Suicide Survivors: 15 Ways to Cope With the Loss of a Family Member or Friend Due to Suicide by Dr. Joanne Frederick
The latest in tragic, high-profile suicides is singer Naomi Judd who died at age 76 from a self-inflicted gun shot wound leaving her two daughters, Ashley and Wynonna, devastated. Most suicides don’t make the news. In 2020, there were 45,799 recorded suicides, up from 42,773 in 2014, according to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
On average, adjusted for age, the annual U.S. suicide rate increased 30 percent between 2000 and 2020, from 10.4 to 13.5 suicides per 100,000 people. While suicide prevention is often discussed, little advice is offered on how to cope when it occurs. Here's some ways to cope when tragedy strikes:
- Accept your emotions. Don’t worry about what you “should” feel or do. There’s no standard timeline for grieving and no single right way to cope
- Care for yourself.
- Draw on existing support systems.
- It’s OK to say their name, even if others can’t right now.
- Talk to someone.
- Join a group. Support groups can help you process your emotions alongside others who are experiencing similar feelings.
- Talk to a professional. Psychologists and other mental health professionals can help you express and manage your feelings and find healthy coping tools.
- Remember your loved one’s life was about more than their suicide. Their final act doesn’t need to define their life.
- Expect ups and downs. The healing process rarely moves in a straight line.
- Be patient. Don’t try to rush the healing process.
- Keep a journal.
- Your loss does not define you.
- Be prepared for painful reminders. Birthdays, holidays and other significant events may trigger feelings of loss.
- Be prepared for people’s discomfort.
- Drinking more or taking recreational drugs. It can be tempting to drink more or take drugs after a traumatic experience. But it’s important to remember that these things won’t take the pain away.
The content on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information on this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider. The opinions or views expressed on 30Seconds.com do not necessarily represent those of 30Seconds or any of its employees, corporate partners or affiliates.
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