Faculty member, dean author book on effects of suicide of a parent
A book aimed at helping children cope with the suicide of a parent has been co-authored by a faculty member and dean at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

“Losing a Parent to Suicide” was written by Amy Boelk, an associate professor of sociology and social work, and Marty Loy, dean of the College of Professional Studies. It is the first to integrate first-person narratives about parental suicide and offer strategies to deal with the anguish and after-effects of these situations. The 224-page book also offers research and modes of therapy to counselors who help grieving children. It was published by Routledge and is available on Amazon.com and Routledge.com. 

Boelk, Loy and a team of collaborators conducted extensive interviews and research to produce the book. Many contributors were associated with Camp HOPE, a camp for grieving children co-founded by Loy and his wife, Becky. 

“We have already received emails from people who have found our book helpful on professional and personal levels,” said Boelk. “It is our goal for this book to inform many more counselors, therapists and other professionals who work with bereaved children.”

“There is a lack of clarity about the differences between suicide bereavement and other types of bereavement, and this book fills the gap in literature,” Loy said. “Ultimately, we hope it is helpful to children and adults who have had similar experiences.”

Boelk, who came to UW-Stevens Point in 2000, has experience helping others cope with the loss of loved ones as a former hospice staff social worker. She received the University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005 and is currently working on the manuscripts of “Family conflict at the end-of-life: An examination of the experiences of hospice primary caregivers and hospice staff.” She earned degrees in social work at the University of Texas at Austin, UW-Madison and UW-Eau Claire. 

Loy has written several articles and papers in the areas of faculty development and childhood adolescent grief, including “Children and Stress: A handbook for parents, teachers and therapists.” He joined UW-Stevens Point as head wrestling coach and lecturer in 1987 and previously served as a professor in the School of Health Promotion and Human Development. Loy earned a doctorate in education administration at UW-Madison and a master’s degree in education counseling at UW-Oshkosh.​


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