the suicide bereaved have taken part in something suicide prevention related. Most suicide studies that have included the bereaved have been about coping with loss. In this study, some of the bereaved wanted to help but found as they started to review the notes that it was overwhelming and they couldn’t continue. But many more were able to complete the task despite any sadness it brought to them, and they were glad to help. The hope is that this will lead to more opportunities for the bereaved to contribute.
Here is a link to a summary of the study: http://www.la-press.com/sentiment-analysis-of-suicide-notes-a-share...
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., is an international author and speaker about finding hope after loss and change. She is the author of several books including Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief and Ginger's Gift: Hope and Healing Through Dog Companionship. Her first book, based on the suicide of her younger sister Denise, Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Si..., inspired siblings around the world in their survival after a loved one’s suicide. She is the President of the American Association of Suicidology and lives in Albuquerque, N.M. Read more about Michelle at www.michellelinngust.com.