Know when to seek professional help
If you experience intense or unrelenting anguish or physical problems, ask your doctor or mental health provider for help. Seeking professional help is especially important if you think you might be depressed or you have recurring thoughts of suicide. Keep in mind that unresolved grief can turn into complicated grief, where painful emotions are so long lasting and severe that you have trouble resuming your own life.
Depending on the circumstances, you might benefit from individual or family therapy — either to get you through the worst of the crisis or to help you adjust to life after suicide. Short-term medication can be helpful in some cases, too.
Face the future with a sense of peace
In the aftermath of a loved one's suicide, you might feel like you can't go on or that you'll never enjoy life again.
In truth, you might always wonder why it happened — and reminders might trigger painful feelings even years later. Eventually, however, the raw intensity of your grief will fade. The tragedy of the suicide won't dominate your days and nights.
Understanding the complicated legacy of suicide and how to cope with palpable grief can help you reach inner peace and healing, while still honoring the memory of your loved one.
May 12, 2012
See more In-depth
- Block SD. Grief and bereavement. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Jan. 19, 2012.
- Schreiber J, et al. Suicidal ideation and behavior in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Jan. 19, 2012.
- Grief after suicide. Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. http://www.save.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=EB8EE3F1-7E90-9BD4-CE08CCD6E3FFD933. Accessed Jan 19, 2012.
- Lindqvist P, et al. In the aftermath of teenage suicide: A qualitative study of the psychosocial consequences for the surviving family members. BMC Psychiatry. 2008;8:26.
- Begley M, et al. The lived experience of adults bereaved by suicide: A phenomenological study. Crisis. 2007;28:26.
- Feigelman W, et al. Personal growth after a suicide loss: Cross-sectional findings suggest growth after loss may be associated with better mental health among survivors. Omega. 2009;59:181.