Tips on how to cope when a friend or loved one dies by suicide

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Tips on how to cope when a friend or loved one dies by suicide

  1. Accept your emotions. You might expect to feel grief and despair, but other common feelings include shock, denial, guilt, shame, anger, confusion, anxiety, loneliness and even, in some cases, relief. Those feelings are normal, and can vary throughout the healing process.

  2. Don’t worry about what you “should” feel or do. There’s no standard timeline for grieving, and no single right way to cope. Focus on what you need, and accept that others’ paths might be different from yours.

  3. Care for yourself. Do your best to get enough sleep and eat regular, healthy meals. Taking care of your physical self can improve your mood and give you the strength to cope.

  4. Draw on existing support systems. Accept help from those who have been supports in the past, including your family, your friends or members of your faith-based community.

  5. Talk to someone. There is often stigma around suicide, and many loss survivors suffer in silence. Speaking about your feelings can help.

  6. Join a group. Support groups can help you process your emotions alongside others who are experiencing similar feelings. People who don’t think of themselves as support group types are often surprised by how helpful such groups can be.

  7. Talk to a professional. Psychologists and other mental health professionals can help you express and manage your feelings and find healthy coping tools. 

This article has been adapted from American Psychological Association:

https://www.apa.org/topics/coping-after-suicide

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