Coping With Suicide Loss

Each death by suicide can affect up to 115 people.*

Suicide is not just the loss of one life. Suicide affects families and friends and is also felt in the workplace and the wider community. Suicide loss is generational–children carry the loss through their lives. Losing someone you care about to suicide is difficult and complex.

Angry survivors sometimes attribute anger to the lost loved one’s act, when really the act was motivated by a perception of deep disconnection from others and perhaps especially by the view that one’s death will be a net benefit to others, including loved ones. Suicide is not primarily about anger or revenge; it is sadder than that, in that those who die by suicide have concluded that they are bereft and that their deaths will be a service to others.

Thomas Joiner

Normal Reactions to Suicide Loss**

  • Shock and numbness
  • Deep sadness
  • Anger and blame
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Relief
  • Denial
  • Why questions
  • Fear
  • Depression
  • Spiritual or religious beliefs
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Reaching out

References and Resources

* Survivors of Suicide Loss Task Force. (2015, April). Responding to grief, trauma, and distress after a suicide: U.S. National Guidelines (p. 1). Washington, DC: National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention.

**Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP)