How do you sur­vive a sui­cide cri­sis?

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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.

Support op­tions:

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.

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