Survivors of Suicide Loss

If you are very new to the tragedy of suicide loss, despair may be your companion.  We hope you find some time to rest your burden and share it with those of us who need no explanation.  You are not alone.   The fact that someone died by suicide does not diminish our love for them, their value, the contribution they made to our families and communities and our right and need to celebrate and honour their lives and accomplishments.   It is how a person lived not how they died that defines someone.

Survivors are the most courageous people we know.  Be well, be peaceful, be hopeful.

From: Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP)

Guides & Toolkits for Survivors of Suicide Loss

This is a practical guide to help you through… the first few moments, then the first few hours, then the first few days, then the first few years…after the suicide of someone you love.

This guide has been written with the help of many suicide survivors and the health professionals who work with them. We hope it will help you through this difficult time. Please share it with others who may benefit from the information. The guide focuses on the practical matters that survivors need to deal with after a suicide.

By Suicide Response Initiative of the Calgary Health Region and the BC Ministry of Health

This handbook was written to help you through the death by suicide of your loved one. It contains both practical and personal information, as well as a list of books, websites and support groups, that we hope will help you through your grief. Different parts of this resource may be of help to you at different times.

Immediately after a death by suicide, there are many practical matters that families will need to attend to and questions they might have about what to do. This resource starts with addressing these practical matters. Grief associated with a death by suicide can be complicated, and also very different to what people experience following death by other causes. Immediately after a suicide death, people are often in shock and unable to describe or explain their feelings or make meaning of what has happened. You may need time before you feel ready to examine what has happened, how it has affected you, what it all means, and what you need in order to begin healing.

By Klinic Community Health Centre

After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools assists schools in implementing a coordinated response to the suicide death of a student. Originally developed in 2011, the second edition includes new information and tools that middle and high schools can use to help the school community cope and reduce suicide risk. It is designed primarily for administrators and staff but can also be useful for parents and communities.

By the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Suicide Prevention
Resource Center and the Education Development Center

After a death by suicide, one of the first decisions you and your family will make is what to include in an obituary and whether or not to include the word suicide. Historically, suicide was never mentioned as the cause of death, but, in more recent times, some families have chosen to disclose the fact that their loved one died by suicide. The decision whether or not to disclose this information in an obituary is a personal one that only you and your family can make.

By Ontario Funeral Services Association & Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council

How to Talk to your Child about a Suicide Attempt in Your Family

A guide for adults to use when talking with specific age groups of children about a suicide attempt in the family. It is not intended to replace the advice of a mental health professional. In fact, it may be best to use this along with professional support if you or your child is struggling with how to talk about this difficult topic. It is important to consider your child’s level of development and ability to understand events when deciding how to talk with them about this issue.

By The US Department of Veterans Affairs

Resources & Links for Survivors of Suicide Loss

The Mental Health Commission of Canada leads the development and dissemination of innovative programs and tools to support the mental health and wellness of Canadians. Through its unique mandate from the Government of Canada, the MHCC supports federal, provincial, and territorial governments as well as organizations in the implementation of sound public policy.

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention works with more than 250 national partners from the public and private sectors to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The Action Alliance is currently focusing on three priority areas, selected from the National Strategy, based on their potential to save lives: transforming health systems, transforming communities, and changing the conversation.

The Canadian Mental Health Association Simcoe County provides a full care system for those with addictions and mental health issues. We serve everyone from youth to adults to seniors. Our programs help individuals and families to lead lives filled with meaning and promise. We have 250 staff at offices in Barrie, Orillia, Collingwood, Midland, Innisfil and soon Wasaga Beach.

Created by teens at Dougy Center for teens who are grieving. Dougy Center provides support in a safe place where children, teens, young adults, and families who are grieving can share their experiences before and after a death. They provide support and training locally, nationally, and internationally to individuals and organizations seeking to assist children in grief.

Video provides insight on the experiences of children and families after a suicide death, and offers ways to support them. The video and guide are resources for professional trainings, as well as for general viewing by anyone who wants to better understand how to help those who are grieving. 26 Minutes, $19.95 download.

Provides peer to peer support for children between the ages of 5 and 24 years who are grieving the death of an immediate family member. The Centre is founded on the belief that every child deserves the opportunity to grieve in a supportive and understanding environment.