Supporting Those Who Are Bereaved by Suicide

Saturday 18 November is International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. An opportunity to show greater compassion and understanding to the loved ones who are grieving. We share ideas on how your organisation can mark the occasion.

Survivors of Suicide

Devastation and heartbreak are two emotions associated with death. They can be particularly strong for those impacted by traumatic loss such as road traffic accidents and suicide.

The shock of losing someone you love to suicide drives a myriad of emotions; numbness, despair and deep sadness. In addition, there may be guilt that you didn’t do or say something that could have saved their lives. There may be anger that they decided to leave you behind, to face life’s challenges without their support.

Survivors can find themselves replaying their last conversations over and over. Where were the signs and how were they not picked up on? What was the meaning behind something they said or did? Were you to blame or who else is to blame? What if…

Back to Life After Suicide Loss

Anyone experiencing grief can struggle to deal with the fact that life goes on. It feels as though nothing will be the same again. How can you return to work, get the kids to school or shop for groceries?

We know that being around others and sharing our emotions can help us to process grief. However, death is not a subject that many people are comfortable talking about. It is even more difficult when someone took their life. For those bereaved by suicide, there is the added stigma. Will people judge your loved one? Will they blame you? What assumptions will they make about your relationship?

Helping Employees Bereaved by Suicide

As an employer, it is useful to be aware of ways to support employees bereaved by suicide. This is a consideration when planning your Bereavement Policy. You don’t need all the answers, but it’s useful to be aware of local and national specialist services. Then, you can signpost individuals to relevant support.

The Papyrus website offers a list of organisations that can help those bereaved by suicide.

Use the Day For Good

Let’s use this awareness day to build understanding, gain knowledge of support and show compassion. In this way, we can mark the occasion in a way that respects the memory of those lost to suicide.