Continuing social presence of the dead: exploring suicide bereavement through online memorialisation

Louis Bailey, Jo Bell, David Kennedy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The last 10 years have seen a rise in Internet sites commemorating those lost to suicide. These sites describe the life of the deceased and the afterlife of relatives, parents, friends or siblings who have been termed the "forgotten bereaved". It is clear that such sites have implications for continuing bonds and for what many commentators refer to as the continuing social presence of the dead.This paper presents interim findings from ongoing research which focuses on two aspects of suicide memorial websites. First, we explore the extent to which such sites help us understand how the Internet is enabling new ways of grieving and is, in effect, making new cultural scripts. Second, although there is a large body of writing on the management of trauma there is little evidence-based research. The paper draws on face-to-face interviews with owners of suicide memorial sites (family members and friends) and explores how the establishment and maintenance of such a site is an important part of the therapeutic process and how, for grieving relatives, making or contributing to such sites provides ways of managing trauma in the aftermath of a death by suicide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-86
Number of pages15
JournalNew Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia
Issue number1-2
Early online date16 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


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