Suicide Survivors: Dealing with Stigma,
Ignorance, and Insensitivity
by Kevin Caruso
It is extremely difficult to lose a loved one to suicide.
And the intense pain can be exacerbated by the stigma that is associated with suicide.
This stigma is rooted in ignorance. Most people do not know very much about suicide, and are hesitant to even talk about it.
But the insensitive, ignorant, and cruel statements that suicide survivors are sometimes subjected to defy common sense and deeply outrage me.
Ignorance is not an excuse.
Suicide survivors should be treated with the highest level of respect and sensitivity 100 percent of the time. And people should not need to be told that basic fact.
But hurtful statements, unfortunately, are oftentimes made.
The best thing to do after a suicide is to stay away from people that may be insensitive.
And if anyone says anything offensive, get away from them as quickly as possible.
Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members.
Again, the best way to deal with the stigma, ignorance, and insensitivity immediately after a suicide is to stay far away from anyone or anything that would cause problems for you. Do not give people the chance to be insensitive.
Later on, well after the shock wears off, and you are feeling better, you can work to reduce the stigma and confront ignorant people when they are insensitive about suicide --
but not until you are feeling stronger, and have worked through much of your grief.
However, if someone does make an ignorant, insensitive, or hurtful statement to you -- at any time -- speak up. Let them know how you feel, then get away from the person as quickly as possible.
Please be gentle with yourself.
And please take care of yourself.
I love you,
If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.
I love you.