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On Losing Loved Ones to Suicide: 15 Ways to Celebrate Their Lives

By HERWriter
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Losing Loved Ones to Suicide: 15 Ways to Celebrate Their Lives Erwin Wodicka/PhotoSpin

Whether you lose a family member, close friend or even an acquaintance to suicide, it can be difficult to cope with nonetheless.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is held on Saturday, November 22, 2014. Its aim is to provide a bigger support network for all people going through various stages of grief and healing over the loss of a loved one to suicide.

You don’t have to participate in events to get the support you need, but if you are interested, here are some support events around the world.

There is also an online event for people who can’t attend an in-person event.

In order to help you cope the rest of the year, here are some tips on how to positively celebrate the lives of loved ones lost to suicide, as well as cope with the loss.

In the case of a high school friend of mine who committed suicide, a memorial page/group was built on Facebook, which is still active.

Paul Granello, a licensed professional clinical counselor and member of the American Counseling Association, shared his five coping tips via email:

1) “It is important to celebrate the life and not discuss the means or method of the suicide in any way. The goal is to minimize the risk of contagion or a copy-cat suicide.”

2) “It is always best to hold a funeral or other service away from the location where the suicide occurred.”

3) “I lost my brother to suicide and I light a candle on his birthday each year. I am remembering his life and not the anniversary of his death.”

4) “Find a support group. Often people in your family or friends may have a difficult time talking about a suicide death because of the stigma around mental health in general, but suicide in particular.”

5) “Do not hesitate to get professional counseling help for yourself or a loved one, this is a big deal and should not be minimized or emotionally stuffed. Get help early - do not wait till you are in a major depression.”

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.