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Understanding Suicide Loss | Voices of Loss Survivors | Additional Resources

 

UNDERSTANDING SUICIDE LOSS 

 

It is common for family members and friends to experience changes in their social, emotional, and physical functioning after the suicide death of someone they know. This USPV section provides an overview of the impact of suicide loss, common reactions during suicide-specific bereavement, and ways to support suicide loss survivors.

 

After a Suicide Loss: Many Lives Touched

  After a Suicide Loss Infographic

This infographic provides a visual representation of the expansive impact of suicide loss. Historically, it was believed that approximately six people were exposed to any given suicide loss. Now, we know that exposure to suicide loss is much more widespread as 135 people are touched by a single suicide (Cerel, 2018). This means that the impact of suicide loss extends beyond just close family members and friends—neighbors, coworkers, former classmates, and even your local coffee shop barista likely know someone who has died by suicide.

Download PDF of After a Suicide Loss: Many Lives Touched

 

Podcast: Postvention 101

 

Check out the “Postvention 101” podcast to hear Dr. Jack Jordan lay a foundation for understanding what suicide postvention is, what it entails, who it is for, and why it is essential to a comprehensive suicide prevention plan. Jack Jordan, PhD is a clinical psychologist, grief therapist and published researcher in the field.

Postvention 101 Podcast

 View Episode Details

 

Reactions to Suicide Loss: Common, but Unique

  Reaction to a Suicide Loss Infographic 

This infographic can be a helpful tool for those who are experiencing grief following the suicide loss of someone they knew. Common reactions to a suicide loss include feelings of sadness, disbelief, anger, guilt, and shock. However, everyone’s reaction is unique and can include any combination of these emotions—or perhaps none. If you want to support someone who is experiencing a loss and don’t know where to start, consider downloading this graphic and printing it out for them to reference as they move through their individual grieving process.

Download PDF of Reactions to Suicide Loss: Common but Unique

 

Connecting with a Suicide Loss Survivor

  Connecting with a Suicide Loss Survivor infographic 

If someone you know has lost a loved one to suicide, it can be particularly difficult to know when and how to step in and help. This infographic provides practical suggestions on how to offer support to suicide loss survivors, including active listening techniques, validation, and ways to honor the person who died. It is designed so that you can select the options that work best based on unique situations and needs.

Download PDF of Connecting with a Suicide Loss Survivor

 

Postvention Support from a Distance

 

This guidance document provides recommended ways to connect with and support suicide loss survivors when it is not possible to do so in person (e.g. during national emergencies/pandemics, in rural areas, or when loved ones live far away).
View Document

 

Alliance of Hope

 

The Alliance of Hope was created by survivors for survivors and provides online healing support and other services for people who are coping with loss to suicide. The Alliance of Hope online forum operates like a 24/7 support group. In addition, the website contains support resources and information on the survivor experience. Visit allianceofhope.org to learn more and connect with other suicide loss survivors.

 

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

 

The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) offers special programming and resources for Veteran and military connected survivors of suicide loss. Loss survivors can reach TAPS 24/7 at 800-959-TAPS (8277) or visit www.taps.org/suicide to learn more and get connected.

For more information about TAPS, you may also visit USPV's TAPS information page.

 

American Association of Suicidology (AAS)

  AAS Logo

The American Association of Suicidology (AAS) mission is to promote the understanding and prevention of suicide and support those who have been affected by it.

To learn more about AAS resources for Suicide Loss Survivors, view the following brief tool-kit or AAS online resources for Suicide Loss Survivors.

 

USPV developed a postvention podcast series in collaboration with AAS. The series includes episodes for suicide loss survivors, workplaces touched by suicide loss, and medical and mental health providers. You can listen to the podcasts , or check out a description of the podcast series.

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VOICES OF OTHER LOSS SURVIVORS

 

Losing someone in your life who died by suicide is a complex process that can involve unfamiliar emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, which may leave you feeling alone and disconnected from others. Hearing stories from other loss survivors can play an invaluable role in the healing process by helping you regain a sense of normalcy and connection after a profoundly painful event. In this section of USPV, several suicide loss survivors share their personal accounts of grief after losing someone to suicide.

 

Alyssa T. Caselli-Allen, Staff Sergeant, USAF

 

English with Audio Description | En Español | En Español con Descripción de Audio

 

Jack Cohenour, SMSgt, USAF (Ret.)

 

English with Audio Description | En Español | En Español con Descripción de Audio

 

John Moran, UT3 (SCW), US Navy

 

English with Audio Description | En Español | En Español con Descripción de Audio

 

Podcast: Suicide Loss Experience

 

The time after losing a loved one to suicide can feel like being on a rollercoaster blindfolded. Check out the following podcast, featuring Dr. Nina Gutin, to hear more about the lived experiences of family members and friends after a suicide loss. Dr. Gutin highlights ways to seek, and provide, support for oneself or loved ones including children and adolescents. Dr. Nina Gutin is a suicide loss survivor, clinical psychologist, and pioneer in the field of suicide postvention.

Suicide Loss Survivor Experience

 View Episode Details

 

Blogs: Suicide Loss Experiences

 

Sibling Suicide Loss: Grieving Alone and Surviving Together - Written by Lena Heilmann

  Gingko Leaf Icon

“In November 2012, I lost my sister Danielle to suicide. She had just turned 24; she would be turning 32 this year. As her older sister, I felt protective of her throughout her life and had to confront intense guilt and loneliness when she died…” Read More

 

If you would like to share your journey processing and healing after suicide loss, please email USPV@va.gov to learn how to do so.

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

American Association of Suicidology (AAS)

 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

 

Alliance of Hope

 

Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

 

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

     
 

Additional Postvention Readings & Podcasts

 
 

Readings and Podcasts for Suicide Loss Survivors - by Uniting for Suicide Postvention (USPV)

 

Coping with a Suicide Loss - by Together We Can (Department of Veterans Affairs)

 

Workplace Suicide Postvention Podcast Series

  podcast icon

If you are interested in additional postvention podcasts, click here. These podcasts highlight the importance of postvention in every workplace, including schools, medical and mental health centers, general workplaces, crisis centers, and military settings.

 

Connect with Suicide Loss Survivors

 
 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Healing Conversations - connect (in person, by phone, or by video call) with experienced AFSP volunteers who are themselves suicide loss survivors

 

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Support Groups - search by zip code to find support groups near you 

 

Friends for Survival - suicide loss survivor programs, events, and a comprehensive manual for starting suicide bereavement programs/groups

 

Samaritans Hope – grief support services

 

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) – grief support and resources for suicide loss survivors

     
 

Communities of Support

 
 

Asian American Suicide Prevention Initiative

 

Indian Health Service- Suicide Prevention and Care Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

 

National Organization for People of Color Against Suicide

 

Postvention Alliance – resources for suicide loss survivors and attempts

 

LGBTQ+ Resources

 

The Trevor Project– suicide prevention and postvention resources for the LGBTQ+ community

 

American Association of Suicidology – suicide prevention and postvention resources for the LGBTQ+ community

 

Resources for Parent and Sibling Suicide Loss Survivors

 

Helping Parents Heal

 

Parents of Suicide and Friends and Families of Suicide

 

Sibling Survivors

     
 

Resources for Children and Families

 

Comfort Zone Camp - grief camp for children

 

The Dougy Center - services for grieving children and families

 

Eluna Network’s Camp Erin - grief camp for children

 

Friends for Survival – resources for children

 

National Alliance for Grieving Children

 

Postvention Alliance - postvention resources for children and teens

 

Talking to Children About Suicide Loss - by Together We Can (Department of Veterans Affairs)

 

How to Talk to Children about a Suicide Attempt in your Family - by the Rocky Mountain MIRECC for Suicide Prevention (Department of Veterans Affairs)


     

If you are a medical or mental health provider who has lost someone to suicide (personally or professionally), check out the Providers section of USPV. 

 

If you are looking to start offering postvention in your workplace, check out the Workplace section of USPV.


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