Family Survivors

Families describe the loss of a loved one by suicide as devastating.  Survivors say that friends and family are critically important to them during the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and for a long time afterwards.  Family survivors say time and time again that isolation is something to be avoided.   They say over and over that you need to talk.  You need to talk to people who are not afraid to listen.  You need to talk to people who are able to support you during the immediate devastation and during the aftermath when some may expect that you “get over it”.  Survivors may find it helpful to talk to family members and friends who can truly listen, health care providers, clergy and religious leaders, mental health professionals and, most importantly, other survivors.  They emphasize that it is vital to connect with others and talk during a time that most people, understandably, find it hard to reach out. 

The loss of a loved one through suicide severely challenges anyone’s ability to cope.  Please focus on your own self-care.  Think about your needs and take steps to make sure that you take care of yourself.  Talk to a trusted friend, seek an understanding religious leader, consider joining a survivor support group, seek out professional mental health care, talk to your own doctor, and reach out to your family.  At times, you may need to be alone and that is helpful, but do not withdraw even if it is the only thing you really want to do.  You live in a community that cares about you and your pain. If you are unsure who to contact in the community who can offer help, click on the Community link.  Reach out.  We will reach out to you.

Listed below are organizations and resources that survivors have found helpful and supportive during an extremely difficult and tragic time.
A Handbook for Survivors of Suicide by Jeffrey Jackson is a very helpful and compassionate guide for those grieving the loss of a loved one to suicide.  It can be viewed and downloaded from the American Association of Suicidology website.  The Samaritans have a survivor-to-survivor program that connects trained volunteers who are survivors to other survivors for support.  The Samaritans also sponsor a program called SafePlace which is a support group of caring people who have experienced the loss of loved ones to suicide.
The website for the American Foundation for Suicide prevention contains information on coping with loss by suicide. Click on Surviving Suicide Loss.
This is an independent website dedicated to helping survivors resolve their grief and pain in their own personal way.
The Compassionate Friends provides support for parents and siblings who have experienced the death of a loved one. It is not specific for suicide.
The Dougy Center for Grieving Children & Families provides information for teens, children and families who are coping with the death of a loved one.  Their book Helping Teens Cope with Death is an excellent resource and can be purchased from
A local program related to the Dougy Center, The Children’s Room Center for Grieving Children and Teenagers provides bereavement support for children, teens, young adults and families.  It is located in Arlington, MA.

The following books may also be helpful and are available through

Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide.  This is a healing guide written with compassion and insight by Beverly Cobain, a psychiatric nurse and cousin of Kurt Cobain who died by suicide and Jean Larch, a crisis intervention specialist.

Understanding Your Grief: Ten Essential Touchstones for Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph D. This is a helpful guide for those who have experienced  the death of a loved one. It is not specific for suicide.





Hurting yourself is NEVER
the right answer.
There are people who can help.

For immediate help call
911 or

Riverside Emergency Services

Newton Wellesley Hospital

To talk with someone call
Samariteen Hotline
1-800-252-TEEN (8336)

Samaritan Helpline
1-877-870-HOPE (4673)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Support and Help Around You