Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2021

Degree Type


Degree Name



Special Education

First Advisor


Second Advisor



In the United States, death certificates document pre-existing conditions only when they directly contribute to a death. This precludes generating data in the event of a suicide involving a blind or visually impaired individual and for that reason existing suicide data is scarce for this population. This Grounded Theory study, with the participation of a Licensed Professional Counselor, interviewed twenty blind or visually impaired individuals utilizing the CDC Self-Directed Violence survey instrument to determine the level of stressors that were experienced by the participants as well as the nature and number of protective supports, amongst other factors. The study reinforced findings of a study by Lam, Christ, Zheng, and Arheart (2008) that found a primary source of stress for the blind and visually impaired was the number of non ocular health issues. The study found seven stressors to which this population has a heightened susceptibility. For example, the effects of the Pandemic magnified the already unremitting constraint imposed by mobility issues. The study found five additional stressors that affect the blind and visually impaired in a manner unique to them. For example, one onus of being blind or visually impaired is accommodating the sighted and mitigating the sighted unease being around the blind and visually impaired. The study found this population to demonstrate strong protective supports. For example, manifesting personal attitudes that provide for resiliency and allocating priority for socialization. Implications for suicidology, for example, is that once a suicide risk factor breaches an individual’s cognitive process and makes suicide appear logical, the damage has been done. Effort might be better directed to immunize the individual against toxic cognitive processing leading to suicide ideation by instilling practices that lead to a life-is-good attitude, admittedly easier said than done.