Teen Suicide- Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

This week, Imagine Hope Counseling is discussing a difficult topic-- suicide.  Our goal is always suicide prevention, but tragically, suicide is not able to be prevented nearly as often as we would hope.  What are some ways you can survive the suicide of a friend or loved one? Surviving the Suicide of a Friend or Loved One

Even if you do get help for your friend from an adult or professional, that person might still attempt or commit suicide. Sometimes, teens who make a suicide attempt—or die as a result of a suicide attempt, seem to give no clue beforehand. This can leave the family and friends of that individual feeling extremely sad, guilty, and confused. It is important that the family and friends of someone who have attempted, or died from suicide, realize that there aren’t always ways of knowing beforehand. Many times, teens who are suicidal make a suicide attempt in an impulsive moment of overwhelming pain as a way of crying out for help—but in all reality, don’t actually want to die. Friends and family of those who commit suicide should not blame themselves, and realize that even if there were intermittent warning signs, they couldn’t be responsible for interpreting that person’s words or behavior. You should never blame yourself. You could question yourself and blame yourself forever, which will only make you more sad, ashamed, and depressed, and it won’t bring that person back. When someone attempts or commits suicide, those around them might feel afraid, uncomfortable, or intimidated to bring it up with the person (if they lived through the attempt) or the family members. Try to resist this desire to remain closed; this is a time when everyone needs to feel emotionally supported, and absolutely needs to feel connected to others. There is no right or wrong way to feel if you are healing from the loss of a suicide from a friend or loved one. Any feeling is appropriate and it’s important that you allow yourself to grieve and heal by feeling this emotional pain in your own way, and in your own time. If you are grieving the loss of a loved one through suicide, there are many resources available for you in helping to work through your grief. It is best for you to take advantage of those resources, whether it involves talking to a trusted adult, friend, spiritual leader, or professional counselor.

Resources:

http://www.twloha.com/index.php    (To Write Love on Her Arms)

www.yourlifeyourvoice.org

www.sprc.org  Suicide prevention resource

Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling.  Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.