A death by suicide is a traumatic event. Feelings of shock, denial, guilt, anger, shame, confusion and sadness are common responses to grief. Survivors of suicide loss usually feel numb and in shock when they first find out about the suicide and for several weeks after or even longer. The feeling of shock helps to protect you from the pain of what's happened. Most people find it hard to think clearly. You may forget things. You may replay the suicide over and over in your mind and find you can’t stop asking “Why?” These reactions are normal, as are other strong feelings you may have. You’re not going crazy—you’re mourning the loss in your own way.
Sometimes people who have experienced a loss by suicide will have suicidal thoughts themselves.
If you’re thinking of suicide, there is help. Call 911 or
Canada Suicide Prevention Service, or visit your local emergency room.
Although it may be hard to speak openly about suicide, it’s important to tell friends and family what really happened. This lets them help each other cope with their grief and also helps you work through yours. In some situations, you might choose to say something as brief as, “His death was a suicide and I just can’t talk about it yet”, or “She was struggling with depression and died by suicide”.
You may feel very confused at first and find it very hard to cope—so let other people help you. Look to your friends, family, place of worship, community, and others for support. They can deal with callers and help make funeral and other arrangements. They can also be there to simply listen.
Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
Current as of: October 17, 2018
Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services
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