ACT

Family Survivors

Families describe the loss of a loved one by suicide as devastating.  Friends and family are critically important during the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and for a long time afterward.  Isolation may be a mechanism for survivors to grieve, however they may find it helpful to talk to someone who will truly listen.  Some turn to other survivors, family members, friends, support groups, health care providers, the faith community, or mental health professionals. 

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, you may temporarily lose your ability to cope.  As stated above, you may want to be alone, but try not to withdraw completely. Talk to a trusted friend, seek an understanding religious leader, consider joining a survivor support group, seek out professional mental health care, talk to your doctor, and reach out to your family. 

The following resources can assist survivors:

A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide
by Jeffrey Jackson is a helpful guide for those grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide.  It can be viewed and downloaded from the American Association of Suicidology website.

www.samaritansofboston.org  The Samaritans have a survivor-to-survivor program that connects trained volunteers who are survivors themselves to other survivors.  The Samaritans also sponsor a support group called SafePlace comprised of those who have experienced the loss of loved ones to suicide.

www.afsp.org
The American Foundation for Suicide prevention websites provides information on coping with loss by suicide; click on Surviving Suicide Loss link.

www.survivorsofsuicide.com
This is an independent website dedicated to helping survivors resolve their grief and pain in their own way.

www.compassionatefriends.org
The Compassionate Friends website provides support for parents and siblings who have experienced the death of a loved one. It is not specific for suicide.

www.dougy.org
The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families provides information for children, teens, and families who are coping with the death of a loved one.  Their book Helping Teens Cope with Death is an excellent resource and can be purchased from Amazon.com.

www.childrensroom.org
This website refers to a program that is related to the Dougy Center.  The Children’s Room Center for Grieving Children and Teenagers provides bereavement support for children, teens, young adults and families.  It is located in Arlington, MA.

The following books may also be helpful and are available through Amazon.com:

Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide  This is a healing guide written with compassion and insight by Beverly Cobain, a psychiatric nurse and cousin of Kurt Cobain who died by suicide and Jean Larch, a crisis intervention specialist.

Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD.  This is a helpful guide for those who have experienced the death of a loved one. It is not specific for suicide.

GET HELP NOW

Hurting yourself is NEVER the answer. There is help available…talk to someone now

For immediate help call
9-1-1

Riverside Emergency Services
781-769-8674

Newton Wellesley Hospital
617-243-6000

Samariteen Hotline
1-800-252-TEEN (8336)

Samaritan Helpline
1-877-870-HOPE (4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)