I've lost someone
You are not alone. Suicide affects millions each year, and thanks to our donors and volunteers—many of whom are loss survivors themselves—we can provide these resources to help you heal.
Healing Conversations gives survivors of suicide loss the opportunity to speak with volunteers, who are themselves loss survivors.
Each year, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention supports hundreds of large and small events around the world, in which survivors of suicide loss come together to find connection, understanding, and hope through their shared experience.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention lists U.S. and international support groups as a public service. We do not run, recommend, endorse or fund any of the groups listed.
Our Resource and Healing Guide that provides information about coping with loss, the survivor loss community, and resources to help with your journey.
Sobreviviendo una pérdida por suicidio
Real stories about loss
For 20 years, I have been healing from the loss of my son to suicide. I learned to survive one day at a time.
Everyone grieves differently. It is not unusual for people within the same family to have different coping styles after a suicide death.
Here are 10 ways we recommend to support a loved one who has lost someone to suicide.
The loss changed my life’s trajectory. I am not the same person I was before Ryan died. There is a distinct before and after.
I felt my own emotions and grief validated for the first time since that cold July day when my life had seemingly unraveled.
Winter can be a difficult time for bereaved families, particularly those who’ve lost someone to suicide.
Being a mother who has lost a child, holidays like Mother’s Day can be especially difficult.
“Do you have any siblings?” Nowadays when people ask me this question, I pause.
Nobody talked about it, not even in my family. Everybody – my dad, my grandpa – they all said it was a heart attack.
Tony’s suicide changed our lives forever. I could not accept nor comprehend what had just happened in our lives.
There is help available for those who are suffering and for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. It’s okay not to be okay.
Over the years, I've really learned about myself by helping others.
Rather than asking me how my father died or why he "chose" to do it, I wish people would ask me how my father lived. Ask me his name. Ask me what kind of person he was.
I want them to see that mental health conditions can be managed in the same way physical health conditions can be managed, with help.
The pain of losing my mother will never be gone. All I can do now is try to channel that pain.
International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day 2019 is Saturday, November 23.
One of the primary things parents and caregivers can do is to open a dialogue with children about returning to school. This gives the child an opportunity to express how they’re feeling and any concerns they have.
Returning to school after losing someone to suicide can be stressful for teens. Their peers will frequently ask a lot of questions about who died and how they died. It is recommended that teens have an idea, in advance, about how they might want to answer these questions.
People who knew my dad tried hard to make sense of his death with statements and questions such as these. The truth is that we all ask, “Why?” after losing someone to suicide. In fact, it’s in our very nature as human beings to understand the world around us by asking who, what, where, when, and why.
If we work together to change the conversations and attitudes about mental illness in this country, we can stop saying, “I never thought…” about our family and friends.
My mother Helen is the reason why I fight to raise awareness of mental health and suicide prevention. Helen was an amazing mentor and confidant to me. I felt I could tell her anything.
These were my goals. But I couldn’t help asking myself: “How can I help others when I couldn’t help the person who mattered most to me?”
I’m definitely still on that path. I expect it will be a lifelong process. And that is okay.
I walk because every life lost to suicide is a story ended too soon.
If sharing my own is helpful to just one person who hears it, I feel it is worth doing.
As I reflect on the past fourteen years since I lost my brother, I reflect on all my highs and lows, and am proud of the person I am.
You may be hesitant to share with others that your loved one took their own life. While we cannot determine what is right for you, in the long run most survivors are glad that they decided to be honest about the facts of the death.
It is imperative that you take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. No matter how you deal with your grief, you should not have to cope with your loss alone; be open to letting people help you live through this experience.
Each year a documentary about suicide loss is included as part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day. Previous documentaries can be found here.
The quilts put a human face on the tragedy of suicide and its toll on families and communities. If you've lost a loved one to suicide, you may want to bring family and friends together to create an AFSP Lifekeeper Memory Quilt panel to remember them.
One goal of the Suicide Bereavement Clinician Training program is to provide those who have lost a loved one to suicide with a list of clinicians who are knowledgeable about bereavement after suicide and able to provide grief therapy for survivors.
Practical information for immediately after a loss
Do the police have to get involved?Learn more
Can I/do I have to view the body? Will there to be an autopsy?Learn more
What do I tell people about what happened?Learn more
What do I tell my children?Learn more
How do I handle the media if the suicide has caught the public’s attention?Learn more
What do I need to know about planning the funeral?Learn more
In my loved one’s obituary, do I have to say the death was a suicide?Learn more
A listing of books from which we hope loss survivors will find helpful information and guidance as they navigate their healing journey.
Download A Manager's Guide to Suicide Postvention in the Workplace
After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools offers best practices and practical tools to help schools in the aftermath of a suicide.
Download Postvention: A Guide for Response to Suicide on College Campuses
Healing Milestones - Recognizing Complicated Grief