Coping with grief

The experience of bereavement following a suicide can be intense, confusing and often overwhelming. There may be a wide range of feelings and thoughts that are difficult to understand and to manage. 

Here are some activities, which may be helpful.

  • Find ways to look after yourself.
  • Spend time alone to think, remember, pray, meditate, mourn.
  • Talk to a trusted 'other' who will listen with understanding to your thoughts and feelings.
  • Develop a resource list, phone numbers of people and places to contact when the going gets tough.
  • Find distractions, to provide time out from the pain.
  • Collect information, read simple books about surviving suicide, or about life enhancement, when you are ready.
  • Use physical nurture, massage, spa baths, early nights, and get some fresh air by going for short walks.
  • Keep treasures, a memory box, journal, photo album.
  • Create a memory book for family and friends to write stories, memories, messages.
  • Create or build a special memento for your loved one: a garden, a CD or DVD, photo album.
  • Eat a healthy diet, frequent small amounts of nutritious, easily digested food.
  • Exercise to use excess adrenaline.
  • Prioritise daily tasks, do only what is essential.
  • Use an answering machine, choose who you will talk to.
  • Record a message on your phone saying something like: “Thank you for your call. I appreciate it. I’ll get back to you when I can.”
  • Write notes to relatives and friends when you need to tell aspects of your story, or to express feelings.
  • Keep a journal to record your thoughts and feelings, especially if you are unable to sleep.
  • Spend time with nature.
  • Review pictures and mementoes.
  • Visit the burial site or some other special place.
  • Rearrange and store the person's belongings when you are ready to.
  • Individual counselling or a support group.
  • Spiritual searching of self.
  • Find ways to honour the life of the person who has died.

Crisis support

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000. Other services include:

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