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In the United States, suicide has become a leading cause of death, reaching nearly 50,000 deaths in 2022. With each death, it’s estimated that there are six or more “suicide survivors” – those deeply affected by the loss and left to grieve and try to understand what happened.

While all forms of death are difficult, losing a loved one to suicide comes with extra challenges. That’s why it’s so important for suicide survivors to receive support as they grapple with the questions and emotions that come along with suicide loss. Today, we’re going to discuss support options that are available to those who are struggling with the suicide death of a loved one.

Group of six people sitting in a circle as part of a grief support group

1. Join a Support Group

Suicide loss comes with hardships that not everyone experiences or understands. Often, suicide survivors deal with social stigma, shame, isolation, trauma, and confusion about why this happened or how they missed the signs. At a suicide grief support group, survivors will meet other people walking a similar path. Grief can make you feel isolated, but by joining a support group, it becomes apparent very quickly that you aren’t alone in what you’re feeling.

To find a support near you, visit the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP), where you will find a directory of support groups. You can search by zip code to find the nearest groups.

Young man sitting on a couch, speaking with a grief counselor who is taking notes

2. Speak with a Grief Counselor One-on-One

For some, speaking with a grief counselor face-to-face may be the best fit. If there are particularly traumatic memories, such as being the first to find a loved one who completed suicide, there may be things you don’t want to discuss with a larger group. Through one-on-one sessions, suicide survivors can talk through any traumatic memories, depression, confusion, anxiety, or flashbacks.

There are counselors who specialize in companioning those dealing with suicide loss. If you know a grief counselor in your area, reach out to them directly to schedule an appointment. If you aren’t sure where to start, ask family or friends for recommendations or visit AFSP’s directory for clinicians who have received training to support suicide loss survivors.

Counseling is also available online through organizations like Better Help or Online Therapy.

Looking down at woman typing on a laptop

3. Find an Online Forum

Another option for receiving support after suicide loss is to find an online forum to share what’s on your mind and receive encouragement from others. If you aren’t sure about joining an in-person group, an online forum may be a good first step.

Perhaps the most well-known forum is Alliance of Hope, which offers a “culture of kindness, hope, and understanding to people who have lost loved ones to suicide.” You can either post yourself or simply read others’ posts – both actions can help you on your own journey toward healing.

Woman sitting outside alone, leaning against a tree and reading a book

4. Read Books about Suicide Grief

As you work through the complicated emotions that come with suicide loss, there may be times when you just need to know that there’s hope. Consider looking into books about suicide grief, especially if you are someone who likes to read. You could dive into a more academic understanding of what to expect on the grief journey or you could read about another person’s journey through suicide grief. Hearing someone else’s story may be just what you need to feel encouraged for the healing work ahead.

Depending on your preference, select a physical book or an audiobook. Look online for book recommendations, but here are a few to get you started: “10 Books to Help You Through Suicide Loss.”

Mature man and adult son standing outside and talking

5. Talk with Family and Friends

Lastly, let’s not underestimate the power of talking things out with family or friends. Speaking with family members may be difficult at first, particularly if you are both deeply grieving the same person. But at the same time, leaning on each other can bring you closer and help you feel connected and supported through this upsetting time. And don’t feel like you need to speak to everyone – choose people you feel comfortable sharing with.

During times of grief, it’s essential to talk through what’s going on in the mind. By talking about the past, sharing memories, or voicing difficult emotions, everything comes out into the open. When previously hidden things are in the open, they lose their power over us. It may be easier to hide in the dark, but to find healing, things need to be addressed and brought into the light.

Woman in blue sweater sitting on bed, writing in journal

Additional Resources

As you consider your grief support options, remember that you aren’t limited to just one. If you’d like to join a support group, talk with a counselor, chat on an online forum, read books, and share with family and friends, do it. The more support you receive after suicide loss, the more likely you are to find the healing and reconciliation you need. While you may never fully understand why your loved one decided to complete suicide, you can come to a place where you can accept the answers you’ve found.

To help you on the journey, here are additional resources to consider. May your heart find healing and hope for the future as you process the death of someone dearly loved.

Suicide Loss & Prevention Websites

Suicide Loss & Grief Blog Articles

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