Common Emotions

“I feel numb”

Feelings of being dazed or detached are common responses to suicide, especially at first.

Coping Strategies

Grieve in your own way

There is no “right” way to grieve. You can choose to tell others how you're feeling or acknowledge your feelings privately. If you don't feel like talking, you can set aside time each day to grieve. Either way, acknowledging your experiences helps.

Be prepared for painful reminders

Some days will be better than others, even years after the suicide – and that's OK. Painful reminders are particularly likely on the person’s birthday and the anniversary of their death. Consider starting new traditions on these days. For example, you could donate to a charity in your loved one’s name on their birthday.

Be patient

Just as you may be feeling a range of emotions, people around you may also be sorting through their feelings. Be patient with yourself and others, but limit your contact with those who tell you how to feel and what to think.

Seek support

You may find it helpful to talk to a friend, family member, mental health professional or spiritual advisor. Some find joining a support group helpful since each person will be able to relate in different ways to your experience. However, if you find going to these groups keeps you ruminating on your loved one's death, seek out other methods of support. Find a support group

Know when to get professional help

If you continue experiencing intense or unrelenting depression, anger, or feelings of guilt, it’s time to get professional help. Additionally, if you find yourself having suicidal thoughts (as many loss survivors do), seek support from a mental health professional.

How Suicide is Different

Stigma & isolation

Talking about suicide can be difficult for those who have experienced the loss. Finding the right people in your support network who are able to help you experience your loss is important. Sometimes, this may mean seeking professional help in order to help you cope with your loss. Find counseling & support groups near campus.

Mixed emotions

After a death by illness or natural causes, the bereaved' s feelings may be less complicated than when the death is by suicide. When a death is by suicide, you might both mourn the person's passing while also hold intense feelings about the circumstances of their death. Feelings such as anger, abandonment, and rejection can all occur after a suicide as well as positive feelings about the deceased.

Needing to understand why

Understanding the circumstances of a death by suicide can sometimes lead us to asking "Why?" You may second guess actions, wish that you had noticed signs earlier, or wonder how you could have acted differently. This need to understand "why" is difficult as some questions may never be answered.

How do I tell others about my loss?

Think about what you are comfortable talking about, and what you may say if you are asked questions. You might choose to tell others that you aren't ready to talk. For example, “I can't talk about this right now. It's too painful.” If you are ready to tell others about the loss, you may still choose not to tell them all the details. In those situations, it is fine to say, “They died by suicide, but it is too hard for me to talk about what happened at this time.” Remember, when and how you talk to others about the suicide is completely your decision.

Many people have trouble discussing suicide, and might not reach out to you. This could make you feel like you need to hide the truth or suppress your grief. The stigma associated with suicide can be scary, but you are not alone, and finding those who you can talk with is important. Consider a support group for suicide loss survivors.


Counseling & support resources near campus

What to do when a friend or loved one is struggling

Practical information for immediately after a loss

How to talk to a suicide loss survivor: 10 helpful tips

If you or someone you know may be in immediate danger because of suicidal thoughts, call 911 or campus public safety at (503) 838-9000.

If you are not in immediate danger, but need someone to talk to, please use one of the national suicide prevention lines.


Text HOME to 741-741

If you want to talk to someone in person, you can go to one of the following drop-in clinics. Individuals in crisis are seen immediately.

Student Health & Counseling Center

Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

(503) 838-8396

345 Monmouth Ave N. Monmouth

(across from the library)

Psychiatric Crisis Center

Open 24/7

1 (888) 232-7192

1118 Oak St SE. Salem

Polk County Behavioral Health

Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

(503) 623-9289

1310 Main St E. Monmouth

see more locations