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The recent splash of media coverage on the topic of suicide with reports of the deaths of famous clothing designer Kate Spade and world-renowned celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain are unavoidable. It is difficult to go anywhere without hearing some theory or news coverage of their deaths by suicide and the loss of a loved one due to suicide is more complicated than it has ever been before.
In an age where theories about suicide are held deeply by stigma and knowledge about the topic is murky at best, grief and depression counseling after suicide is more important than ever to help survivors of suicide cope through their challenges of losing their loved one. Unfortunately, most of our culture does not understand anything about suicide either due to the belief of suicide’s shameful nature or purely out of ignorance.
With the rise of media coverage of suicides that are often sensationalize, we want to dive into the topic from a grief and depression counseling perspective. Hopefully, we can help open up some doors in this week’s post to furthering the knowledge around how to survive after a loss due to suicide.
Understanding the Grief from Suicide Loss
Our therapists at our grief and depression counseling center aim at helping our clients with understanding their pain. As suicide rates are on the rise; according to a CNN coverage of a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have drastically gone up more than 25% since 1999. On average, that leaves behind a whole community of family and friends left to grief after this often traumatic event.
Those who have lost a loved one from suicide have a hard time seeking professional help through grief and depression counseling. The grief is often much more complicated because deaths by suicide are shocking and usually unexpected. One of the significant goals our counselors strive to let everyone know, including our clients and our readers, is that they are never alone in their grief.
Another facet to understand about the grief of losing a loved one from suicide is that the survivor may have recurring thoughts about their last encounters and the events leading up to the suicide. Due to the suddenness of the loss, many clients going to grief and depression counseling have expressed their need to understand the reason for the death. It causes the individual to think of the final moments to comprehend what happened continuously.
Feelings of guilt and shame, and the desire to blame is prevalent amongst family members that have lost a loved one to suicide. It is all a part of the grief and depression counseling journey, and it is essential to understand these specifics about the grief from suicide loss. Just like any other periods of bereavement, there are no particular timelines or right or wrong ways to grief. The important thing is to be open to supporting during a time where the challenges of the loss and its emotions are overwhelming, confusing, and raw.
Finding Community Support
Individuals and families experiencing the loss of a loved one to suicide find community support groups to be particularly helpful in coping with their loss. Grief and depression counseling often refer these groups to grieving individuals as a means to help them connect to other families going through similar situations.
The focus of these community support groups is on how to cope and process their grief on suicide. Often, suicide survivors gain more insight into these support groups than they do with personal pain and depression counseling because they feel more relatable to other families going through the same emotions and obstacles as themselves. They are willing and able to connect more on a personal level, as there are fewer fears about being judged when they open up about their loss. There is much value in connecting with others who have also lost a loved one due to suicide as the group can provide comfort and safety to each other.
Some community support groups are led by grief and depression counseling professionals who are certified to facilitate suicide support groups, while others are driven by individuals that have experienced loss due to suicide themselves. Almost all of these leaders that do not have formal training, but they do get guidance from programs held by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Although they cannot provide formal therapy or counseling, they do serve as a foundation for giving the best support to the survivors of suicide loss.
Lastly, for suicide survivors that do not access to a live support group or those who do not feel comfortable to share in person or, there is a growing trend in online internet support groups. These groups are all web-based and provide unlimited support that is available 24 hours a day. They are especially pertinent to survivors during anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays.
Finding Professional Support
Seeking professional grief and depression counseling may seem intimidating due to the nature of the loss. Suicide survivors often feel isolated and hesitant to reach out for professional guidance because of the stigma that most of our society has about suicide. Family and friends of a suicide victim feel much shame in getting help with coping with their loss, but shame and embarrassment should not prevent a suicide survivor from getting the help they need and deserve.
Our grief and depression counseling services can support a griever in understanding the mental illnesses the deceased may have had. Many survivors of suicide loss may develop post-traumatic stress disorders from experience because of the unfinished business or conflicts they may have had with the deceased. By reaching out to an expert for support, the survivor may be able to make sense of the death, as well as decreasing the chances of forming PTSD in the first place.
What are the first steps after losing a loved one due to suicide?
Here at the Grief Recovery Center in Houston TX, our grief and depression counseling experts aim to provide the best emotional support without judgment or an agenda. If you or someone you love are experiencing the challenges of having lost a loved one due to suicide, you can contact us today!