Suicide is almost always painful and heartwrenching for the family and friends left behind. They’re left with many unanswered questions, followed by feelings of guilt and regret for either not recognizing the signs in their loved one who’s died or not doing enough to intervene. Every suicide or suicide attempt leaves a lasting impact on the lives of those it touches.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- What Should You Look for in a Support Group After a Suicide or Attempted Suicide?
- Online Support Groups for Survivors of Suicide
- Online Support Groups for Families, Parents, and Friends After Losing a Loved One to Suicide
One of the greatest needs for individuals who’ve lived through an attempted suicide or surviving friends and family is having an outlet for their grief. Finding a safe space to talk about what’s happened and how to get through this often traumatizing experience can be challenging. With a lack of social acceptance regarding the effects of suicide on victims and survivors, many are left dealing with their loss with little to no navigation.
What Should You Look for in a Support Group After a Suicide or Attempted Suicide?
Finding the proper outlet to talk about your loss is integral to healing. Most people working through this type of grief suffer alone without much support from their families and existing social networks. This form of grieving is called disenfranchised grief, which is traditionally not publicly recognized or socially acceptable. Suicide is still considered a highly taboo subject to talk about within most social contexts.
On the one hand, families dealing with suicide may feel ashamed to talk about it with friends and family out of fear of being judged. They're afraid of the stigma attached and the judgment from others, especially when they're among the loved ones of a person who's died by suicide.
When looking for a suicide support group, it's vital to find one where you feel comfortable with its members and share commonalities. Look for groups of individuals who've either gone through the type of loss you've experienced, such as losing a child or spouse to suicide, and one that makes new members feel welcome as they learn to navigate their grief.
If your loss is a recent one, you may want to look for a support group that offers grief support for newly bereaved persons rather than for those who are well into their healing journey.
Online Support Groups for Survivors of Suicide
The internet is usually the first place people turn to outside of their families to find information and support after a suicide or an attempted suicide. Some sites can provide helpful resources to learn more about why and how some individuals choose to end their lives this way.
Many will never fully understand those reasons, while others will make so much sense of it that it’s painful to recognize the signs within themselves or someone they love. Online, you can search suicide support groups for victims and survivors of suicide and individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts and ideations. Here, we begin with several of the more well-known suicide support groups for survivors of attempted suicide.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers a comprehensive directory of support groups for suicide attempt survivors that you can look through to find one that best meets your needs. Lifeline provides a free suicide prevention crisis hotline for distressed individuals to call when they or someone they know is thinking of suicide. If you need immediate help, the number to dial is (800) 273-8255.
This organization is now partnered with local community emergency response nationwide to provide a free and easy-to-remember number to dial when a crisis strikes. As of June 2022, the new number to dial is 988. Your call will automatically connect to one of Lifeline's counselors, who can offer immediate support and connect you to needed resources.
2. National Institute of Mental Health
The National Institute of Mental Health has a suicide prevention network to assist individuals in crisis. They offer free telephone hotline and text support services available 24/7 to anyone or their loved ones in danger of harming themselves. Their phone calls get routed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK (8255), where services are always available and accessible to anyone who calls.
Alternatively, you can text the Crisis Text Line at (text HELLO to 741741) for support anytime you need to connect to someone to talk you through an emergency. This website directs you to multiple resources for mental health services, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can help you find a support group.
3. Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line offers confidential crisis support for armed forces veterans and their families. Any active duty or retired military member of the armed forces and their loved ones can access these services free of charge. Even children of military vets who are missing their parent they’ve never met due to death at war or serving their country can access these bereavement services.
There’s no requirement to be enrolled in VA benefits or military healthcare to connect to a counselor and receive assistance. The number to call is (800) 273-8255 (choose option 1). Alternatively, you can choose to live chat online with a crisis intervention counselor at any time.
They also provide text support services by texting 838255. Once you text this number, you’ll automatically connect to a crisis support counselor who will talk you through any suicide-related crisis or emergency.
4. Speaking of Suicide
Speaking of Suicide is an online Facebook suicide survivor page where individuals can share their experiences with suicide. The group is open to anyone who struggles with suicidal ideation or has lost a loved one to suicide. They have also partnered with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to bring an added way of connecting you to the help you need when you're unable to call or text for support.
You can reach a trained counselor who can help you deescalate your situation by visiting the Speaking of Suicide page. Once there, you'll notice a bright blue button with the words "send message." A trained suicide prevention counselor will come on the line to chat with you or offer you a phone number to call if you prefer to speak to a counselor by phone.
5. Suicide Prevention and Support
Suicide Prevention and Support is a relatively small support group with just under a thousand members whose aim is to prevent suicide deaths and offer the needed support when struggling with these types of thoughts. The group is closed to the general public, meaning you have to answer a few simple questions to gain access. It’s moderated and operates 24/7 to get you the help you need in a timely fashion.
Online Support Groups for Families, Parents, and Friends After Losing a Loved One to Suicide
Losing a loved one to suicide is one of the most painful and confusing losses to endure. Suicide deaths leave survivors grappling for information on what went wrong, followed by questions that will haunt them a lifetime.
Most survivors will never know the extent of their loved one's suffering, and they will forever try to reimagine all of the signs and cries for help they might've missed and how they could've done more to prevent this type of tragedy from happening.
Some will never know the answers, while others might find solace in a note or letter left behind. The following support groups might provide some comfort if you need someone to talk to after a suicide loss.
6. Alliance of Hope
Alliance of Hope offers online access to community forums to help prevent suicide as well as supporting survivors of suicide loss. You must first register to access their discussions, but the process is easy. In just a few minutes, you can interact with others in the online community who share in a similar loss as yours.
You may want to take a few minutes going over the different forums to find one that fits well with what you’re experiencing due to your loss. The groups aim at easing your pain and suffering, connecting you to a community of individuals who know and understand the type of pain you’re going through and who can offer you help and support through the most challenging times of your grief.
Suicide Awareness Voices of Education is one of the first organizations in the United States to address the needs of individuals struggling with thoughts of suicide. They offer a comprehensive website that provides information on how to get the help you need if you are thinking of suicide or if you are a survivor of a loved one who's died by suicide. You'll find a grief support directory for groups meeting virtually or in-person within their online resources.
Because every crisis and need is different, you'll want to look through the available suicide support groups listed to find one in your area or that meets virtually. SAVE, not unlike other survivor organizations, does not endorse or recommend any particular group over another. You'll need to research to see where the best fit is for you.
8. Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends is one of the oldest online platforms for bereaved individuals to gather self-help grief support to families struggling with the loss of a loved one due to suicide. They link several different groups within the Facebook page, but at least one addresses suicide loss specifically. You may want to look through all of the sub-groups listed on their main page to see if you find a better fit for you and the challenges you’re facing.
For example, if you’re struggling with losing a parent during adulthood, you’ll find a group for that. Take the time to read through their community guidelines to ensure that you stay within their bounds so that you don’t inadvertently lose access to your group. The administrations ask for all members to follow basic rules that you don’t give out personally identifying information of non-members, that you maintain the confidences of group members within the group, and so on.
9. Crisis Connections
Crisis Connections offers a free, twice-monthly suicide survivor virtual support group or a paid virtual six-week suicide survivor bereavement group to survivors at least six months into their healing journey. It's a closed group in a structured environment where survivors can freely engage with one another to lend their support and share their stories of loss.
This organization understands the financial hardships affecting certain families and offers a limited number of scholarships to join their six-week grief support program. The process of signing up is relatively easy, and however, you must wait to get approval before gaining access to the group.
Getting the Help You Need After a Suicide or Suicide Attempt
Talking about suicide is generally considered a highly taboo subject even in these modern times. Suicide attempt survivors and the families who’ve survived a suicide loss often have a challenging time getting the support they need from their loved ones and communities. With a bit of research, the organizations listed above can help you navigate this type of grief so that you can find the added support you need to manage your unique struggles.