What to Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One to Suicide

After someone has lost a loved one, it can be difficult to know what to say to them. This is especially true when their loved one hasdied from completing suicide. Here are 9 ways to being a conversation when someone has lost their loved one.

  1. Tell me a good memory you have of your loved one.

2. I can’t imagine how much pain you are in. We hurt too, because we loved him/her.

3. I love you, and my prayers are with you.

4. He/She will be missed,

5. He/she was a good person. -Focus on the way they lived and loved, not the way they died.

6. How can I help you today? (Follow-through with errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, going to church with them, etc.) or Tell me what I can do for you.

7. I am so sorry for your loss.

8. I’m here

9.I’m not sure what to say, but I want you to know I care.

One way you can remind that person that they are not alone is my remembering the tough dates. The “month markers” are the first that come to mind in a suicide. The first 6 months to a year are difficult to get through (and sometimes even longer), and a call or a note on those month marks will do more than you can imagine to communicate to the person that you truly care for. Other dates such as birthdays and anniversaries are also difficult dates. Remember, the greater the joy previously associated with a date, the greater is the potential for sorrow. These tough dates are also a time for you to do something personal for a friend or loved one. Make sure they are eating well, offer to attend special events with them, put together a CD of music specifically chose for lyrics that offer hope.

A Survivor of Suicide is a Family Member or Friend of a Person Who Died by Suicide

Losing someone to suicide is shocking, painful and unexpected. Part of being a survivor is to aim to adjust to life without your loved one. Grief work is often complex, intense and long term. There is healing and survivors will begin to enjoy life once again.

10 Ways to Honor Your Loved Ones

1. Plant a tree or garden in their memory either at your home or in a park.

2. Some parks have a memorial program where you can plant a tree or bench with a plaque in their name.

3. Journal about your loved one. Ask your loved one’s relatives, friends, or co-workers to contribute their favorite memories or photos, and use them to make a scrapbook or memory box. Memories of your loved ones can be written down as thoughts, song lyrics, or through a poem.

4. Cook your loved one’s favorite meal, participate in activities they liked, listen to music they enjoyed, or read a book that reminds you of them.

5. Become involved in a support group or cause.

6.You can also further their memory and create awareness by establishing a scholarship in their name.

7. Light a candle in honor of your loved one.

8. Turn digital photos into a photo album onprograms such asShutterfly or Snapfish.

9. Watch your loved one’s favorite movie with their favorite snack. Invite others that were a part of his/her life.

10. Have a balloon release with close family members.

10 Ways to Help Someone that is Threatening Suicide

Showing care and concern towards someone who is contemplating or threatening suicide could ultimately change the outcome of their decision. Many times, their threats are an outcry for help or an attempt to voice their feelings in the only way they know how. Ask if they are OK. Though this seems like a logical question to ask, it is many times a question that is overlooked because of its simplicity. Asking is some one is OK can open the door for them to express their feelings in a safe non-judgemental environment. Letting someone who is feeling disconnected to the rest of the world know you are there to talk, and that you care for them could save a life.

10 Ways to Help Someone that is Threatening Suicide:

  1. Be aware, and know the warning signs
  2. Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support in them and their life.
  3. Be direct, and talk open and freely. Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.
  4. Be willing to listen. Allow for expression of feelings. Accept the feelings.Be non-judgmental. Don’t’ debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  5. Don’t dare him/her to do it.
  6. Don’t give advice by making decisions for someone else to tell them to behave differently.
  7. Don’t ask ‘why’. This encourages defensiveness.
  8. Offer empathy, not sympathy.
  9. Don’t act shocked. This creates distance.
  10. Seek Support. 800-273-8255. Don’t’ be sworn to secrecy. Instead, offer hope that alternatives are available

Warning Signs of Suicide

The warning signs of suicide can sometimes go undetected. IS PATH WARM? Is a way to help remember the signs of threat.

I Ideation: Threatening or talking about wanting to hurt/kill him/herself; looking for ways to kill him/herself; talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary

S Substance Abuse: Increase in alcohol or drug use

P Purposelessness: No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life

A Anxiety: agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time

T Trapped: Feeling there is no way out; can’t see possibility of change

H Hopelessness: doesn’t feel there is a solution; don’t see themselves as worthwhile

W Withdrawal: from friends, family and society

A Anger: rage, seeking revenge, irritation, frustration

R Recklessness: Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking

M Mood changes: Dramatic mood swings, restlessness, hand-wringing, pacing, inability to meet deadlines, some experience physical pain

If you or someone you know is threatening suicide, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

World Suicide Prevention Day

As September 10th, otherwise known as World Suicide Prevention Day approaches it is our goal to spread awareness about suicide and how to prevent it from occurring.

6 Statistics of Suicide:

  1.  Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds,
  2.  4th leading cause of death among 35-54 year olds, and
  3.  8th leading cause of death among 55-64 year olds.
  4.  One person dies by suicide every 9 hours.
  5.  For every suicide, there are at least 6 survivors affected by their death.
  6.  4 times more men than women die by suicide; but 3 times more women attempt suicide.