Suicide loss resources
My dear friend Beth Saadati, a writer and survivor of suicide loss, helped me compile this list of resources. In sharing she wrote:
Counseling definitely helps, especially with processing the grief. I would encourage your readers to seek it out (Focus on the Family offers initial counseling as a free resource).
The books I’ve read and counselors I’ve talked with say the grief that survivors of suicide loss experience is unique, the questions they’re left with at times unbearable. There’s no goodbye, no closure. Because of this, I think any resource, no matter how highly recommended, has definite limitations. The biggest healing and help often come through God, of course, and “real” friends who are willing to walk through years and layers of grief with those who’ve been left behind.
I pray the resources in this list may meet you in your grief where you are and help you, even in the tiniest of ways, on your journey. In this together.
Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love, by David B. Bieble and Suzanne L. Foster
“Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love is a compassionate and practical guide that addresses the intensely personal issues of survivors of suicide (SOS). This gentle and faith-affirming resource helps survivors know what to expect, especially during the first year following a suicide. It includes personal stories of survivors and suggestions on how to move beyond survival to live life again.
Designed for use by individuals, couples, and SOS groups, this book offers help for parents, siblings, friends, and extended families, as well as practical guidelines for pastors, Christian counselors, and other church leaders.”
God in the Dark: 31 Devotions to Let the Light Back In by Sarah Van Diest
“These letters were originally written as encouragement to a friend when the darkness began to overtake his path. Each day for 22 days, a letter arrived with one of the eight-verse sections from Psalm 119 along with a small thought to bring light and hope and to be a reminder that we do not fight our battles alone.
The letters, along with nine more devotions on the subject of experiencing God in the dark, make up this powerful, honest, hope-filled 31-day devotional.”
Aftershock: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide, by David Cox & Candy Arrington
“Aftershock is a recovery book that will provide encouragement and support for survivors. Examining the complex emotions involved in grieving a suicide death, readers will come to realize they are not alone in their grief and will not be alone in their healing.”
Zachary’s Choice: Surviving My Child’s Suicide, by Suzy LaBonte
“Slowly putting one foot in front of the other following her son’s death by suicide, Suzy focused on the unfailing character of God, her husband’s faithful partnership, and the hopeful faces of the children before her. Plodding and stumbling toward understanding and healing, Suzy found that God’s faithful companionship and the promises of His Word lightened the darkest hours and sustained her life. Healing came slowly and with it, transforming lessons of pain and courage. With a passion to reach out to encourage other suicide survivors, Suzy shares the healing that is found in Christ Jesus.”
Melissa: A Father’s Lessons from a Daughter’s Suicide, by Frank Page with Lawrence Kimbrough
“Frank Page, a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, learned this firsthand when he and his wife Dayle lost their daughter, Melissa, to suicide in 2009. Writing from personal experience, he examines the biblical truths that carried him through such a painful time and that minister to him on dark days still known to come around.”
“Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.”
“The mission of The Compassionate Friends: When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.”
Blogs and Websites
BITTERSWEET: by Beth Saadati
“Beth Saadati is a teacher, writer, wife, mother, and friend. Valuing life more than ever after the death of her teenage daughter, she shares story to offer insight, understanding, and hope to those who may be contemplating suicide and to those who have endured the aftershocks of it.”
Refuge In Grief:
“This site is full of validation, support, and resources that can help you survive what has been asked of you – whether that’s the death of someone you love, the loss of something you can’t live without, or witnessing unfixable pain in the people you love. Here’s a quick overview of the site so you can find what you’re looking for.”
“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. Find practical information, resources, and opportunities to connect with other survivors through this website.”
Coping With a Parent’s Suicide, Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, from the Child Mind Institute:
“When children experience the sudden death of a parent, they go through what we call traumatic grieving. This kind of death is not just a painful thing to assimilate; it triggers an emotionally complicated or conflicted process.”
Supporting a loved one through suicide loss