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Rumination is common in SB individuals and is unique compared with the responses of bereaved individuals to other losses, Dr Zisook pointed out. SB individuals are vulnerable to physical, psychological, and psychosomatic difficulties. Survivors are themselves at high risk for suicidal thoughts or completed suicide.

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The suicide of a family member leaves an indelible mark on the survivors, affecting each individual, the family as a whole, and also larger social networks. Complicated grief therapy CGT , a manualized, structured, session protocol, has been shown to be effective in treating CG in SB adults.

For example, SB parents will likely benefit more from a support group specifically for parents whose children have died by suicide than a heterogeneous group of parents who have lost children. Pharmacotherapy without psychosocial interventions is not helpful, Dr Zisook emphasized. Bereavement family counseling can facilitate the grieving process.

Parents Dealing With Grief After Adolescent Child's Suicide - Focus on the Family

These feelings can be especially heightened when a child has died by suicide. The suicide of a child can raise painful questions, doubts and fears. You may question why your love was not enough to save your child and may fear that others will judge you to be an unfit parent.

Both questions may raise strong feelings of failure. Many bereaved parents wrestle with these feelings, but in time come to a place where they understand their child made the choice to end their life. It is not uncommon for newly bereaved parents to express thoughts of suicide, regardless of how their child has died.

Suicide is not inherited. If you are having thoughts of suicide, be gentle with yourself.

How to help the children who are left behind

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at and suicidepreventionlifeline. However, if the thoughts turn into plans to end your life, please seek professional support immediately. Keeping the cause of death a secret can deprive you of the joy of speaking about your child with family and friends and may cause isolation between you and those whose support you will need. Anger Anger is a common emotion experienced by parents whose child has died by suicide.

Anger may be directed at your child, those you believe failed to help your child, God or just the world in general. You may be angry with yourself because you feel you were unable to save your child. Anger can be destructive but it can also be constructive. Finding constructive ways of expressing your anger can help in the healing process. Emotionally, however, it may take much longer for you to accept that you are not responsible.

Suicide in Teens and Children Symptoms & Causes

Be patient with yourself. Letting yourself fully feel an emotion is often an important part of processing and working through it.

At some point, you may begin to realize that there are some questions about the death of your child that will never be answered. Depression Lack of energy, sleep problems, inability to concentrate, not wanting to talk with others, and the feeling there is nothing to live for are all normal reactions in bereavement. Situational depression, as opposed to clinical depression, should eventually subside. This type of depression can be helped by integrating moderate physical activity, plenty of rest and water, and a nutritious diet into a daily routine.

Try to allow family and friends to take care of you. Try to stay connected with people you value and trust. Talking with others who have been through a similar situation may also help you to cope. If the depression does not appear to lessen over time, you may want to talk with a qualified professional who can determine how best to help you.


Disillusionment Often parents find themselves in a spiritual crisis and question their beliefs or feel betrayed by God.