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Support After Suicide

Losing a loved one through suicide can be a traumatic and devastating experience. You may feel like your world has fallen apart, and you are left feeling shocked, lost and confused.

The nature of the death affects you so deeply that you struggle to find an explanation to make some sense of the suicide.

You may find yourself on a rollercoaster of emotions, experiencing feelings of deep sadness, loss, pain, anger, panic, guilt, loneliness, shame and humiliation, some of which can be overwhelming.

You may be asking yourself…
  • Why? How did this happen?
  • Why didn’t I see the signs?
  • Could I have done something to make a difference?
  • How do I go on living?
Know that…
  • No one is ever prepared for the suicide of a loved one.
  • You are not alone in this.
  • Support is vital in the healing and recovery process.

“Is what I’m experiencing normal?”

The sudden trauma may cause some physiological disturbances. Some common changes are:
  • Tightness or heaviness in the chest
  • Breathlessness
  • Exhaustion
  • Physical pain in different parts of the body
Seek medical help should the symptoms persist.

“Is what I’m feeling normal?”

Feelings of shock and disbelief are likely to hit you in the initial stage. You may find yourself feeling numb and functioning mechanically.

As a survivor, it is normal to search for answers to make sense of the suicide. The “what ifs” and “whys” may go through your mind again and again.

You may also experience some sense of guilt, as you repeatedly go through the sequence of events that preceded the suicide. You may blame yourself for things you had done or for things you wished you had done. You may also blame family members, professionals, or even God. Anger is often related to these blame and guilt feelings. It may be directed at yourself or at others.

Some survivors speak of shame because of the stigma attached to suicide. You may fear that you or your loved ones will be judged. You may feel very alone with no opportunity to talk about your feelings and the person you lost.
Sadness and despair can overwhelm you. The pain related to the loss can lead to depression.

It is also not uncommon for survivors to experience suicidal feelings.

All these feelings are normal. They may go back and forth.

“What is the grief process like? How long will it take?”

Survivors grieve in their own ways.
While there are common emotions among survivors, suicide bereavement is a very individual experience. There is no ‘right’ way to grieve. We manage our pain differently and adopt different ways to cope with the loss.

Survivors move at their own pace.
Your grief journey will be unique. The amount of time you need is likely to be very different from another family member or survivor. Allow yourself to take all the time you need.

Tips from other Survivors

  • It’s ok to cry.
  • Special dates will bring back memories and the pain. You may feel the emotions again and again.
  • Be patient with yourself and others who may not understand.
  • Try to put off making major decisions.
  • It can be very difficult to express your feelings and talk about your grief. But talking can help with the healing.
  • Find a good listener.
  • Call on your personal faith, if you have one, to help you through.
  • Seek professional help if needed.
  • Recognize that you are not alone. Join a support group to meet other survivors who have similar experiences.
  • Know that you can survive even if you may not think so.

What help is available?

Many survivors find it helpful to talk about their grief. But sometimes, it is hard to talk to family members and friends.

Contact SOS to find out more about the support we can offer through individual, couple or family counselling and the support group.

Download Brochure on the Healing Bridge ( English / 中文 )

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