Survivors of Suicide Loss Day
About the author: Catelyn Reimnitz is a program specialist supporting Suicide Prevention and Crisis Services under the South Dakota Division of Behavioral Health’s Office of Prevention and Crisis Services.
In the United States approximately 44,000 people die by suicide each year. Suicide not only affects the individual, but the health and well-being of others. Each loss leaves family, friends and communities grieving and struggling to understand and cope.
On November 19, 2022, during International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, friends, and families of those who have died by suicide can come together to find connection, understanding and hope through shared experiences.
Losing a loved one to death by suicide can be unimaginable and the pain that comes with it can be devastating. It can be easy to fall victim to your grief during this vulnerable time. The emotions one feels can be overwhelming and gut wrenching. Some individuals may even feel guilty and wonder how they did not see the signs and if they had, what could they have done to prevent it.
It is important for survivors to adopt some healthy coping habits while working through their grief. For example:
You may never know why your loved one decided to take their own life and you may feel guilt, extreme sadness, and anger about continuing with everyday living. The intensity of these feelings will lessen. The first step in healing is to understand that suicide is no one’s fault and the grief that follows is complicated. By caring for yourself and learning different coping strategies, you can better manage your pain and work to honor the memory of your loved one.
Those who have lost a loved one to suicide truly are survivors because each day they are surviving their loss in the best way they know how. November 19th is a day to recognize the strength and resilience that survivors of suicide loss have. Together we can be the change.
Resources are available. The Healing After Suicide Loss in Your Life guide is a resource available to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. In addition, the Helpline Center has a packet of resource materials specific to grief recovery for survivors that is available to be mailed or handed out upon request. Visit https://sdsuicideprevention.org/survivor-services/.
To locate Survivor Support Groups in South Dakota, visit sdsuicideprevention.org.
To read previous editions of the Mental Health Memo visit https://dss.sd.gov/keyresources/news.aspx#mhmemo .