Picking up the pieces after a suicide
The recent loss of television broadcaster Greg Boyed is a devastating tragedy. Those closest to him are now left to make sense of what has happened. Suicide is a complicated and multi-casual phenomenon. Finding meaning is an IMPORTANT part of grieving. There are many motives and multiple explanations for any single suicide. Researchers have estimated that, on average, for every suicide a further six to ten people will be severely affected by intense grief, while others estimate that between five and one hundred people may be adversely affected.
When supporting those bereaved by suicide it’s important to remember that you can’t do it all. Respect that others may have different needs to you. Start a dialogue with others - tell them what you need and ask them what they need. Initiate contact, to let them know that you care and are available to them.
Heather Henare Skylight CEO says,
“The suicide bereaved often ask themselves, did I miss something? Could I have prevented this from happening? When supporting someone who is bereaved by suicide, remember that one size does not fit all. People need the time and space to resolve their feelings in their own way, at their own pace. Be available. Listen. Give people space, if that is what they need.”
Heather goes on to say that,
“Facilitated support groups such as Skylight’s ‘Waves’ are helpful. The programme provides the opportunity for people to meet and share with others who are also experiencing the impact of suicide. ‘Waves’ provides a safe and supportive environment where aspects of grief can be explored; and the isolation and stigma associated with bereavement by suicide can be reduced. These groups focus on learning skills such as gaining information and strategies about how to care for themselves and others (including children and young people), after a suicide; and how to adjust to living with loss and moving forward.”
For specialist information about the aftermath of suicide including; how to explain suicide to children and young people, supporting a young person bereaved by suicide and practical information after a suicide to the newly bereaved, go to Skylight’s Resilience Hub.
Skylight has a range of books on the devastating effects of suicide bereavement both for sale via the online shop or free through our library. The Skylight library service is available nationwide and is free of charge.
To access the Resilience Hub www.skylight.org.nz
To find out more, contact Skylight: 0800 299 100