Navigating the Stages of

Healing After A Suicide Loss

Tara Tooley, LCSW

A Compassionate Guide For Survivors

Stage 1 Shock and Disbelief

1. Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional for support 2. Allow yourself to feel your emotions without judgment 3. Focus on self-care, such as maintaining a routine, eating well, and getting enough sleep

Stage 2 Intense Grieving

1. Express your feelings through journaling, talking to a trusted friend, or attending a support group 2. Seek professional help if you find your emotions becoming unmanageable 3. Allow yourself to grieve in your own way and at your own pace

Stage 3 Searching for Answers

1. Recognize that you may never fully understand the reasons behind the suicide 2. Focus on healing and self-care, rather than attempting to find a single answer 3. Consider connecting with other suicide loss survivors, as they may have similar experiences and insights

Stage 4 Acceptance and Adjustment

1. Establishing new traditions or rituals that honor your loved one’s memory 2. Channeling your emotions into a creative project or volunteer work 3. Remembering that healing is not linear and setbacks are normal

Stage 5 Finding Hope and Meaning

1. Embrace new experiences and opportunities for growth 2. Recognize the strength and resilience you’ve developed throughout your healing journey 3. Keep the memory of your loved one alive through acts of kindness or sharing their story

Healing from suicide loss is a deeply personal and nonlinear journey. Remember that there is no set timeline or “right way” to grieve. Be patient with yourself, seek support from loved ones and professionals, and honor your loved one’s memory as you navigate this difficult path.


For more information on Grief and Loss