Erin Barr

Clinical Coordinator of UpStreet

Dealing with the loss of a friend or family member due to suicide

The topic of suicide can be a difficult one for young people and adults alike. But we know that some of you reading this may have friends, family, or classmates that have died by suicide and we think it is important to talk about. We’re sharing some things you can do to help yourself through the healing process after someone dies. Of course, the UpStreet team is also available to help you through the grieving process.

Emotions

Let yourself feel whatever emotions come up. It is ok and totally normal to be sad, angry, confused, guilty, and even, sometimes, relieved. Also know that these emotions may come and go over time and you might feel more than one at a time. You might be incredibly sad and also really angry that the person is gone. This is all normal and part of the healing process. Just let yourself feel your feelings. 

There is no “right” way

There is not one correct way to grieve. Try not to let the idea of “should” creep into your grief process. It’s very common to start feeling like you “should” be over it by now, or you “should” not still have such strong feelings about it. Other people might say things like this to you too. Grief is a very individual process with no specific timeline. And because it is such an individual process everyone will experience it differently. You may feel it’s important to carry on with your regular activities and someone else may feel they should take a break from things for a while. Both are ok. 

Take Care of Yourself

As much as possible, try to take care of your basic needs. Make sure you’re still eating regularly and getting enough sleep. These are some of the most common things to be affected by grief so paying extra attention to these needs may help you through the grief process. Other things that may help are spending time with supportive friends and family, writing your thoughts and feelings down, drawing or painting, and physical activity-even just a short walk can help improve your mood

Talk to a Professional

Usually after any sudden death of a student, schools will bring in grief counselors and other professionals. Schedule a time to talk to them. They are specifically trained in grief and can be an excellent support for you. Their job is to be there for you and to listen to anything you may be experiencing, thinking, or feeling. 

Talk with Friends and Family

Sharing what you are going through with someone can feel really good and relieving. Maybe the person you may choose to talk with has been experiencing the same loss, and you can share together. Sometimes it is comforting to hear from someone that they are feeling and experiencing similar things to us. It is also healthy for us to not keep everything  inside. 

We hope the things we’ve shared here will help you through the process. We know that dealing with a loss, particularly a loss by suicide, is a process that may require more support than a blog post can offer.  The live chat is always an option for you at any point.

What to do if you are having suicidal thoughts

RESOLVE
1-888-796-8226 (For Allegheny County residents only)

Walk-in crisis center
333 North Braddock Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15208

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
800-273-8255

Crisis Textline
Text HOME to 741741