Surviving After Someone's Suicide

Suicide is almost always the result of a combination of painful suffering, desperate hopelessness, depression, and many, many other factors. The devastated family and friends left behind are known as "survivors". This page provides useful information for suicide survivors.


Photo of a woman sitting on a beach.

‌Common Reactions Experienced by Survivors

  • Shock: You may feel numb, disoriented, and have trouble concentrating.
  • Disbelief: You may ask yourself over and over why and find it difficult to comprehend.
  • Grief: You might feel overwhelming sadness at the loss for yourself and for others.
  • Anger: You might feel this way toward the deceased, toward yourself, and/or toward others.
  • Guilt: Many survivors think they could have or should have known and done something to prevent it.
  • Temporary Depression: You may experience disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, intense sadness, and lack of energy.

Coping

  • Talk about your feelings.
  • Don't be afraid to name it. It may help to simply acknowledge that loss by suicide is complex and difficult.
  • Ask for help from loved ones, spiritual communities, and professional mental health providers.
  • Reach out to others who have suffered similar losses.
  • Give yourself room to grieve in your own way and for others to grieve in their own way.
  • There is no set time for grieving. Take it at your own pace.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Create some new traditions as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays may be particularly difficult.
  • When you are ready, you will move on and enjoy life again. This is not a betrayal but rather a sign you have begun to heal.

If you have lost someone to suicide you should know that it is not your fault. Also, you are not alone! There is help available locally and nationally from other survivors and mental health professionals.


Resources

UWF Counseling & Psychological Services (850) 474-2420 (After hours, the automated system instructs you how to page the psychologist on call.)
Hopeline Network (800) SUICIDE (800-784-2433)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (800-273-8255)
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention http:/www.afsp.org



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