Grief is a normal response to losing someone important to us. When someone dies by suicide, those bereaved often experience a very complicated form of grief caused by a combination of sudden shock, unanswered questions of "Why?" and feelings of "What could I have done?". They may experience a range of emotions highlighting the dramatic personal effect suicide can have and the important but difficult task of helping someone bereaved by suicide.
For those dealing with the suicide of someone they know, it's important they feel free to talk about their reactions to suicide openly and honestly, to find support to make sense of what has happened, deal with their grief and learn how to live with their loss.
How does suicide bereavement affect us?
Suicide loss can impact both physical and mental health. It's important people bereaved by suicide are treated with compassion and support.
They may experience:
Shock, numbness, denial
Searching for reasons "why?"
Stigma and shame
Thoughts of suicide themselves
Help and support after a loss by suicide
If you are dealing with the suicide of a friend or loved one, it is important to find support to make sense of what has happened, deal with the grief and learn how to live with your loss.
The pain of suicide loss can't be erased quickly but there are things you can do that will help:
1. Take time out -- it's OK to give yourself time out from the pain you are experiencing by doing something you enjoy, even if you don't feel like doing it at the time.
2. Stay connected and accept support -- from friends, family, and support networks. This will reduce your sense of isolation and feelings of loneliness associated with grief.
3. Honor the deceased person -- talk about them, keep a journal, share memories and photos.
4. Stay healthy -- eat well, exercise, try to sleep and avoid drugs and alchohol.
5. Prioritize daily taks -- only do what is essential, avoid making major decisions until you can think more clearly.
6. Ask for help if you need it -- talk to a counselor/psychologist, a helpline like Lifeline, friends and family to find comfort, support and ways to cope.
7. Join a suicide bereavement support group -- sharing your experience with others who have been through similar experiences will help you realize you are not alone and that you can survive.