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Suicide Postvention Helps To Cope With Loss

Hope and Healing

In the United States over 33,000 people take their own life. Suicide is now listed as the third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old. There are at least 6 people affected by this tragic loss and their lives are changed forever. Suicide postvention can help grieving families and friends cope with their loss.

When someone experiences the loss of a loved one by suicide the reactions can include shock and denial. Survivors will also feel helplessness and abandonment. People who lost someone to suicide tend to have greater psycho-social vulnerabilities that can cause complications in the grieving process.

Complicated grief differs than a non complicated grief. The symptoms can include, extreme focus on the loss and reminders of the loved one, problems accepting the death, detachment, an unusual preoccupation with sorrow and bitterness about the loss. Many people experimenting complicated grief have an inability to enjoy life, have a difficulty moving on with life, cannot carry out normal routines, feel that life holds no meaning or purpose and lack of trust in others.

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Suicide postvention can help people cope with complicated grief. Suicide postvention can be viewed as a psychological first aid for those affected by suicide. The objective of suicide postvention is to attempt to stabilize family, friends and the community. By offering stress debriefing which is designed to help people understand and deal with their trauma within the first days of the suicide, people might gain a better understanding of what to expect in the aftermath of the suicide.

Postvention includes getting those grieving into support groups known as Survivors of Suicide (SOS). These grief groups are for people who have lost someone to suicide. Because of the stigma that accompanies suicide, Many survivors are shunned by their community and they tend to feel more comfortable attending a group with others who are experiencing the same form of grief. Suicide Postvention ensures that people receive the understanding and guidance that survivors need through understanding, normalization, and validation.

Suicide postvention strategies are designed to minimize the profound effect of suicide. Postvention services provide appropriate emotional support and information to those affected by suicide. Postvention offers validation by helping people make sense of the suicide of a loved one and assists survivors with their emotional journey. Having an encouraging postvention plan can help survivors facilitate their grieving process and begin to live again.

To find a meeting near you go to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.