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Coping With Suicide

A Difficult, Emotional Loss

It is an understatement, to say the least, to point out that suicide is one of the most difficult types of loss to cope with. The unfortunate social stigma surrounding suicide is just one of the reasons for this.

The unfortunate social stigma surrounding suicide can make coping with a loss very difficultSuicide is an uncomfortable topic. It is so uncomfortable, in fact, that many news organizations have policies against running stories about suicides. The very mention of the word, some people apparently believe, may lead others to also commit suicide. Suicides are typically not covered in most life insurance policies and suicide is thought to be the ultimate in mental illness. Suicidal people are thought to be “just crazy,” perhaps, capable of “taking others with them.”

So, it’s easy to see why coping with the suicide of a beloved family member can be exceedingly difficult. Aside from coping with the loss of a precious person, those coping with suicide face a myriad of other societal stigmas. Some people have been known to struggle for years with even the most basic question of admitting that the death was, in fact, a suicide. The pressures of coping with suicide that some suicide survivors can occasionally find themselves feeling rejected, depressed, and even suicidal themselves.

Fortunately, help in coping with suicide is almost as prevalent today as it is for preventing suicide in the first place. It is well known, for example, that people who feel suicidal can find a huge number of 24-hour telephone lines, Internet chat sites, and even local in-person counselors to help. The same is true for those who are coping with suicide.

Support groups and helpful websites abound for those who are coping with the suicide of a loved one. These resources can be a welcomed relief for those dealing with the social taboo. Whereas well-intentioned family and friends may have no clue how to respond to requests for help from those coping with suicide, groups designed specifically for coping with suicide are helpful, if for no other reason, for their ability to express “we know what you’re going through.”

Help in coping with suicide is very prevalent in our day and ageSupport for those coping with suicide has increased to such a level in recent years that even Congress has gotten involved. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, for example, pushed through legislation approving November 18 of each year as National Suicide Survivors Day in the United States. Reid pursued this legislation because his own father was a suicide victim. The junior Reid found coping with suicide to be difficult and decided to use his position in the Senate to call attention to the unique emotional struggles that coping with suicide can bring.

National Suicide Survivors Day involves a national conference hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. At that convention, counselors and experts meet to discuss new research and ideas for both preventing and coping with suicide. The convention also hosts many suicide survivors who discuss their experiences and help to find ways for coping with the burden brought upon by societal discomfort that often plagues the thousands each year who loose a family member to suicide.

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