Don't miss Elana Premack Sandler's recent post, "Showing Support to Suicide Survivors," on her Psychology Today blog, in which Sandler, who is a survivor of her father's suicide, recounts her mother's observations about how to be helpful to people who have lost a loved one to suicide.
The kinds of things my mom shared were simple, human: a neighbor took all three of us kids into their home while my mom dealt with the EMTs and police; the EMTs and police “didn’t make it worse"; people from our synagogue helped by bringing food and assisting with funeral arrangements; a friend helped my mom sell my dad’s car and arrange for a death certificate so that she could access life insurance and survivor’s benefits.Sandler adds her own observation about how to be helpful:
Be there. Do the little things. Don’t say something to make yourself feel better, but say something to make the person who’s just lost someone feel better. Sometimes, you don’t have to say anything at all. Let the person who’s lost someone be angry. Let her feel abandoned, which, as my mom said so thoughtfully, is “a different form of anger.” Don’t be too quick to help look for a “silver lining.”She closes by noting that "it’s much easier to say, 'Talk about suicide' than it is to actually talk about suicide" and reminding everyone that "there’s truly no time like right now to just talk."