On a related yet different topic, what do you do with the complex emotions of grief after someone you love has taken his or
her own life?
Click on Suicide Survivor Grief Support for hope and support after this devastating loss.
Below is a brief summary of guidelines for helping survivors
By Steven W. Jewell, MD
Child Guidance and Family Solutions
Appearing in NAMI Ohio News Briefs
survivors suffer in a variety of ways: 1) because they need to mourn the loss of someone who has died; 2) because they have
experienced a sudden, typically unexpected traumatic death; and 3) because of the social stigma surrounding suicide they are
often shunned by society.
Here are some ideas how a caring friend or family member can help.
1. Accept the intensity of the grief. Don’t be surprised
by the intensity or wide range of feelings associated with suicide grief.
Listen with your heart: Don’t worry about what you will say. Simply listen and understand.
3. Avoid simplistic
explanations and clichés: Be certain to avoid passing judgment or providing simplistic
explanations of the suicide.
4. Be compassionate:
Give permission to express feelings without fear of criticism.
the need to grieve: As a caring person, you may be the only one willing to be with the
survivors during this difficult time.
6. Understand the uniqueness of grief:
Keep in mind that the grief of suicide survivors is unique; and because of that, be patient. Every one
7. Be aware of holidays and anniversaries: Like all grievers, survivors
of suicide may have a difficult time during holidays and on the anniversary date of the death.
Be aware of support groups: Support groups are one of the best ways to help survivors of suicide. You may be able to
help survivors locate such a group.
faith and spirituality: If faith is part of their lives, allow for its full expression. If they are angry with God,
encourage them to talk about their anger without fear of rejection from you.