The loss and grief experienced by family and friends – and the practical matters that need attending to – when someone dies by suicide can be especially complex and challenging.
Emotional reactions to a suicide are intense and overwhelming.
Knowing what to expect will help you cope and begin healing.
Most survivors find it hard to think clearly. You may feel as if your brain is numb. You may forget things. You may replay the suicide over and over in your mind, and find you cannot stop asking “Why?”
You are not to blame for the choice made by another person.
You are not to blame for the suicide of someone close to you.
It is not unusual to feel overwhelmed by sorrow, physically ill and angry. You may feel ashamed or guilty. Sometimes, survivors think about suicide themselves. These reactions and other strong feelings are normal. People react in different ways when they are mourning such a loss.
There is no timeline for grief. Heal at your own pace.
Let others help you
Your sense of confusion is likely so great at first that it can be hard to cope — so let other people help you. Look to your friends, family, place of worship, community and others for support. They can deal with callers and help make funeral and other arrangements. They can assist you in remembering what you need to know and do and in making some decisions. They can be there to simply listen.
An excerpt from Hope and healing after suicide
This guide has been written with the help of many suicide survivors and the health professionals who work with the survivors. We hope it will help you through this difficult time. The guide focuses on the practical matters that survivors need to deal with after a suicide.
Information & support packs for those bereaved by suicide or other sudden death
Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing as part of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy
Information & support packs for those bereaved by suicide or other sudden death are a redeveloped suite of resources produced by Urbis Keys Young in consultation with community and government stakeholders under the National Suicide Prevention Strategy. A unique pack has been created for each State and Territory, containing information on the process of loss and grief, how to talk to young people about suicide or sudden death, and services and resources available to people grieving.
Government of Western Australia
Mental Health Commission
When we are in shock and we have strangers with whom we must deal we can feel helpless and powerless over what’s happening. Understanding what and who is involved in this process can help us in these early days.