If we aren't available and you
have an emergency please call
Suicide Callback Service on
1300 659 467 (24/7)
1300 767 022 

How does one survive?

  • One second, one minute, one hour, one day at a time. Think in small time frames, the task of surviving doesn’t seem as daunting then.  See also Self Healing Tools in Publications
  • Draw on the strengths you have within you which have gotten you through prior troubled times. You do have these strengths even though you may feel weak and lost at this time.
  • Your emotions may be chaotic and confusing and may clash against each other -this is normal. You may question your sanity-this is normal. You may question every interaction you had with the deceased- this is normal. You may obsess about their last minutes, try to imagine their thoughts, their pain-this is normal. You may find the ordinary happenings of life trivial – this is normal. You may feel that you are too broken to ever recover- this is normal. There may be a great deal of work to be done on your grief journey – it can only be done at your own pace and not at the expectation of others.
  • Speak with others bereaved by suicide. Go to our Support Groups Section or ask your GP or Community resource centre to find where a support group might be. Look in the front pages of your local telephone book or speak with a local ambulance officer (these wonderful men and women sadly deal with suicide and attempted suicides often so may be able to recommend you to a service locally). The local funeral director may also be able to help. If you are too traumatized to search, ask someone close to you to do it for you – your friend may be glad to at last be able to do something useful.
  • Read books on grief and coping and stories of others who have survived the loss of a loved one through suicide. There are also many websites, and at Links we list some of them. Search on sites like YouTube for video stories. Keywords: suicide bereavement, suicide loss and grief, survivors of suicide (this term means that you can “survive” this shattering of your very being).If your loved one had a mental illness, learn more about the illness- it may help you understand more about them.
  • Seek out professional counselling help eg psychologists, counsellors, social workers who specialize in grief support. Again, your GP or one of those mentioned above may be able to direct you to the appropriate person.
  • Look after your physical health –eat small healthy meals*, drink 6-8 glasses of water each day (dehydration causes mental confusion- you’ve enough to deal with without even more), get a little exercise and catch a little sun and fresh air. Sleeping can be extremely difficult-
    limit drinks with caffeine, try meditation, talk with your pharmacist about possible natural remedies or you GP. Learn from other survivors what worked for them.
  • Alcohol and self medicating/drugs can make problems worse.
  • Give yourself permission to smile – think about the things your loved one did that made you smile and allow yourself to smile at these bittersweet memories.
  • Allow yourself to take time out to appreciate the people who are grieving with you. Their style of grieving may be different from yours but it doesn’t mean their grief is of less value. Learn about different grieving styles.
  • If you feel you cannot fully fulfil your parenting duties, ask trusted relatives/friends to help you in supporting your children. Your children need to know you still love them so speak with them frequently- sometimes, to them, the person who died seems to have become the only one you care about.
  • Unfortunately, great traumas have been part of the human condition since the beginning of mankind. Cultures have used spiritual beliefs to help them make sense of their world and those with religious/spiritual beliefs will attest that much of the teaching of their particular faith deals with overcoming the hurts of life. Some of you will gain great comfort from your belief at this time and others will greatly question their faith – this is normal, go where ever your questions have to take you.
  • Even with all these suggestions, in the end it will be your solutions that get you through. In time, your loss and your grief will become part of your life story, it will be part of you but not all of you. You will be able to function to a “new” normal.

* Fresh fruit and veges like apples, bananas, grapes, mandarins, carrots, beans, celery, sprouts etc need little or no preparation. Baked beans, canned vege soups, healthy frozen meals, cheese on toast, a boiled egg, weetbix etc take little preparation.


Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for general information only and may change without notice.
There is no guarantee of their quality, accuracy or applicability. SOSBSA is not responsible for third party contacts / links mentioned within this site.
SOS Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association Inc. ABN 15 084 233 358. Ph: 1300 767 022
PO Box 334 Springwood Qld 4127. Committee Secretary: secretary@sosbsa.org.au.
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