Let us first consider the statistics of suicide in our country. Every day, an average of over 10 canadians die by suicide and for every death by suicide, there are 7 to 10 survivors of suicide who are deeply permanently affected by suicide. So much so, that they become at higher risk of suicide themselves. Suicide is predominant in males (x3) and in particular among indigenous populations. It is the second leading cause of death among youth and young adults (15-34 years). Suicidal thoughts are predominant in LGBTQ groups.
Given these frightening statistics, it is no surprise that everyone knows somebody that has been impacted by suicide.
For suicide survivors, the grief process is especially long given the complexity of the death. It is not uncommon for suicide survivors to be in the depths of mourning a year following the loss, long after society anticipate the grieving to take. This duration is commonly believed to be due to the difficulty in understanding the motivation for the death and the disbelief of the occurrence. Victims of suicide are frequently described as ‘seemingly happy’ immediately prior to their suicide. Manic depression can manifest in this way with no signs of suicide evident in the person’s behaviour. This adds to disbelief by the survivors and continual self-questioning of if they missed something or could they have done something else. These feelings of disbelief and self-questioning, extend the grieving process significantly making the loss harder to accept.