‘Postvention’ services are available for people who have lost someone to suicide.
The aftermath of a suicide loss can be a confusing and highly emotional time. The grief you experience can be complex due to associated trauma, guilt, blame, and anger you may feel towards the way the person ended their own life, or the way their death is treated by those who knew the person.
You may feel like an injustice has occurred and be angry at the systems that could not support the person. Often, stigma around suicide prevents any mention of the word among the grieving or at the funeral. This elephant in the room can make bereavement feel isolating and surreal.
Suicide loss can raise a lot more questions than answers. All of these questions are part of the grieving process.
You may question whether you could have done more to help, that you missed a clue for an intervention.
You may question why the person kept their feelings and thoughts of suicide to themselves; you may feel frustrated or betrayed that they did not reach out.
You may find it difficult to speak about your grief because of the religious or cultural taboo of suicide within your support network.
For some people, a suicide loss can be a relief if you were aware of the ongoing distress in the person’s life.
When we lose someone to suicide, connecting in grief with others can help us process difficult emotions. If possible, engage with the deceased person’s community to offer and receive support.
Together, you can paint a more complete picture of a person’s life and honour it. Read more on end-of-life celebrations, grief and bereavement here.
If you think speaking openly about your grief could help you understand and process your feelings better, postvention services offer phone counselling and referrals to ongoing support.