How do you survive a suicide crisis?
If you have lost someone to suicide you are not alone. Each year over 36,000 people die from suicide. More people die in the United States from suicide than from homicide. How do you overcome a myriad of feelings, thoughts and physical symptoms? These could include but certainly not limited to shock, depression, disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, intense sadness, severe anger, guilt and sometimes even relief if a loved one has suffered from a long, difficult mental illness. Survivors try to answer the question of “Why?” over and over again. Some replay their loved ones last days searching for clues. Many times there are no answers. 90 percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder most often depression or bipolar disorder. Suicide is complicated. How do survivors try to cope? What do you tell others?
The following advice is from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
Most survivors have found it best to simply acknowledge the fact that their loved one died by suicide. Reach out to family and friends. Take the initiative to talk about the suicide. Although difficult, maintain contact with other people during the painful and stressful time after a loved one’s suicide. Each person grieves at their own pace and in their own way. There are no set methods or timeline for healing. Some survivors find comfort in community, religious or spiritual activities. Be kind to yourself. When you feel ready begin to go on with your life. Enjoying life is not a betrayal of your loved one, rather a sign that you have begun to heal.
Some survivors find it comforting to talk to others with similar experiences. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org) has a list of survivor support groups and healing conferences in your area. AFSP’s website also lists extensive resources including books, advice, survivor stories, information about mental illness and suicide and ideas for helping children. Individual counseling with a mental health professional can help you through the grieving process. Again remember you are not alone, it is not your fault and healing will take time.
*this information is from “Surviving After Suicide Loss” a pamphlet printed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
For your information here are some Crisis Hotlines and online resources:
Utah County Crisis Line: 801-2264433; Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373- 7393; National Crisis Line: 1-800-784-2433; Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1- 866-4887386
NAMI Utah: namiut.org; Salt Lake Mental Health: saltlakementalhealth.com; Utah Chapter-American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: afsputah.com.