Death by Suicide happens. In 2017, there were 1,400,000 suicide attempts made in the United States. That same year, 47,173 Americans died by suicide. (Source: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics)
In this video, I’m sharing what NOT to do after someone dies by suicide (and what you CAN do instead):
Don’t blame yourself
It’s not your fault. If someone truly wants to die, they will find a way. We do the best we can to protect and support our friends, families and loved ones. Though ultimately, their decisions are theirs, not ours. Instead, be kind to yourself and connect with others. You can find local support groups by going to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline website: suicidepreventionlifeline.org . AFSP also offers events in the community such as the Out of the Darkness Walk where you can connect with others and remember your loved one.
Don’t use the term “committed” or “completed” suicide
Dying by suicide is not a criminal act- it’s a tragedy. You’d never say someone committed a heart attack, completed a stroke. Instead, you’d say things like they experienced a heart attack, they died from a stroke. Use these same words and phrases to describe your loved one’s death- they died by suicide.
Don’t avoid your feelings
It’s normal to experience a range of uncomfortable feelings and thoughts when someone dies. Just because your loved one died by suicide, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to grieve their death, the same you would for anyone else. Some people find it healing to journal about their experience. Writing a letter to the person they lost can also help. Connecting with a grief therapist can be especially helpful in these times. And if someone else’s death by suicide has you contemplating ending your own life, please call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24/7.
Don’t let others tell you how to grieve
At the end of the day, you are the person who knows you best. You intuitively know what you need in times of grief and loss. Tune and do what feels right for you.