As the bereavement team with HopeWest Montrose, we often walk alongside individuals and families who are navigating the devastating loss of a loved one to suicide. In light of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month this September, we hope to shed light on this sometimes uncomfortable topic, break the misunderstandings that can surround suicide, and share valuable resources.
Suicide is a silent crisis that remains a larger issue in our communities than most people are aware of. The reputation surrounding suicide deaths, particularly on the Western Slope of Colorado, often prevents individuals and families from seeking the support they desperately need. To truly fight this crisis in our communities, we must collectively seek to understand and acknowledge the challenges that survivors of suicide loss face.
Grief after the loss of a loved one to suicide is a unique and painful experience. Survivors struggle with a range of challenges, from the heavy weight of stigma surrounding the death, to judgment from others. And for many in our community, they may not fully understand the ins and outs of this type of grief. Life after this kind of death can be overwhelmingly difficult, with families left to navigate a path they never expected to walk.
This is where bereavement counseling plays a life-changing role. It can help survivors realize they are not alone in their pain. It allows survivors to explore the difficult nature of their grief with compassion and support, which is important in the healing process.
To those who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide, our message is clear: Talk! Reach out to someone you trust, and remember that help is available. In moments of crisis, you can call 988 or text TALK to 741741. Incredible resources and support from American Foundation for Suicide Prevention can be also found at afsp.org.
For those who want to support someone in crisis, we urge you to be there, to listen without judgment, and to encourage them to seek professional help. Your support can make a significant difference in someone’s life.
HopeWest is dedicated to providing life-changing support to our community, including bereavement services. Our Compassionate Hearts grief support group is a monthly gathering for those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
You can reach us at 970-240-7734 for adult, children, and teen support.
By Bethany Nehring, LPC, ATR, Bereavement Coordinator
and Teri Kinkade, Med, Bereavement Counselor/Youth Services Coordinator at HopeWest Montrose