What you might feel when someone dies by suicide
It is normal to feel angry with the person who died for leaving you or for not accepting help with their mental health. You might also feel angry with yourself or with others for not doing more to help them. It’s important to know this is a normal reaction.
Overwhelming guilt is common after a suicide. You might feel very guilty for things you did or did not do when they were alive. It’s important to know this was not your fault.
You might find yourself repeatedly asking questions about why the person chose to do what they did, or whether it could have been prevented in some way. Conversations can play over and over in your head and can be very frustrating. It’s often helpful to put these questions in words in a journal or a letter. This helps to organise your thoughts and make sense of your frustrations.
You may feel that the person who died rejected you or your help, or that your love and care was ignored by them. Feeling that you were not enough can be very painful.
Suicide is sometimes stigmatised, meaning some people may be judgemental towards the person who died. This is often caused by fear and misunderstanding but can be very painful for family and friends left behind.
Finding ways to remember
Remembering the person, perhaps in happier times, is a way of maintaining a bond with them after death. You could look at pictures, visiting meaningful places or organise a gathering or activity in their name. You can also find more suggestions for remembering someone who has died in our guide.
Developing ‘rituals’ such as creating lasting memorials or acts such as lighting a candle at a certain time each week is another way to maintain the relationship you had with the person who died.
Walking and nature
When you are strong enough, try going back to activities and pastimes you enjoy. Looking after yourself is important. Try and eat as well as you can and get rest, even if sleeping is difficult. Spending time outside or exercising makes many people feel better – sometimes just a walk can help.
Watch out for risky behaviour
If you are feeling that there is little point in life then you can find yourself taking risks with your own health or safety. It’s important you talk to someone if you feel like this.
Drinking more or taking recreational drugs
It can be tempting to drink more or take drugs after a traumatic experience. But it’s important to remember that these things won’t take the pain away.
Asking for help
There are a number of organisations that can help you. Being bereaved by suicide is a unique and painful experience and you might prefer to speak with people who deal with that directly. It can be hard to ask for help, sometimes people feel they don’t deserve it or shouldn’t need it. But it is important to reach out and talk to someone, be it friends and family, your doctor, Cruse or other organisations who can help.
Samaritans can help if you are experiencing suicidal feelings. These are very common in all bereavements but being bereaved by suicide can make them more likley. Visit samaritans.org or call 116 123.
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS) is a self-help organisation which exists to meet the needs and break the isolation of those bereaved by the suicide of a close relative or friend. SoBS have an online forum. This is an online community that offers peer-to-peer support for survivors of bereavement by suicide.
The Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP)
The Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP) is the UK’s national hub for organisations and individuals working across the UK to support people who have been bereaved or affected by suicide.
Sussex Bereaved by Suicide
For anyone bereaved, or affected by, suicide living in East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove, you can contact our Bereaved by Suicide service by email email@example.com or by calling or sending a text to 07376 616628. If we are unable to answer your call, please do leave a voicemail. We will respond to all emails and messages within 2 working days.