Tips for suicide survivors
- Living healthy
- Remember to eat, sleep, exercise, drink plenty of water, and breathe…. Just sit back a few times a day and take a deep breath.
- Your feelings
- Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Feelings are not “good” or “bad.” Acknowledge your feelings.
- Keep a journal
- Write your feelings, your dreams, and your memories. Keeping a journal is a great way to work out your emotions, and it allows you to look back later to see how far you’ve come.
- Talk, open up
- Allow yourself to talk about your loved one. Find a safe place to do just that. Whether you call a friend, speak with your pastor, or join a support group.
- Time to heal and recover
- Remember that you have suffered a great loss and a horrific trauma. Allow yourself the time you need to heal. Also, remember individuals deal with loss in their own way, in their own time.
- Living in memory
- Find special ways to remember the memory of your loved one.
- Plant a tree,
- make a memory album,
- donate money in their name,
- light a candle on their birthday…
Do something that works for you
- What is suicide?
- Learn more about suicide. Read books, surf positive websites on the web, talk to other survivors. Learn the warning signs; decide on a plan of action with family members; stay in regular contact with a friend. If you are having thoughts of suicide, tell someone and find help. Stop the legacy of suicide in your family.
Survivors, grief and suicide
Studies have shown that grieving helps whenever you have lost a love one through suicide. Taking time out to cry, for instance, is important as a survivor of suicide. You will grow in your own strength and hope so you will live a happy and meaningful life.
Helping a suicide survivor
- Give them time, love and understanding.
- Remember that individuals grieve in their own way, in their own time frame. Give them the space they need to grieve, and don’t try to rush them.
- Encourage them to talk about what they are feeling or thinking, and to express their grief.
- Offer ideas and not advice. Let them decide what they want to do and when.
- Help them to not feel guilty for taking care of themselves – remind them to get a lot of sleep, eat regularly, and drink plenty of water, exercise.
- Pay attention to their loved ones in the following months. Survivors are often hyper vigilant” – afraid to lose someone else. Help them to understand that these feelings are natural. Assure them that they are not alone in watching out for their loved ones.
- Listen when they want to talk about their loved one who died by suicide – you may be the only person urging them to do so.
- Encourage them to find a support group. Being with people who have experienced similar losses is a good idea. These groups can be found by calling your local crisis centre or checking online.
Developed by Lighthouse (Ireland) Ltd
- Robinson, R. (2001) Survivors of Suicide. Franklin Lakes: Career Press