Support for those bereaved

In the event of suffering a loss hope image

Each grief reaction experienced by a person is individual and unique - the complexity of the grief we can experience can be compounded when a person has sadly died by ending their life.

Initially, you may feel deep shock accompanied by numbness, emptiness, sheer disbelief. You may feel anger, confusion and find yourself struggling with feelings of guilt and asking, ‘why’. The feelings you may experience may feel chaotic, frightening, debilitating and overwhelming.

There is no set or ‘normal’ way to experience grief and no ‘normal’ timeframe for recovery- there are no rights or wrongs and you are not alone.

The impact of suicide can have devastating effects upon an individual, families and friend network. People can struggle with coming to terms with what has happened and may also have increased responsibilities such as supporting other family members and friends through their grief, practical responsibilities and supporting children.

At these incredibly difficult times, people can become isolative from their friends and family and current evidence suggest that statistically, friends and family are then up to 3 times more at risk of taking their own lives.

If you find yourself experiencing thoughts of ending your life, seek support off your GP immediately. The GP can refer you to specialist talking therapies and may discuss medication options in this is appropriate for your recovery.

If you cannot access your GP out of hours, please attend your local accident and emergency department. There are specialist teams who are able to assist day and night and sometimes people find it easier talking to an impartial person. It’s okay to attend alone or with support and it’s okay to dial 999. We’re here to help.

It is imperative that you take care of your mental and physical wellbeing, particularly in the early stages of grief, when caring for yourself may feel alien to you or may not even feel that this is a consideration or a priority. Some people may turn to alcohol or using illicit substances to help them cope and although these may provide some immediate feelings of relief, they will only serve to hinder recovery and also place your mental and physical wellbeing at risk.

These coping mechanisms will disinhibit you also increase your risk of acting impulsively, which can lead to people engaging in risk taking behaviours such as self-harm. There are specialist, non-judgemental support services for people who need help in relation to alcohol and drug use and you can self-refer or your GP can refer you.

There are many services available to support you through this incredibly difficult time below are some websites and online reading that may be helpful for you. If you have found any further resources online that have been helpful, please share these with us and we can continue to grow and expand our online list of resources.

We acknowledge that there will be some websites where the content has not been regulated and therefore it is likely that there will be some variance in each individual’s experience and how helpful these have been to each individual person.

10 tips for looking after yourself

Here are 10 tips for looking after yourself (courtesy of the Mental Health Foundation)

  1. Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled. Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy
  2. There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel – for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect. But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health
  3. Friends and family can make you feel included and cared for. They can offer different views from whatever’s going on inside your own head. They can help keep you active, keep you grounded and help you solve practical problems
  4. A change of scene or a change of pace is good for your mental health. It could be a five-minute pause from cleaning your kitchen, a half-hour lunch break at work or a weekend exploring somewhere new. A few minutes can be enough to de- stress you
  5. Some of us make people laugh, some are good at maths, others cook fantastic meals. Some of us share our lifestyle with the people who live close to us, others live very differently. We’re all different
  6. Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better. Exercise also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy
  7. We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary
  8. None of us are superhuman. We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things go wrong. If things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, ask for help
  9. What do you love doing? What activities can you lose yourself in? What did you love doing in the past? Enjoying yourself helps beat stress. Doing an activity you enjoy probably means you’re good at it and achieving something boosts your self-esteem
  10. Caring for others is often an important part of keeping up relationships with people close to you. It can even bring you closer together.