Below are recommended publications for dealing with grief and suicide.
Red Chocolate Elephants – Dr Diana Sands
When a loved one dies by suicide there will be lots of confusing and different feelings that are hard to find the words for. Children need reassurance that they are loved and that nothing they did caused the death. Most children will have a limited understanding about what suicide means and will look for information from adults that they trust, to help them make sense of this raw and painful experience.
For Family and Friends
Dying to be free: A healing guide for families after a suicide – Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch
Honest, gentle advice for those who have survived an unspeakable loss – the suicide of a loved one. Transforming suffering into strength, misconceptions into understanding, and shame into dignity, Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch break through the dangerous silence and stigma surrounding suicide to bring readers this much-needed book. Cobain’s achingly honest account of dealing with the suicide of a loved one, along with personal stories from others who experienced this profound loss, provide powerful insight into the confusion, fear, and guilt family members experience.
A chapter about “the suicidal mind” helps families not only comprehend the depth of their loved one’s pain prior to suicide, but also understand why such desperation is so difficult to recognise – even in the closest relationships. By sharing survivor stories as well as the latest thinking and statistics about suicide, Cobain and Larch break through myths, misinformation, and misunderstandings. The result is a book of extraordinary compassion and steadfast guidance for anyone awash in the aftermath of unfathomable loss.
Recovery – Patricia M. Brown
When we suffer significant loss, some people lose even more. They lose the art of living. They “shut down” because of sadness and confusion, and remain stuck in the grieving process, locked away from life.For those who continue to suffer needlessly, Recovery provides clarity, alternative thinking and a variety of strategies designed to create a brighter future. “This book is a unique gift. It is the distillation of hard-won wisdom about recovering your life in the aftermath of devastating loss. It is a book about grief, but it is also a book that celebrates the wonder and joy of life. … a lifeline Pat extends to others who find themselves trapped within their grief and for those who love them and want to help.” – Diana Sands, PhD – Director, Centre for Intense Grief
In Her Wake – Nancy Rappaport
In Her Wake is a rare thing: the story of a psychiatrist analysing her own psychological drama. Nancy Rappaport was just four years old when her mother – a prominent Boston activist and socialite – committed suicide. Decades later, Rappaport, a child psychiatrist with three children of her own, pieced together a complex mosaic of her “mama.” In Her Wake sheds light on the nature of hurting and healing and is a potent reminder that love outlasts death.
No Time to Say Goodbye – Carla Fine
Suicide would appear to be the last taboo. The suicide of a loved one is still an act most people are unable to talk about—or even admit to their closest family or friends. This is just one of the many painful and paralysing truths author Carla Fine discovered when her husband, a successful young physician, took his own life in December 1989. And being unable to speak openly and honestly about the cause of her pain made it all the more difficult for her to survive.
In No Time to Say Goodbye, she brings suicide survival from the darkness into light, speaking frankly about the overwhelming feelings of confusion, guilt, shame, anger, and loneliness that are shared by all survivors. Fine draws on her own experience and on conversations with many other survivors—as well as on the knowledge of counsellors and mental health professionals. She offers a strong helping hand and invaluable guidance to the vast numbers of family and friends who are left behind by the more than thirty thousand people who commit suicide each year, struggling to make sense of an act that seems to them senseless, and to pick up the pieces of their own shattered lives. And, perhaps most important, for the first time in any book, she allows survivors to see that they are not alone in their feelings of grief and despair.
Bereavement After Traumatic Death – Helping the Survivors – Edited by D. De Leo, A. Cimitan, K. Dyregrov, O. Grad, K. Andriessen
Unless forced by circumstances, people in modern societies go to great lengths to deny death, to the extent that even death of a loved one from natural causes tends to catch us unprepared and unable to cope with its consequences. Death as the result of a sudden, catastrophic event (traffic accident, suicide, a natural disaster, etc.) can have even more extreme effects, sometimes striking survivors so violently and painfully that it leaves an indelible mark.
This book speaks about the consequences of such traumatic deaths in a wonderfully simple and straightforward way. The authors describe, step by step, what happens to people after the sudden death of a family member or close friend, the difficulties they face in coping, and how professionals and volunteers can help. With their wide experience, both personally and as internationally renowned authorities, they have written a book for professionals and volunteers who deal with bereavement in language that is accessible to all, so it will also help those who have suffered a traumatic loss themselves to understand what to expect and how to get help.
Suicide and culture – Understanding the context – Edited by E. Colucci, D. Lester
The increasing domination of biological approaches in suicide research and prevention, at the expense of social and cultural understanding, is severely harming our ability to stop people dying – so run the clearly set out arguments and evidence in this lucid book by leading social scientists and suicide researchers.
In the first part of this book, instead of simply comparing suicide in different countries, the authors review and examine the fundamental issues of why culture is of vital importance in understanding and preventing suicidal behaviour, what the “cultural meaning” of suicide is, and where current research and theory are leading us. The second part of the book then presents (and, importantly, also critiques) exemplary recent research, including a quantitative and qualitative study on the meaning of suicide in Australia, India, and Italy, which is reported in detail, as well as other studies on correlates of suicidal behaviour in Kuwait and the US, on a culturally specific form of suicide (sati), and on the role of cultural conflict in South Korea.
Farewell to the Father – Tim Elliott
“Tim Elliott’s story – on his father and love against the odds – will split your heart open.” – Benjamin Law
Towards the end of his first serious suicide attempts, my father said the strangest thing to me…
Growing up in 1970s Sydney, Tim Elliott had a loving stay-at-home mum, a professional father, three siblings, a private school education and endless opportunities to fish and surf at the nearby beaches.
But this was not the idyllic childhood it appeared. A charismatic, well-respected doctor by day, Tim’s father became a roaring madman at night.
The house was our castle, and Dad was our king. He was an unpredictable king, tyrannous and moody, lethal one day, loving the next.
This is an extraordinary memoir of growing up with a parent afflicted by mental illness: a complex elegy, powerfully told, loaded with love, rage and surprising humour. It is about the lengths children will go to protect themselves – and their families – from shame or harm, and how adapting to that adversity becomes and intractable part of who we are as adults.
Leaving Early: Youth Suicide – The Horror, The Heartbreak, The Hope – Bronwyn Donaghy
This book provides a moving and very personal story of three young people, their families, their friends, their lives. It explores some of the most asked questions: why do so many of our young people resort to suicide? What can family and friends do to avert tragedy? Also contains vital information on where to go for help in a crisis.
After Suicide: Help for the Bereaved – Dr Sheila Clark
This is an extremely valuable book which will be of great support and assistance to those who are bereaved through the tragedy of suicide. It shows practical common sense and careful guidelines to help people find their way through this time. This book would be of great value to general practitioners and all those who may be involved in providing support and care for bereaved people following a suicide.
World suicide statistics have become frightening. There are thousands of people who have lost a relative or friend through suicide. This book has been written in response to the needs of people who have lost a loved one through suicide. It is intended to help people understand the emotions they may face, provides suggestions for practical help and assists them to build a new life again. The format of the book is unique with information provided in small packages so as to be easily assimilated by the distressed reader.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Survivor Day film 2013
Postvention Australia Conference 2014 – Professor Robert Neimeyer: In the shadow of suicide
Postvention Australia Conference 2014 – Professor Judy Atkinson: Hidden Trauma Part 1: Healing family relationships after suicide in Aboriginal Australia
The Irish Hospice Foundation – Complicated Grief
Radio host Mike Puru talks about the day he lost his colleague to suicide, and how he and his colleagues dealt with the fallout.
Dr Lynne Russell
Māori suicide from a personal and professional perspective: the statistics and research, as well as the importance of kōrero and telling stories to help the healing process.