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Dec 12, 2023

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is always challenging, but when that loss is the result of suicide, it introduces a unique layer of pain into the grieving process. This form of grief is known as suicide bereavement, and research indicates that it differs significantly from mourning more common causes of death.

Survivors grappling with suicide bereavement often find themselves contending with heightened shock and trauma due to the unexpected nature of the death. The struggle to find meaning in the aftermath of the tragedy is common.

Questions of "why" can linger, leaving survivors bewildered as they grapple with the perception that their relationship with the deceased was not enough to prevent such a devastating outcome.

When a loved one dies by suicide, there is an intensified need to seek an explanation and make sense of the death. Survivors may replay events leading up to the tragic moment, desperately searching for missed clues that might have foretold the suicidal intentions.

In some cases, survivors may feel the need to redirect blame onto family members, friends, or others they feel may have been responsible for the deceased. This blame-shifting can be a defence mechanism, providing a semblance of control over an uncontrollable situation.

Coping tools for suicide bereavement:

  1. Normalise grieving: Regardless of the cause of death, grieving a loved one is a normal and necessary process.
  2. Release guilt: Let go of the guilt associated with not noticing signs of distress; suicide is often linked to mental illness.
  3. Overcome shame: Understand that suicide is complex and is frequently connected to underlying mental health challenges, not personal failures.
  4. Be patient with yourself: Allow yourself the time and space to experience the range of emotions that come with grief.
  5. Understanding healing: Healing does not diminish the love and care you had for the departed loved one.
  6. Move beyond "why": Accept that understanding the complexity of suicide may not be possible.
  7. Seek support: Lean on friends, family, and support groups to share your feelings and experiences.
  8. Self-care: Take care of your physical and mental wellbeing even while grieving.
  9. Join a support group: Connect with others who have experienced similar losses in a grief support group.
  10. Create memorials: Develop memorials or tributes to celebrate and remember your departed loved one.
  11. Professional help: Don't hesitate to seek professional support to navigate the complexities of suicide bereavement.

The Bestmed Tempo Emotional Wellbeing Journey (EWJ) offers a wealth of resources to help you practice mindfulness, address and manage the emotions you may be experiencing, and maintain a healthy mental state. The EWJ is available via the Member portal or Bestmed App.

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