If you or someone you love are thinking about suicide, please call for help 24/7 . . .
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255 or text
START to 741-741
In Southern California 877-727-4747
Support Groups for Survivors of Suicide (aka those who have lost loved ones to suicide)
American Fdn. for Suicide Prevention (listings by state) www.afsp.org
American Assn. of Suicidology (listings by state) http://www.suicidology.org/suicide-support-group-directory
Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services (Los Angeles area) www.didihirsch.org/node/34
or call 310-895-2326
Friends for Survival www.friendsforsurvival.org
Heartbeat Survivors After Suicide (based in Colorado, chapters elsewhere) www.heartbeatsurvivorsaftersuicide.org
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) - peer support for survivors who have lost a member of the U.S. military + excellent booklet, "Survivors of Suicide Loss Guide" www.taps.org
Newsletters on Suicide Loss
Comforting Friends (from Friends for Survival) http://www.friendsforsurvival.org/newsletters.html
Grief After Suicide newsletter by Franklin Cook www.personalgriefcoach.info
Surviving Suicide newsletter (quarterly) - American Assn. of Suicidology
Web Sites on Suicide Loss (informational)
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors
Especially helpful is the well-organized, well-monitored Community Forum on many aspects of suicide loss, available free 24/7 to those who register.
American Assn. of Suicidology
Speaking of Suicide
Exceptionally informative, compassionate, frequently updated, and well-designed site by Stacey Freedenthal, Ph.D., LCSW, a psychologist who studies suicide. Although most of the site is about suicide prevention and directed at people at risk for suicide, there is a helpful section for suicide loss survivors.
Blogs about Suicide Loss
Figuring.Shit.Out : Eloquent, funny reflections by Amy Biancolli in response to the suicide of her husband and sister, as well as other topics. See her related book.
Lala's Mom: Life After the Suicide of a Child: Well-written, beautifully designed blog on losing her daughter Lala in 2010. Contains excellent resources and comments.
Living on the Fault Lines: Blog and related web site by Dianna Bonny offers advice and services on healing after the trauma of suicide loss.
Living With the Loss of a Child: Compassionate posts by Janie Cook, who lost adult son to suicide and who in the years since has developed a grief center and offered seminars.
Losing a Child to Suicide: British mum's frank reflections on losing her son in 2011.
Mary's Shortcut:About Suicide Bereavement: Personal reflections, information and resources on suicide loss by a mother who lost her daughter. Many posts written from a Catholic perspective. Helpful index.
Reflecting Out Loud: Thoughtful blog in response to her father's suicide by Deborah Greene, often with connections to Jewish themes and loss.
Resources for Suicide Prevention and Awareness for College Students
Active Minds : national student organization with 400 college chapters that promotes erasing the stigma around mental illness and suicide, raising awareness, and changing the culture on campus
Jed Foundation : excellent resource for colleges and universities on how to develop comprehensive programs for nurturing/protecting student emotional health and preventing suicide; see also www.jedcampus.org
ULifeline : info on suicide and mental health for college students (from Jed Fdn.)
Depression Awareness Public Service Announcemen
for World Mental Health Day (30 seconds, animated)
Resources on Mental Illness (a few from my personal list - very incomplete)
Forney, E. (2012). Marbles: Mania, depression, Michelangelo, and me. NY: Gotham Books. Graphic memoir of bipolar disorder by a highly self-aware young woman cartoonist who struggled for four years to find suitable treatment. Forney tells her story with whimsical, down-to-earth, self-deprecating tone and wacky images, with frequent references to psychological sources; the graphic illustration of DSM terms are brilliant. Explores her inner journey to reconcile the need for treatment with her identity and independence as an artist.
Moezzi, M. (2013). Haldol and hyacinths: A bipolar life. NY: Penguin. Memoir of bipolar disorder by another highly self-aware young woman, interwoven with her coming of age as an Iranian American Muslim activist. Ms. Moezzi has since become an activist and public speaker for erasing the stigma around mental illness.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) information and support for people with mental illness and their families, including local chapters with activities and outreach. Two youth outreach programs that go into high schools and community/faith organizations are NAMI Ending the Silence (firstname.lastname@example.org) and NAMI Say It Out Loud (email@example.com)
Books on Suicide - General
Jamison, K. R. (1999). Night falls fast: Understanding suicide. NY: Vintage. (By a psychiatrist with bipolar disorder and a history of suicide attempts; emphasizes suicide and mental illness.)
Joiner, T. (2010). Myths about suicide. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (draws on his earlier book to address common misunderstandings about suicide)
Joiner, T. (2005). Why people die by suicide. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (By a research psychologist drawing on his own and others' research as well as media accounts. Elaborates 3-part theory of suicide based on the thwarting of the need to connect and the need to contribute, combined with an acquired ability to self-harm.)
Books on Suicide Loss - General (by psychologists, researchers and other professionals)
Dyregrov, K. et al. (2010). After the suicide: Helping the bereaved find a path from grief to recovery. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingley Publications. Based on Norwegian study of suicide survivors; helpful mix of personal narratives and research findings.
Feigelman, W., et al. (2012). Devastating losses: How parents cope with the loss of a child to suicide or drugs. NY: Springer Publishing. (Based on sociological survey of over 500 parents in suicide survivors' support groups.)
Jordan, J., & Baugher, B. (2016). After suicide loss: Coping with your grief (2nd ed.). Newcastle, WA: Caring People Press. Expanded edition of helpful book by two psychologists that combines description of the suicide bereavement process with personal accounts by survivors. 150 pp.
Jordan, J., & McIntosh, J. (Eds.) (2011). Grief after suicide: Understanding the consequences and caring for the survivors. NY: Routledge. Many helpful chapters reviewing research and best practices; geared to clinicians but helpful to interested survivors.
Memoirs of Suicide Loss and Self-help for Survivors
Antus, M. (2014). My daughter, her suicide, and God: A memoir of hope. Available from amazon.com. (Thoughtful memoir brings us inside her anguish and the slow path to reconnecting with life and God over the years since her child's death. See also related blog).
Biancolli, Amy. (2014). Figuring shit out: Love, laughter, suicide, and survival. Burlington, IA: Behler Publications. (Eloquent memoir about losing her husband to suicide and how her family coped; infused with hope and humor. See also related blog.)
Bolton, Iris (1983). My son . . . my son. . . . A guide to healing after death, loss or suicide. Roswell, GA: Bolton Press Atlanta. (Classic memoir about losing her 20-year-old son by a founder of the suicide survivor support group movement. Includes useful appendices with quick, helpful information for survivors.)
Fine, Carla. (1997). No time to say goodby: Surviving the suicide of a loved one. NY: Broadway Books. (One of the better written memoirs that draws on the author's experience of losing a spouse, as well as the experience of others she interviewed.)
Greenleaf, Catherine. (2006). Healing the hurt spirit: Daily affirmations for people who have lost a loved one to suicide. Andover, NH: St. Dymphna Press. (Short, gentle reflections for each day of the year touching on many aspects of suicide grief.)
Lemoine, R. E. (2013). Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss – A Guided Journey. Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press. (Unique mix of suicide loss memoir for a best friend, journal exercises and meditation prompts for fellow survivors. Honest, sensitive approach could be helpful to survivors, regardless of the type of loss.)
Richards, Lisa. (2012). Dear Mallory: Letters to a Teenage Girl Who Killed Herself. Torrance, CA: New Middle Press Torrance. www.newmiddlepress.com ( Loving letters from a therapist mother to her 18-year-old daughter after Mallory's suicide, interweaving family memories with stages of the grief process. Especially poignant is the juxtaposition of Mallory's remarkable suicide note with letters from her mother and other family and friends.)
Strouse, S. (2013). Artful grief: A diary of healing. Bloomington, IN: Balboa Press/Hay House. A window into the daily course of one mother's grief after the suicide of her 17-year-old daughter, including her discovery of the art of collage as a way to process all kinds of feelings--and help other survivors to do the same. See the brilliant collages on Strouse's web site: www.artfulgrief.com
General Books on Grief
Fumia, M. (2003). Safe Passage: Words to help the grieving. San Francisco: Conari Press. Wise, compassionate, short and simple reflections on various stages of grief; can be dipped into at any point for consolation. Manages to avoid the sentimental and cliche while being true to life/grief.
Books on Judaism, Loss, and Grief
Brener, A. (2012). Mourning & Mitzvah: A Guided Journal for Walking the Mourner's Path through Grief to Healing. Jewish Lights Publishing.
Grollman, Rabbi E. A. (2000). Living with loss, healing with hope: A Jewish perspective. Boston: Beacon Press.
Kushner, H. (1981). When bad things happen to good people. NY: Anchor Books.
Levy, N. (1998). To begin again: The journey toward comfort, strength and faith in difficult times. New York: Ballantine Books.
Videos of Interest to Suicide Survivors
Motherland. Moving documentary about a group of mothers who have lost children to various kinds of sudden, violent deaths, including suicide, who go together on a service mission to help orphaned children in South Africa. Includes extremely honest interviews with the mothers about their losses. To learn about ongoing service projects inspired by the film, see Project Grace.
Panel Discussions from International Survivors of Suicide Day, organized by American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. 60-90 minute discussions with diverse group of survivors, facilitated by a therapist survivor and followed by remarks and Q&A with AFSP staff. These videos are the focus of annual gatherings of survivors on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, sponsored by local AFSP chapters. The one for 2013 was well-done and heartfelt, covering a wide range of survivors' issues and experiences.
Helping Parents Grieve. 6-part film about child loss, developed by a grief and trauma center in Austin, TX. Available from My Healing Place.
Survivors of Suicide Loss Resource DVD. 90-minute film of several survivors talking openly about their experience. Available for donation here.
Recommended Media Coverage of Suicide & Suicide Loss
Allison, M. (2007, January 14). Needless goodbye: A young widow wants you to know about suicide prevention. Seattle Times.
MacFarquhar, L. (2013, June 24). Last call. A Buddhist monk confronts Japan's suicide culture. New Yorker.
Leddy, K.A. (2013, October 22). Ducking Grief. New York Times. -- mother who lost a 17-year-old daughter to suicide describes the confusion and pain of daily life encounters
See also the In the News listings at the web site for Lesoine's (2013) book Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss
Music to Mourn By
Avishai Cohen Trio At Home album: "Remembering" (mellow bass and piano jazz)
J. S. Bach, "Air on the G String" (orchestral version)
essence, "Shape of You" (available on iTunes; featured at end of Motherland documentary and available here.
"Carry Me" by Peter Kater and Snatam Kaur on album Heart of the Universe
Adam Levy, "Naubinway" - Levy performs with the indie rock group, Honeydogs. His solo album of songs inspired by Levy's son's suicide is due out September '15.
My memorial bracelet was made by Ellen Dinerman of Acorn Works Jewelry. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss designing a memorial bracelet for your loved one.