Teen / Young Adult Survivor

Coping ... what is normal?

There is no right way or wrong way to react to the death of someone close. Some people cry and talk about it. Others are silent, or cry by themselves. Sometimes people hide their pain; they may act “fine” on the outside, but hurt on the inside.

I was afraid to go to the service…afraid if I saw my friends crying or if someone said something about him,  I would start to cry, too, and not be able to stop  - Alex

Grief is a natural reaction to death and loss.  It can be scary for some teens because they may feel that their emotions are out of control.  This sense of loss of control is a part of the grieving process.

I feel like it’s not real, like I am watching myself from outside my body or something -  like it is happening to someone else - Chris

Feeling disconnected or “numb” is common when a person is grieving. It is a way to protect him/herself from the reality of what happened and from being overwhelmed by pain. 

We used to hang out in a big group but not so much anymore.  It is like being together will remind us of who is missing. - Josh

People react in different ways.  Some become closer to others in the group, but others may feel they need to keep their distance from those that trigger painful memories of the friend that died.  Sometimes, this gets better with time.  For some it is helpful to talk about the person that died and to share stories and memories.  What did the person like to do? What did he/she think was funny? What were his/her favorite songs?  It may help to remember him/her in a positive way.

My sister died 6 months ago.  I try to smile and not let people know how I feel.  I tried to talk to my dad about her, but he got all teary.  I don’t want to make it worse. - Amanda

Sometimes young people as well as adults try to avoid pain by ignoring it or by drinking and using drugs however this is only a temporary remedy.  Try to help yourself or someone you care about unlock the pain by talking with someone, or writing about his/her feelings.


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

For immediate help call

Riverside Emergency Services

Newton Wellesley Hospital

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

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

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