A Guide for Early Responders Supporting Survivors Bereaved by Suicide

Early responders play a vital role in supporting people who have lost someone they care about, someone they know who has died by suicide. Suicide loss is profoundly different than otherloss and grief in that it is a intentional act that can have crippling effects for the family, friends and other survivors.  Suicide is recognized as an important public health problem and a major source of preventable deaths worldwide. (WHO, 2009) Many people die each year by suicide… it is a complex, multi–faceted problem leaving some survivors who have a loved one die by suicide with their life as they knew it changed forever. Suicide can affect survivors in many life areas including having biological, psychological, social and spiritual impact. Research shows those closest to the person who died by suicide are themselves vulnerable to self harm including substance abuse. Survivors may be at 40X greater risk of suicide themselves because ofthe suicide loss. (LivingWorks Canada, 2006)