Loss Survivors

Suicide Loss Survivors by the American Association of Suicidology
Survivors of Suicide Fact Sheet A survivor of suicide loss is a family member or friend of a person who died by suicide.

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Coping with Loss and Grief After Suicide from SAVE:
  • Know that you can survive, even if you feel you can’t.
  • Intense feelings of grief can be overwhelming and frightening. This is normal. You are not going crazy; you’re grieving.
  • Feelings of guilt, confusion, anger, and fear are common responses to grief.
    You may experience thoughts of suicide. This is common. 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.
  • Grief 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.
  • Give yourself permission to seek professional help.
  • 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 support group for survivors 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.

 

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For Loss Survivors from the American Association of Suicidology

Coping with Suicide Loss from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

SOS: A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide
Available in Spanish
This is a brief handbook to help people who have experienced a loss by suicide cope with their emotions and questions.

Suicide: Coping with the Loss of a Friend or Loved One
This is a brief guide to understanding and coping with emotions and questions that arise from losing a friend or loved one to suicide.

Practical Information for Immediately After a Loss
This brief guide gives practical information to help survivors of suicide loss get through the first few days.

This brief guide answers questions survivors of suicide loss might have about what emotions to expect and how to make self care a priority.

After a Suicide: Recommendations for Religious Services and Other Public Memorial Observances
This booklet helps community and faith leaders plan memorial observances and provide support to survivors.

A message from a loss survivor:

“Some of the most influential things which helped me through my mother’s suicide were learning about the stages of grief, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, the powerful message in the Serenity Prayer, and writing letters to my mother.

The 5 Stages of Grief on Wikipedia
The Serenity Prayer on Wikipedia

Attempt Survivors

A collection of portraits and stories of suicide attempt survivors.

“My name is Dese’Rae L. Stage. I’m a photographer, writer, and suicide awareness advocate.
I was diagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder in 2004. I’m also a survivor of nine years of self-injury and a suicide attempt catalyzed by an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. It is these experiences, coupled with the loss of friends to suicide and a lack of resources for attempt survivors, that prompted me to start working on Live Through This.”

For Attempt Survivors from the American Association of Suicidology

Mental Health Channel A FREE online mental wellness channel for every viewer

Reasons to Go On Living Stories of people who have attempted or seriously contemplated suicide but now want to go on living

Talking About Suicide 60 interviews with attempt survivors

The “S” Word Documentary June 16, 2016

The Way Forward A video from the Suicide Attempt Survivors Task Force

What Happens Now? A project by the American Association of Suicidology

People continue to ask about suicidal thoughts and actions, “Why would you want to do that to yourself?” What a shocking and fundamental misunderstanding. The question, as with any potentially fatal health issue, should be, “Why is this happening to the people we love?”

“Try Again” music video

“You Belong” music video