Caring for Survivors of Suicide Attempt and Loss
When we lose a loved one from suicide, the loss survivors—family members, friends, coworkers—may experience guilt and wonder what they could have done to save the person. That sense of guilt can turn into moral injury. These feelings can degrade one’s mental health and well-being.
The road to overcoming these negative thoughts begins with patience and keeping an open mind. A loved one’s suicide is a challenging, confusing, and painful experience but there are a few outlets that can help overcome the pain, including talk-therapy, spiritual dialogue, support groups, art, and journaling, among many others.
If you are a survivor of a suicide attempt or loss, and are experiencing these negative feelings right now, you are not alone. Practice compassion on yourself and know that despite your efforts to help someone in despair, the actions of our loved ones are sometimes simply beyond our control. Remember that guilt is an emotion that stalls rather than fuels our progress and growth. In due time and with the proper support network, you can come to a point of acceptance and begin to look for avenues to overcome barriers and thrive in your life.
If you, a colleague, or a family member are experiencing an emotional crisis, or having thoughts of death, dying, or ending one’s life, help is available:
- Find a local CBP Chaplain or Peer Support or a Veteran Support Field Coordinator;
- Contact the CBP Employee Assistance Program (password: CBPEAP) or call 800-755-7002;
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255);
- Text Tess, the confidential mental health chatbot, at 442-245-8065;
- Text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741; and/or,
- Call 911.