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You may know someone who died by suicide. Let’s talk.

You may know someone who died by suicide. Many of us do. 

How can you support people, families and loved ones who struggle after they’ve lost someone close to them?

Postvention is an important part of suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Postventions are activities that reduce risk and promote healing after a suicide death. It can decrease stigma, allow a space for healing, and build resiliency in communities. 

But postvention is often overlooked. Even by those who work in mental health—like me.

Time to talk.

Research shows family members of people who die from suicide are at increased risk of suicide. I think about that a lot.

When I was little, my mom’s friend died by suicide. I remember my mom having a mix of emotions like anger, sadness, and resentment. The death came as a surprise. My mom’s friend appeared to be doing OK with her family and job. 

I don’t think my mom ever sought professional support, nor talked to anyone about her friend’s death. 

I should reach out to my mom and ask her how she is doing. It’s been more than 30 years since her friend died, but I’m sure my mom is still carrying grief with her. 

My mom may have benefited from postvention help. Steps can include: 

  • Talking about the loved one’s death.
  • Recognizing suicide can produce a unique form of trauma.
  • Ensuring loved ones get support.

My mom may have needed that space 30 years ago. Perhaps she could still use it today.

Hope for zero suicide.

September is Suicide Prevention Month. Take time to think about people who have died by suicide, as well as those who have experienced suicide ideation or self-harm.

We want everyone to live their best possible life. We want you to:

  • Find help early and often.
  • Encourage loved ones to talk about mental health challenges.
  • Have a community that supports you when you need it most.

The Zero Suicide program began as a movement for organizations to take action to reduce suicides and develop system wide changes and approaches to suicide in healthcare settings. But the movement can happen in communities, too. You can access the zero suicide tool kit.

 Anyone undergoing suicidal ideation can contact Lifeline at 988 or contact the Pierce County Crisis Line at (800) 576-7764, or text 741-741. 

You can find more resources on our Behavioral Health webpage.