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Hope and Healing after Suicide

Healing after a suicide death

​Healing doesn't mean forgetting. It means feeling less pain as you heal. Here are some ways you can help yourself heal.

Talk about it

Talk about your memories of the person who died by suicide. Talk to people you're comfortable with and who will listen. They don't need to have gone through the suicide with you.

Sometimes friends and family want to help but don't know what to do. They may feel uncomfortable talking about suicide or worried about upsetting you. They might act strangely and not mention the suicide at all. These are normal reactions, but don't let them stop you from talking about it when you need to.

When you're ready, let people know it's OK to talk about the person who died, and they can help you by listening. Most people really care but just don't know how to help.

Do what works for you

Remember to do what feels right for you, not what pleases other people. It’s OK to take time for yourself. Other times, you may want to be with other people and do something that helps you to stop thinking about the suicide. That’s OK too.

Talk to people who understand

It can help to talk to others who have lost someone to suicide. Sharing an experience can be healing. Many organizations offer bereavement groups to help you cope. Find a group that makes you feel comfortable to listen and share. Visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention to find a grief or bereavement program near you.

Hold on to your memories

You may find comfort in keeping items that remind you of the person you lost, such as clothing, jewelry, furniture, or one of their favourite things.

Beyond surviving

It’s important to know you will get through this hard time. You may not think you can now, but you will. Here are some things to remember as you heal:

  • Take one moment or one day at a time. Give yourself time to heal.
  • Get professional help if you need it.
  • Be patient with yourself and with others who may not understand what you’re going through.
  • Set limits and say no when you need to.
  • Be aware that your family and friends may also be feeling pain.
  • ​​Find someone to talk to who is a good listener that you feel comfortable with.
  • You may be surprised by how strong your feelings are. It’s OK to express them.
  • Don’t be afraid to cry or laugh when you need to.

As time passes, it will be easier to cope with your loss. Whatever you do, make sure it feels right to you.

Current as of: March 22, 2021

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention, Alberta Health Services