Losing a friend or loved one through suicide

Updated: Apr 23

The feeling of shock, confusion and grief that come after losing a loved one or friend through suicide can be overwhelming.

You may experience grief in a different manner to someone else and you have every right to feel a variety of emotions including heart ache, guilt and anger.

It can feel like you are in a deep black hole that you cannot get out of.

The grief felt after someone who dies by suicide can be quite different to the grief felt after someone dies after a long illness for example. This can make the healing process a lot more difficult and challenging.

What makes grief after suicide loss so different:

  • Having the need to understand ‘why’: You may have wished that you noticed the signs, made that call or text or even question how you could have acted differently. Sometimes you may find answers to all your questions while unfortunately sometimes you must come to terms with the fact that you may never have all the answers you want.

  • Stigma – Suicide is a topic that is very difficult to talk about when a person is experiencing loss. Finding the correct support network who can share in your loss is vital.

  • Mixed feelings – The emotions felt after a person dies by suicide can vary in definition, severity and stages. You may feel a deep sadness and loss, however feelings such as anger, isolation, abandonment and rejection can occur too.

Dealing with the feeling of rejection:

  • Thoughts of how a loved one could ever leave you and not think about you is a common emotion to experience after you lose someone by suicide. It is important to remember that a person who has died by suicide were not in the correct frame of mind or thinking clearly and rationally. Try speaking to a shared loved one about the person who has died to try and focus your thoughts more on the positive aspects of the person, sharing anecdotes and stories that make you laugh and remember them fondly.

Dealing with the feeling of guilt:

  • Feelings of guilt are quite common in those who mourn a person who has died by suicide. These feelings may arise from the fact that you think you could have done more to help the person who was struggling with their mental health to questioning how you didn’t notice the signs.

  • People die by suicide for many different reasons and no one thing or one person was the cause of that. You should never feel like you are to blame for a person’s death.

  • Try not to lay blame on those around you for a loved one’s death either as they are experiencing their own grief at this time and are trying to deal with their emotions in their own way.

Supporting loved ones:

If you have experienced the trauma of losing someone by suicide remember that there will be many more people who are suffering with grief also. It can affect all friends, family members and communities when someone dies by suicide so it is essential that support is given where possible to many people.

f you need further support remember to let us help you here at #talktotom. We can be your guide - contact us on (0818) 303061or via Whats App.  To launch a chat now click here.  You can find out more about our counselling service here.

Other services you where you can reach someone to talk to are:

Samaritans offers a 24 hour listening service over text message, text 'Hello' to 087 260 9090 to get started (standard text messaging rates apply) or call 116 123 to talk to someone over the phone.

Childline text and instant messaging services are available from 10am - 4am every day to young people under 18, text 'Talk' to 50101 to talk to a trained counsellor by text message or call 1800 66 66 66.

Contact the Emergency Services:

If you are an immediate danger to yourself and are going through a suicidal crisis  please contact the emergency services by dialling 999 or visit your nearest Emergency Department.