University of Rochester


There is a UCC professional on-call 24 hours per day, 7 days a week, for emergencies

UCC On-Call: (585) 275-3113

Life Line: (585) 275-5151

On Campus Security Emergency x13

On Campus Security Non-Emergency: 5-3333

Off-Campus Security: (585) 275-3333

Contact UCC

UCC Location & Hours

Appointments: (585) 275-3113

Fax Number: (585) 442-0815

Address:
Box 270356, 738 Library Road
UHS Building
Rochester, New York 14627

Please send questions about the technical structure/operation of this site to the UCC Web Master

Last modified: Tuesday, 08-Nov-2011 13:16:22 EST

University Counseling Center (UCC)

Survivors of Suicide

Survivors of suicide are the friends and families of people who commit suicide. It is estimated that there are at least six survivors for any one suicide. Grief from experiencing a loved one's suicide can be intense, shocking and painful. There is no one way to experience grief or recover from it. Some common reactions include:

angerguilt
anxietyshame
bitternessblame
confusiondepression
despairdetachment
feelings of distractiondisbelief
fearhelplessness
hopelessnessirritability
lonelinessloss of pleasure
numbnessbeing overwhelmed
preoccupationsadness
shockvulnerability

Survivors often struggle with understanding why the suicide occurred and feel guilty that they couldn't prevent it. Often survivors experience the stigma of suicide and feel shameful or embarrassed to reach out for support. It can be difficult for friends and family to know how to reach out to a survivor, especially because of misunderstandings about suicide and mental health. Support is valuable for survivors as they deal with their feelings. Talking about their feelings and loved ones can be useful and help survivors in their recovery.

Coping as a Survivor

Take care of your health. Continuing to eat well, get sufficient sleep, and otherwise take care of your body will help you have the energy you need to get through this time.

Give yourself time. You may feel somewhat slowed down and require time away from your normal activities. Make these allowances as needed.

Spend time with the memory of the person that has been lost. Allow yourself to think and talk about that person as much as you feel you need to.

Talk to others. You don't need to go through this time alone. Talk to those who you find are sensitive and supportive about your loss.

Seek out counseling if you find you do not have sufficient support. The University Counseling Center offers counseling services as well as a 24 hour, 7 day-a-week crisis on-call service. You can make an appointment during business hours or reach the on-call service at any time by calling 275-3113.

How to Help a Survivor

The most important thing you can do is listen - nonjudgmentally, supportively, compassionately. Not knowing what to say is fine, being there is more important. You may need to educate yourself about suicide in order to be present in a nonjudgmental way for the survivor.

Let the survivor talk when and how much they want to - don't try to force it out of them or encourage them to talk before they feel ready.

Use the person's name who died rather than just he or she.

Don't tell them how to act or what they 'should' be doing to manage their grief - everyone's experience is different.

Accept that their feelings may be intense and overwhelming. Get support for yourself if you need to.

If you have concerns about someone being suicidal, call x13 for Security in an emergency situation or 275-3113 for UCC for help.

Please also refer to our Depression and Suicide and Coping with Grief sections for more information.

Related Links

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Helpful Information