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Caring For Suicide Survivors

In my final article addressing suicide I want to give you some guidelines for helping those who survive the suicide of another person. When someone commits suicide it affects as many as 6 other people. They suffer as innocent carnage or victims. Perhaps you or someone you know is a suicide survivor. How can we help someone who is a suicide survivor?

1. Be a first responder. Be the first one to reach out and help them. Just be there for them and with them. You don’t have to talk. Show the gentle voice of understanding, compassion and support.
2. Pray for and with them
3. Be a good listener. Let them talk all they want. It helps them heal.
4. Accept their emotions as real to them. Let them express them freely.
5. Don’t give them trite, text book answers to their questions.
6. Don’t say things like: “It was their time to go. God wanted them more than you did. You can always have another child. They’re in a much better place. God never gives us more than we can handle or it’s time to just get over it.” They may never completely get over it.
7. Say things like: “I’m sorry, It must be very hard for you. I want to help you any way I can. Tell me how you’re feeling and how you’re making out. It’s okay to cry and get angry.” They are acting normal in an abnormal circumstance.
8. Connect them to a support group.
9. Don’t try and answer the WHY? questions. Often times there is no answer and it’s okay to say “I don’t know.”
10. The grieving process must run it’s course. It takes time but eventually is passes. There may be moments of sadness like during holidays and birthdays but they can be free of the daily grief. It helps to get good counseling.
Suicide is a tragic thing but God is a healing God. “He binds up our wounds and heals our broken hearts.” (Ps. 147:3) Whatever you or anyone you know is suffering through today, there is a God who will sustain you, heal you and provide all you need to move forward into victory.

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