Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Why Empathetic Responses are So Important

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Phew! The last 2 months finishing up my Emerging Scholars Fellowship project was a whirlwind, but I’m extremely excited by the findings.  When analyzing the interviews for my project, it was a big challenge to make sense of all the different factors related to disclosure: how many people were told, how much information was disclosed, and how disclosure changed when multiple attempts had occurred. To better understand the sequence of events, I started drawing timelines of the events.

The example below highlights one individual who experienced negative reactions from family members following an attempt; yet, her sister responded in a helpful manner. From that point forward, she felt comfortable talking about current suicidal thoughts with her sister. In other words, her sister became a confidant, and her sister helped navigate treatment when needed.

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