Suicide by a Loved One

Healing After a Loved One’s Suicide

We are so sorry for your loss. During this difficult time for you and your family, you may be experiencing a wide range of emotions, including shock, sadness, anger, and guilt. The best thing you can do right now is to allow yourself to grieve. There are many ways to cope effectively.

Ways to Cope

Seek out caring people. Find relatives and friends who understand your feelings. Tell them how you feel; it will help you to work through the grieving process. Join a support group with others who have experienced similar losses. If you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness. Talk with a trusted relative, friend, family services staffer, minister or rabbi. Don’t let yourself become isolated. Do not blame yourself.

Take care of your health. See your family physician. Eat properly, exercise and get plenty of rest. Be aware of the danger of using medication or alcohol to deal with your grief.

It takes effort and time to absorb a major loss, accept your changed life, and begin to live again in the present and not dwell on the past.

Seek help. If your feelings become too much to bear, seek professional assistance to help work through your grief. It’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to seek help.

Helping Others Grieve

If someone you care about has lost a loved one, you can help him or her through the grieving process.

Listen. Encourage the person to talk about his or her feelings and to share memories of the deceased. Remember, it may take the person a long time to recover from the loss.

Don’t offer false comfort. It doesn’t help the grieving person to say, “It was for the best.” or “You’ll get over it in time.” Instead, offer a simple expression of sorrow and take the time to listen.

Offer practical help. Baby­-sitting, cooking and running errands are ways to help someone who is grieving.

Encourage professional help when needed. Don’t hesitate to recommend professional help when you feel someone is experiencing too much pain to cope alone.

Helping Children Grieve

Children grieve differently from adults. A parent’s death can be particularly difficult for small children, affecting their sense of security. Often, they are confused about the changes they see taking place, particularly if well-meaning adults try to protect them from the truth or from their surviving parent’s grief. Limited understanding and an inability to express feelings put very young children at a special risk. They may revert to earlier behaviors (such as bed­wetting), ask questions about the deceased that seem insensitive, invent games about dying or pretend that the death never happened.

Coping with a child’s grief puts added strain on a bereaved parent. However, angry outbursts or criticism only deepen a child’s anxiety and delays recovery. Instead, take extra time and talk honestly with children, in terms they can understand. Help them work through their feelings, and remember that they are looking to you for suitable behavior and coping skills.

Our Survivors of Suicide Support Group

As a survivor—a family member or friend of the person who died by suicide—you may need help coming to terms with suicide. Our Survivors of Suicide Support Group is led by a mental health professional and offers the opportunity to share, listen, teach and learn with others also overcoming the loss of a friend or loved one.

Tulsa: First and third Thursdays of each month at 6 pm at 1870 South Boulder Avenue, across the street from Veterans Park. You may park behind the building and enter through the back door. For more information call 918­.585­.1213 or email info@mhaok.org.

Oklahoma City: First and third Thursdays of each month at 6:15 pm at 400 North Walker Avenue, Suite 190. For more information call 405.943.3700 or email info@mhaok.org.

Call Us For Help!

Seeking grieving programs, counseling, support groups, and other services require navigating a complex network of community resources.

We can help.

Our free Community Referral Line provides you with one­-on­-one service to help find the best referral for grief management options for you or a family member.

We’re here to work with you to help navigate through the mental health system.

Call our free Community Referral Line at 918.585.1213 or 405.943.3700. We are available Monday­-Friday, 8:30 am­-5 pm. You may also email us at info@mhaok.org.

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