Losing someone to suicide may leave you with lots of questions that are difficult or even impossible to answer.

You might feel a strong need to understand exactly what happened and why. This is normal, and is part of trying to take the experience in and make sense of it. 

Sometimes there are warning signs before a suicide death happens, for example, the person may have talked about wanting to die, or may have experienced suicidal thoughts, feelings or behaviours. Sometimes there may have been no clear warning signs and you may wonder what you missed. 

Suicidal thinking and behaviours are complex. It’s important to know a suicide death is no one’s fault. Suicide is never the result of one thing only, but rather a combination of different things are involved, such as feelings, actions, circumstances and sometimes unwellness. 

People who die by suicide may be trying to stop emotional pain inside themselves which is immense and as real as physical pain. They may not have wanted to die, but they may have been trying to stop unbearable feelings or pain. This may have stopped them connecting with support. Try not to judge the person who died.

If you’d like to know more, you may find it useful to read about recent research into suicide. Books which are evidence-based and highly-recommended by those who have lost loved ones to suicide include: 

  • ‘Why people die by suicide’ by Thomas E. Joiner 
  • ‘Myths about suicide’ by Thomas E. Joiner
  • ‘Night falls fast - understanding suicide’ by Kay Redfield Jamieson 
  • 'Why Suicide? Questions and Answers about Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know' by Eric Marcus, HarperOne, 2010 (revised edition)
  • 'When it is darkest: Why people die by suicide and what we can do to prevent it' by Rory O'Connor.