If you lose someone to suicide
It is important to remember that you are not alone, and that millions of people are impacted by suicide loss. The loss of a loved one to suicide is often shocking and deeply upsetting. It is common to feel guilt, emptiness, confusion, anger, or even that your own life is not worth living.
Postvention is an organized response following a suicide that aims to reduce further suicide risk by identifying
and supporting the emotional and mental health needs of the survivors.
If you or someone you are supporting identify as a suicide loss survivor, please contact the county’s Suicide
Prevention Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ideally, you will provide the name(s) of the person(s)
needing support, contact information and their relationship to the deceased.
For time-sensitive needs or for immediate attention or support, please use our 24/7 Crisis and Support Line at
Support Available to You
Along with local chaplains, the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) is called to the scene after a suicide occurs
to provide emotional first aid to families and other impacted individuals. They may offer referrals or resources,
such as helping to choose a funeral home. The Medical Examiner will also discuss ongoing Postvention
support with loss survivors.
Short- and Long-term Support
With information provided by the Medical Examiner or TIP, the Postvention Team at Clackamas MHC will
contact identified survivors to facilitate any or all of the following:
- Exploring resources, including natural or community supports like suicide loss bereavement groups
- Offering no cost peer services and mental health treatment at Clackamas MHC
- Normalizing common grief responses to minimize complicated grief and guilt reactions
- Inquiring as to who else might need postvention contact
- Planning a future call to check in and provide additional support, especially around anniversary or other important dates
- Trauma Intervention Program’s Resource Guide provides suggestions such as how to cope after a suicide, a list of local funeral homes, a list of biohazard cleaning services, Medical Examiner office contact numbers and a list of required information to obtain a death certificate.
The Dougy Center provides support, resources, and connection after a death for children, teens and their caregivers. Find communication tip sheets, activities, podcasts, and more through their personalized toolkits.
- Suicide Loss Bereavement Groups. Find a free group to attend by putting in your zip code.
- After a Suicide: Toolkit for Schools includes an overview of key considerations, guidelines for action, do's and don'ts around memorials, and sample materials.
- A Manager's Guide to Suicide Postvention in the Workplace: 10 Action Steps for Dealing with the Aftermath of Suicide provides information for workplace leadership on how to respond immediately to a suicide, how to plan in the short-term for recovery and what long-term strategies to consider.
- Speak with an individual who is also a suicide loss survivor by getting in touch with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Healing Conversations program. These individuals offer understanding and guidance in the weeks and months following a suicide death.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Resource and Healing Guide provides information about coping with loss, the survivor loss community, and resources to help with your journey.
- American Association of Suicidology Handbook for Survivors of Suicide is a book for people who have lost a loved one to suicide, written by someone who has suffered the same loss.
How to cope
It is important to take care of yourself after a loss. Here are some ways to be sure you are coping in a healthy way:
- Lean on your community for support as you grieve the loss of a loved one – talking about your loss is an important step in healing.
- Grieve at your own pace. Everyone grieves in different ways, do what feels right for you. Don't be hurried by expectations that it's been "long enough."
- Find a support group. You are not alone, and talking to others who understand about what happened can help enormously.
- Know when to seek professional help. It’s okay to ask for help. We have trained professionals available 24/7, by calling the Crisis and Support Line at 503-655-8585.