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The experience of a suicide survivor, who lost a loved one to suicide, is an extremely traumatic and painful experience. During such an experience shock and disbelief are generally the initial reactions.

Problems which may exacerbate issues:

  • Destructive coping strategies
  • Hiding the pain
  • Denial the feelings the death has brought
  • Developing addictive behaviours
  • Blaming family members for death
  • Overworking (Burnout)

After the death of a loved one typically bereavement kicks in in which individuals would experience shock and numbness. Feelings of anguish and despair may also arise in which typically they dissipate. What happens usually is that acute grief turns into integrated grief, however this period tends to take longer than normal for individuals who lost a loved one to suicide. Internalized grief expresses itself in the individual recognizing that they grieved, able to return to the workplace and to be able to seek companionship and love from others.

Check out Part 2/2 for more information about survivors of suicide.

Karl Grech is a counsellor. He offers counselling to both individuals and couples within Willingness. He can be contacted on karl@willingness.com.mt.