There are plenty of resources available through the above websites...
suicide prevention information and assistance...
take a look at what they have to offer...
It will only take a few moments...
You are worth it...
to suicide survivors
i see a some similarities in the emotional reactions between suicidal survivors
and those who act out in custody...just the reactions. the range is wide—the
grief seems brought on unjustly—surprisingly...there is confusion, bargaining, and a difficulty understanding the circumstances...the
huge difference is obviously the sadness—there are no ethics at play with a suicidal survivor—they are the victim. of course, the inmate who acts out claims the role of the victim—but it simply
discuss similarities between Kubler Ross’ STAGES OF DEATH and the stages
of a DRUNK IN PUBLIC arrest.
i don’t know that your role as a grief counselor and intervener is going
to be that different when it comes to serving a suicidal survivor as opposed to a trauma victim...the dynamics are very much
the same. the suicidal survivor may have a wider range of reactions—due
to the shock or the anger—especially if the survivor is the parent of a
child—but this is still a generality, for we all know everyone acts differently.
with death never easy. When suicide is the cause of death, the situation can be even more uncomfortable.
important that the survivor understands that brain diseases such as clinical depression,
anxiety disorders, bipolar illness, and schizophrenia underly 90% of suicides.
is a no-fault disease of the brain. it is not caused just by life events such as the break-up of a relationship or loss of
express sympathy...avoid statements like, "You're you, you'll marry again." or "At least you have other children." Although well
intentioned, these statements can be upsetting. A heartfelt, "I'm sorry for your loss," is appropriate. the survivor is in the middle of a traumatic blur—so simplicity and presence are key.
the survivor may be experiencing a number of intense emotions:
shock, pain, anger, bewilderment, disbelief, yearning,
anxiety, depression, and stress are emotions expressed by some suicide survivors.
remember that grief is an intensely individualistic journey and every does it differently on their own time
table—there is no “right way” to grieve.
you may have experienced grief in your life, avoid statements like, "I know how you feel." Instead ask how the person is feeling...if
there is a common thread between you and the survivor, it can be touched on—but it is delicate and understanding the
person is critical.
listen & acknowledge
can be the most helpful thing you can do for a suicide survivor. Acknowledge the difficulty of the situation and be available
if the survivor wants to talk.
Find out about suicide survivor grief/support groups in your community.
survivors have found it helpful to attend a SUICIDE SURVIVOR SUPPORT GROUP. Encourage
the survivor to attend at least three or four meetings.
grief after suicide
Know that you can survive, even if you feel
you can't. the pain is horrible—but temporary. telling the truth to those in anguish is real and creates a bond.
Intense feelings of grief can
be overwhelming and frightening. This is normal. You are not going crazy; you're grieving. remind and reassure.
Feelings of guilt, confusion, anger, and fear are common responses to grief.
may experience thoughts
of suicide. This is common. It is also temporary. It doesn't mean you'll act on those thoughts. However, if you begin to feel like you
may, ask for help or call 911.
Forgetfulness is a common, but temporary side effect.
Grieving takes so much energy that other things may fade in importance.
Keep asking "why" until you no longer need to ask.
Healing takes time. Allow yourself the time
you need to grieve.
has no predictable pattern or timetable. Though there are elements of commonality in grief, each person and
each situation is unique.
Delay making major decisions if possible. Selling a home, car, cashing in on policies, moving, quitting
a job, etc. are all things that should be avoided if possible.
The path of grief is one of twists and turns and you
may often feel you are getting nowhere. Remember even setbacks are a kind of progress.
This is the hardest thing you will ever do. Be patient with yourself. Seek out people who are willing to listen when you need to talk and who understand your need to be silent.
yourself permission to seek
Avoid people who try to tell you what to feel and how to feel it and, in
particular, those who think you should "be over it by now."
Find a SUICIDE SURVIVOR SUPPORT GROUP that provides a safe place for you to express your feelings, or simply a place to go to be
with other survivors who are experiencing some of the same things you're going through.
coping for friends
friends and family ask how they can help, you might want to give them a copy of this section.
there has been a death of a loved one by suicide, survivors will experience a depth and range of feelings. It is important
to honor and respect the needs of the survivors in the days, weeks and months following the suicide. Often you may feel helpless.
These guidelines help you understand what may be comforting to the family. However, before you assume responsibilities, we
believe it's important to ask survivors whether they need your help. Some survivors gain added strength from performing many
of the responsibilities below, while others may want to rely on friends or family for support and guidance.
honestly to questions asked by the family. You don't need to answer more than asked. If they want to know more, they will
them with as much love and understanding as you can.
them some private time. Be there, but don't smother them.
love, not control.
them talk. Most of the time they just need to hear out loud what is going on inside their heads. They usually aren't seeking
the idea that decisions be made by the family together.
that they will become tired easily. Grieving is hard work.
them decide what they are ready for. Offer your ideas but let them decide themselves.
a list of phone calls, visitors and people who bring food and gifts.
to make calls to people they wish to notify.
the mail straight. Keep track of bills, cards, newspaper notices, etc.
a list of medication administered.
to help with documentation needed by the insurance company, such as a copy of the death certificate.
special attention to members of the family -- at the funeral and in the months to come.
them to express as much grief as they are feeling at the moment and are willing to share.
them to talk about the special endearing qualities of the loved one they have lost.
down a story about my loved one (especially one that I might not know myself) and give it to me, so that I can read it when
- Don't be afraid to say my loved one's name. Don't worry about making me cry;
it hurts so much more when no one talks about the person I lost -
a child may feel after a loved one's suicide
- Abandoned - that the person who died didn't love them.
- Feel the death is their fault - if they would have loved the person more or behaved differently.
- Afraid that they will die too.
- Worried that someone else they love will die or worry about who will take care of them.
- Guilt - because they wished or thought of the person's death.
- Embarrassed - to see other people or to go back to school.
- Angry - with the person who died, at God, at everyone.
- Denial - pretend like nothing happened.
- Numb - can't feel anything.
- Wish it would all just go away.
child or adolescent may have a many mixed feelings or may feel "numb." Whatever they are feeling, remember your role as an
adult is to help them and be supportive. Reassure the child whatever feelings they might experience, they have permission
to let them out. If they want to keep to themself for a while, let them. Don't tell a child how they should or should not
feel. This doesn’t work for anyone, especially children. Also, don’t discourage them from expressing negative emotions like anger.
How to explain suicide to children or young people
is a factor in understanding the type and amount of information to provide. Some children you can talk to about suicide with
a 1 or 2 sentence answer; others might have continuous questions which they should be allowed to ask and to have answered.
The most important thing to remember is to be honest. Children will always find out about what happened at some point, so
When a child hears that someone "committed suicide" or died of suicide, one of their first questions might
be, "What is suicide?" One way to explain is that people die in different ways - from cancer, heart attacks, car accidents,
or old age for example. Suicide simply means that a person caused his or her own death intentionally, it doesn’t have
to mean more than that. However, also explaining that the person they loved caused their own death because they had an illness
in their brain can also be helpful. If they press for more detail, use your discretion to help the child understand as much
as is age appropriate.
Some examples of explaining why suicide happens
"He had an illness
in his brain (or mind) and he died."
"Her brain got very
sick and she died."
"The brain is an
organ of the body just like the heart, liver and kidneys. Sometimes it can get sick, just like other organs."
"She had an illness
called depression and it caused her to die."
someone the child knows, or the child herself, is being treated for depression, it's critical to stress that only some people
die from depression, not everyone. Remind her there are many options for getting help, like medication, psychotherapy, or
a combination of both.
more detailed explanation might be:
thoughts and feelings come from our brain, and sometimes a person's brain can get very sick - the sickness can cause a person
to feel very badly inside. It also makes a person's thoughts get all jumbled and mixed up, so sometimes they can't think clearly.
Some people can't think of any other way of stopping the hurt they feel inside. They don't understand that they don't have
to feel that way, that they can get help."
It's important to note that there are people who were getting help for their
depression and died anyway. Just as in other illnesses, a person can receive the best medical treatment available and still
not survive. This can also be the case with depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
A child needs to understand
that the person who died loved them, but that because of the illness he or she may have been unable to convey that or to think
about how the child would feel after the death. The child needs to know that the suicide was not their fault, and that nothing
they said or did, or didn't say or do, caused the death.
Some children might ask questions related to the morals of
suicide - good/bad, right/wrong. It is best to steer clear of this, if possible. Suicide is none of these - it is something
that happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with that pain.
Whatever approach is taken when explaining suicide
to children, they need to know they can talk about it and ask questions whenever they feel the need. They need to understand
they won't always feel the way they do now, that things will get better, and that they'll be loved and taken care of no matter
- reassure children that it is NEVER their fault and always be honest...they
need to trust and rely on you -