How To Take Care Of Yourself
Find a support group. You don’t have to cope with your loss alone. There are support groups specifically for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
Do what feels right to you. Don’t feel pressured to talk right away. Do what feels right to you. If you choose to discuss your loss, speaking can give your friends and family the opportunity to support you in an appropriate way.
Write. You may find it helpful to write your feelings or to write a letter to your lost loved one. This can be a safe place for you to express some of the things you were not able to say before their death.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to let your friends provide support to you, or to look for resources in your community such as therapists, co-workers, or family members.
Make a safety plan. Have a step-by-step plan ready for if/when you feel depressed, suicidal, or in crisis, so you can start at step one and continue through the steps until you feel safe. Having a template on hand with an established plan may be helpful, or you can get help and guidance at https://www.mysafetyplan.org/.
How to Help
Accept their feelings. Loss survivors grapple with complex feelings after the death of a loved one by suicide, such as fear, grief, shame, and anger. Accept their feelings and be compassionate and patient, and provide support with empathy and without judgement.
Be empathetic. Events like holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries may bring forth emotions and memories of the lost loved one, and emphasize this loved one’s absence. Check in on and use empathy with loss survivors during these times.
Don’t avoid talking about the person who died by suicide. Use the name of the person who has died when talking to survivors. This shows that you have not forgotten this important person, and can make it easier to discuss a subject that is often stigmatized.
Check in with the loss survivor. Individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide are also at risk of having thoughts of suicide. Ask the individual if they are having thoughts of suicide and get them help if you see warning signs.
Brett celebrates his mother's memory every day, not just on a designated holiday.
"I adored my mother. I didn’t need a specific holiday to express myself, or to prompt me to think about how I felt. Every day was Mothers’ Day in my heart, and I know that despite how she felt at any given moment, within her illness, she knew that."Read Brett's Story