Supporting Survivors of Suicide Loss

Dear Barbara, A friend of mine had a child commit suicide.  Do you have reference material that I might use to help my friend?

Part of normal grief is all the questions we will never have answers to, the whys and what if’s? With death by suicide those questions are ten fold. With a child’s death by suicide those questions are a so much more.

Blame is a feeling and series of thoughts we also have surrounding a death by suicide. Blaming others, blaming the person that died, and blaming ourselves. “If we had done things differently this life would not have been taken” is paramount in our mind.

As a society, and often through religion, we place guilt and shame, not only toward the person that has ended their life but the family and significant others. This stigma adds to the grief we are feeling and experiencing. 

All this information will really not affect the intense grief and many emotions that make up the grief we feel.  A death by suicide takes normal grieving to a whole different level. Answers will be hard to find, nothing will seem to make any sense. I can just say that for some people, children included, life feels too difficult to let it play itself out to a natural ending. 

My Friend, I Care; The Grief Experience is the booklet I wrote for “normal” grief. Your friend will naturally experience some of what is described in the booklet in addition to the more complicated feelings in regard to a death by suicide specifically.

There are no words, no prayers, no pills that can ease the pain of loss, guilt, recriminations and confusion that come with a death by suicide, particularly of a child. Being a friend who cares, who is there, a presence, is of greatest value for the griever.

Something More about… Supporting Survivors of Suicide Loss


The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) is a world-leader in the development, implementation, and facilitation of accreditation, certification, and training programs. Their programs are evidenced-based and best practices to uphold...

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention offers support with Healing Conversations. Healing Conversations gives survivors of suicide loss the opportunity to speak with volunteers, who are themselves loss

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1 comment

Dennis j Parker+

Barbara – I think it might be more fair to say “sometimes through religion” as my religious focus would NEVER place guilt, shame toward the person, family or significant others of a suicide.

BK Books replied:
You are right Dennis not all religions place blame regarding suicide. Many provide compassionate, supportive guidance. Blessings in the work you are doing. Barbara

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