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Surviving Suicide

Someone you love completed suicide, a son, daughter, parent, friend.   After they are gone, we try to keep moving forward, yet each step is complicated.   The impact of suicide can intensify survivor’s feelings of blame and guilt.  Survivors have an intense need to understand the why of suicide and the implications for themselves and their families.  Feelings of anger and blame are often directed toward the person who died by suicide.  Feelings of guilt are carried by survivors who often feel, “I should have…   Suicide that is witnessed by family or friends adds to the trauma of the loss.

For those affected by Suicide please consider:

  • Especially with children, after someone they knew died by suicide, it is important to break down the barriers of shame and secrecy of the topic of suicide, by parents and professionals. This is true for most of us.
  • Tears are not to be feared. Allow them to be a release from the strong reactions that come from losing someone to suicide, or losing someone we tried to help, or losing someone who struggled with suicidal ideation of their own.
  • Acknowledge that this is a difficult topic to discuss, and then discuss it, especially with a mental health professional. Seek professional assistance for yourself, and find meaning out of the loss by sharing information with others.  Break down the stigma of mental health.  Talk about it.
  • Go for a fundraising walk. NAMI, The National Alliance on Mental Illness sponsors an annual walk in various locations.  Go to their web site for additional information and resources at
  • Don’t try to go it alone. There are many who are ready and willing to help.


SUPPORT GROUPSto find one near you contact…

The American Association of Suicidology, (202) 237-2280

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, (888) 333-AFSP(2377),

Compassionate Friends, (877)969-0010,

The Link’s National Resources Center for Suicide Prevention and Aftercare, (404)256-2919,

SPAN USA – Suicide Prevention Action Network, (888) 649-1366,


BOOKS  – a list of some of the most popular books on this topic include…

No Time to Say Goodbye, by Carla Fine, published by Doubleday

Why Suicide?:  Questions and Answers About Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know, by Eric Marcus published by Harper One

Healing After the Suicide of a Loved One,  by Ann Smolin and John Guinan, published by Simon & Schuster

Life After Suicide: A Ray of Hope for Those Left Behind, by E. Betsy Ross, published by Insight Books

My Son… My Son:  A Guide to Healing after Death, Loss or Suicide, by Iris Bolton with Curtis Mitchell, published by Bolton Press


MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALSorganizations through which you might find a qualified therapist or counselor.   Contact your workplace Employee Assistance Program or seek out a mental health professional in your community.

American Psychiatric Association (800) 964-2000,

American Psychological Association, (800) 374-2721,

 National board for certified Counselors and Affiliates, (336) 547-0607,



SOS, A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide, by Jeffrey Jackson, American Association of Suicidology.

Suicide, ADEC Forum:  The quarterly publication of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, Volume 69, No. 1, January 2014. 

The Last Dance, Encountering Death and Dying, Tenth Edition, DeSpelder, Lynne Ann, Strickland, Albert Lee, McGraw-Hill Education, 2 Penn Place, New York, NY, 10121, 2015, pp. 371-72.




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