Coping Strategies for Dealing with Suicide


Because of the nature of the events that lead up to suicide, the trauma of the occurrence, and the often unkind response by others, the aftermath of a loved one’s suicide can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Learning to cope and deal with grief in a healthy manner is pivotal to your long term healing and health. Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep in touch. Reach out to loved ones, friends and spiritual leaders for comfort, understanding and healing. Surround yourself with people who are willing to listen when you need to talk, as well as those who’ll simply offer a shoulder to lean on when you’d rather be silent.
  • Grieve in your own way. Do what’s right for you, not necessarily someone else. If you find it too painful to visit your loved one’s gravesite or share the details of your loved one’s death, wait until you’re ready.
  • Be prepared for painful reminders. Anniversaries, holidays and other special occasions can be painful reminders of your loved one’s suicide. Don’t chide yourself for being sad or mournful. Instead, consider changing or suspending family traditions that are too painful to continue.
  • Don’t rush yourself. Losing someone to suicide is a tremendous blow, and healing must occur at its own pace. Don’t be hurried by anyone else’s expectations that it’s been “long enough.”
  • Expect setbacks. Some days will be better than others, even years after the suicide — and that’s OK. Healing doesn’t often happen in a straight line.
  • Consider a support group for families affected by suicide. Sharing your story with others who are experiencing the same type of grief might help you find a sense of purpose or strength.

Know when to seek professional help

Another aspect of death by suicide is that family members can view suicide as a method to extinguish their pain. Watching children and close family members for signs of suicide is especially important. If you think you might be depressed or you have recurring thoughts of suicide, please contact a Health Care provider. Grief that is not properly managed can turn into Complicated Grief.

How can you face the future with a sense of peace?

After a traumatic death such as suicide, family members often doubt that they will be able to move forward and enjoy life again. There are often many unanswered questions.  Even years later triggers can bring back feelings of grief and pain; however, the intensity and the frequency of these occurrences will fade with time.  What now seems to dominate every aspect of your life will gradually become less of a forefront issue.

Understanding suicide and how to cope with grief can help you find peace and healing, while still honoring the memory of your loved one.

As you read other blogs from our page on Suicide we hope you can fine common experiences and examples that will aid you in healing.

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