Grief is deeply personal.
Death by suicide is sudden, sometimes violent and usually unexpected for survivors thus the grieving journey can be especially difficult.
There are many feelings that family and friends can experience when adjusting to a loss by suicide.
- A sense of disbelief, confusion, numbness
- Feeling a need to answer the question 'why'
- Anger, guilt, shame
- Feeling abandoned or rejected by the person who died
- Overwhelming sadness
- Feeling like they need to conceal or deny the cause of death
- Stigmatized and a fear of what people will say
Factors that Impact the Grief Journey
- The unique, individual meaning of the loss
- Past experiences with loss/death and personal coping behaviours
- The presence of other stressors
- Culture, values and how a person makes meaning of experiences and events
- Family mourning rituals and traditions
- Mourner's knowledge of mental health
- Social stigma
- Access to personal and community support
How to Help
- Listen, be empathetic and validate their feelings
- Stay connected, be present and intentional
- Be supportive and practical
- Get information about options for support - individual or group
- Learn more about mental health, suicide awareness and prevention
- Remember to take care of yourself