Anyone grieving from a loss by suicide experiences a wide range of emotions. They can be helped by being reminded and reassured that they are not alone. The experience is very complicated due to many factors. Some issues that contribute are the sudden shock, the unanswered question “why?” and “why didn’t I know or what could I have done?” The trauma and range of emotions including shock, alarm, disbelief, denial, anger, sadness, rejection, despair, blaming, detachment loss of confidence, guilt and other personal emotions unfold over time.
Be respectful-grieving is a normal human reaction, and someone lost to suicide can create an intense reaction.
Understand the different types of reactions and understand that emotions can fluctuate. Be a good listener. The role of the helper is to support not to “cure.”
Give the individual time to heal. Don’t expect that they will be over it in a few weeks. It can take months or years to come to terms with a suicide. Learn the resources in the community and on campus to send the individual for support if needed.
DO NO HARM
Don’t keep asking for details
Don’t blame or give reasons for the suicide-listen
Don’t avoid talking about the person who has died.
Don’t use clichés or make judgments.
For K-State professional support: Counseling Services, 532-6927, www.ksu.edu/counseling