Suicide is a devastating way to end someone’s life, and we should take the time to remember how it can affect everyone – not just those lost to suicide. Without a doubt, suicide is a tragedy indescribable beyond words. But amidst our grief, we should keep in mind survivors of bereavement by suicide – family, significant others, and close friends.
21st of November is a day is for those who are grieving or have had to grieve the loss of one to suicide, offering survivors of suicide loss a chance to come together, seek comfort in one another, and remember those who have passed.
How to cope if you’re a survivor of bereavement by suicide
Bereavement isn’t a simple process. Some people either express their emotions through tears or anger, while there are those who withdraw and almost seem unaffected.
What you should bear in mind is that there is no correct way to deal with grief – it is completely okay to feel what you feel.
Here are some symptoms that survivors of suicide loss can experience:
- Intense, overwhelming sorrow
- Lack of concentration
- Hopelessness towards life
- Lack of feeling and social detachment
- Avoidance – of family and friends, of your loved one, any memories to do with your loved one
Some of these symptoms might feel irreversible and encompass every facet of your life, but you should try and remember that there is always a new day.
Give yourself time and be kind to yourself, and you will find that the intensity of your bereavement will fade. That does not mean that you start to forget or have any less love for your loved one, but it means that you’re overcoming the loss.
If you do start to find no improvement as time goes on, it would be worth seeking professional help.
What to do if you know a suicide loss survivor
We understand that talking to a suicide loss survivor might be uncomfortable and hard to navigate at first. You might be worried about saying the wrong thing that will end up worsening the situation, or saying nothing at all to the same effect.
What matters at the end of the day is letting them know that you’re there for them, and showing up when they reach out to you.
Here are some things you could do to show your support for survivors of suicide loss:
- Do say, ‘I’m not sure what to say, but I’m here for you.’
There is no correct phrase to say to a survivor that will instantly make them feel better. It’s fine to admit that you’re unsure about how to help them.
As long as they know that you’re willing to listen, or to sit with them in silence, this will give them a safe space.
- Do not say, ‘I understand what you’re going through.’
You might understand that they are grieving, but bereavement isn’t simply sorrow and misery. Suicide loss is much more complex than that.
- Be patient
There is no time frame when it comes to a survivor’s grief. Avoid saying things like, ‘you need to move on,’ as this might make them feel pressured to get over it for your benefit rather than theirs.
- Refrain passing judgement on the suicide
Do not refer to the suicide as a selfish choice, a weakness, or a sin.
For survivors of bereavement by suicide, it might seem impossible in dealing with and overcoming your grief. What’s important to keep in mind, especially for those who know a survivor, is that you can always do something to help.
How SupportRoom can help
SupportRoom is a digital behavioural technology healthcare company. Our platform connects individual clients with a network of licensed therapists through an easy to use and HIPAA compliant, web and mobile platform.
With SupportRoom clients can send text, videos and voice messages anytime and from anywhere. All our therapists are fully qualified and offer confidential, convenient online therapy.
Get access to therapy, wherever & whenever you need it. SupportRoom’s mission is to make therapy available, affordable and provide ongoing support for all.
We also offer a digital behavioral technology healthcare platform for businesses and EAP. SupportRoom connects employees with therapists in the moment.