Many people find comfort in reading about the experiences and thoughts of others. Our support groups often have a small selection of books that you can borrow, alternatively your local library may be able to obtain them for you if you don’t want to buy your own copies.
Listed below are books about suicide bereavement which you may find helpful, we have grouped them under broad headings:
A Special Scar: The Experiences of People Bereaved by Suicide – Alison Wertheimer
A Special Scar looks in detail at the stigma surrounding suicide and offers practical help for survivors, relatives and friends of people who have taken their own life. Fifty bereaved people tell their own stories, showing us that, by not hiding the truth from themselves and others, they have been able to learn to live with the suicide, offering hope to others facing this traumatic loss.
This new edition will continue to be an invaluable resource for survivors of suicide as well as for all those who are in contact with them, including police and coroner’s officers, bereavement services, self-help organisations for survivors, mental health professionals, social workers, GPs, counsellors and therapists.
Grief After Suicide – Understanding the Consequences and Caring for Survivors – John R Jordan and John L McIntosh
There are over 30,000 suicide deaths each year in the United States alone, and the numbers in other countries suggest that suicide as a cause of death will be around for the foreseeable future. A suicide leaves behind more victims than just the individual, as family, friends, co-workers, and the community can be impacted in many different and unique ways following a suicide. And yet there are very few professional resources that provide the necessary background, research, and tools to effectively work with the survivors of a suicide.
This edited volume addresses the need for an up-to-date, professionally-oriented summary of the clinical and research literature on the impact of suicide bereavement on survivors. It is geared towards mental health professionals, grief counselors, clergy, and others who work with survivors in a professional capacity. Topics covered include the impact of suicide on survivors, interventions to provide bereavement care for survivors, examples of promising support programs for survivors, and developing a research, clinical, and programmatic agenda for survivors over the next 5 years and beyond.
A Winding Road – A Handbook for Those Supporting the Bereaved – Michelle Linn-Gust and John Peters
The journey after the suicide of a loved one is winding, always changing. For the people who want to support the bereaved, or are asked to support the bereaved (professional or volunteer), it can be difficult to understand that winding road, especially because of the stigma that suicide has traditionally held with it.
A Winding Road discuss a myriad of issues around the topic from why suicide happens to helping children cope and how culture and religion take a role in how suicide and suicide grief are viewed. Mostly though the book offers hope that the people who are supporting the bereaved can help understand the winding road so that the bereaved don’t have to travel it alone.
Silent Grief – Living in the Wake of Suicide – Christopher Lukas and Henry M Seiden
“Silent Grief” is a book for and about “suicide survivors” – those who have been left behind by the suicide of a friend or loved one. Author Christopher Lukas is a suicide survivor himself – several members of his family have taken their own lives – and the book draws on his own experiences, as well as those of numerous other suicide survivors. These personal testimonies are combined with the professional expertise of Henry M. Seiden, a psychologist and psychoanalytic psychotherapist.
Coping with Suicide – Maggie Helen
There are over 6,000 suicides in the UK every year, in addition to 160,000 people who attempt suicide. Each suicide leaves an estimated five to eight people closely affected by the death, and nearly 50 percent of the population know someone who has self-harmed. This book is aimed at those whose loved ones have taken their lives and will also be useful for people working with the relatives and friends of those who have taken their life suicide.
Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide – Beverly Cobain & Jean Larch
A Voice for Those Bereaved by Suicide – Sarah McCarthy
After Sarah McCarthy’s husband committed suicide, leaving her with four children under ten, she was overwhelmed by loss, despair and anger. But in slow stages she began to live again, to accept the past and take joy in life. This is the story of a courageous journey in coming to terms with loss. A Voice for Those Bereaved by Suicide is an honest, moving and valuable book. Suicide has been denied and hidden for too long; Sarah McCarthy’s decision to tell her story provides a voice for all those bereaved in this tragic way.
Shades of Suicide: Open Verdict / Suicide Bereavement – Ann M Davies and Professor John Goodridge
For all those whose life has been torn apart by an open verdict or suicide bereavement. I have recorded my experiences and reflections in this book hoping they will give you light, hope and comfort as you walk this lonely shore. Reach out towards the horizon and to the future which, if you allow it, will bring joy and new life.
Surviving Suicide: Help to Heal Your Heart – Heather Hays
Days after her fiance’s suicide, award-winning journalist Heather Hays was back on television, hiding her pain from her viewers and herself. She is no longer hiding. In this book, Heather shares life-changing stories from people around the world who have also been left behind. Through them, you will learn lessons on love and loss to help guide you on your journey
No Time to Say Goodbye – Carla Fine
Suicide would appear to be the last taboo. Even incest is now discussed freely in popular media, but the suicide of a loved one is still an act most people are unable to talk about–or even admit to their closest family or friends. This is just one of the many painful and paralyzing truths author Carla Fine discovered when her husband, a successful young physician, took his own life in December 1989. And being unable to speak openly and honestly about the cause of her pain made it all the more difficult for her to survive.
The Scent of Dried Roses – Tim Lott
Tim Lott’s parents, Jack and Jean, met at the Empire Snooker Hall, Ealing, in 1951, in a world that to him now seems ‘as strange as China’. In this extraordinarily moving exploration of his parents’ lives, his mother’s inexplicable suicide in her late fifties and his own bouts of depression, Tim Lott conjures up the pebble-dashed home of his childhood and the rapidly changing landscape of postwar suburban England. It is a story of grief, loss and dislocation, yet also of the power of memory and the bonds of family love.
Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven: Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling -Michelle Linn-Gust
Michelle tells the difficult story of the loss of a sibling. As a sibling, the author wanted to take care of her parents and yet deal with the loss of a very close sister. The emotions that she bears in “Do They Have….” are a wonderful help in dealing with the close loss of your sibling.
Beyond the Rough Rock: Supporting a Child Who Has Been Bereaved Through Suicide – J A Stokes, D Stubbs and Heidi Baker (Winstons Wish)
Explaining to a child that someone has died by suicide is possibly one of the most difficult situations that a parent or carer might ever face. This booklet offers practical advice for families in the immediate days and weeks when suicide has been the cause of death. It is a useful booklet aimed at giving parents and professionals the confidence to involve children in discussions about the nature of a death by suicide. It is hoped that children may then begin to understand some of the complexities that often surround suicide. The booklet includes child-friendly activities for you to do as a family as you begin to make sense of what has happened and start to look at ways in which your family can learn to cope.
Rocky Roads – The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief – Michelle Linn Gust
The grief journey following a suicide loss is not a quick and easy path. Because people are unique, as are the life experiences of individuals, the road can open up in several ways for each person. No one travels the same way. In Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief, Michelle Linn-Gust, the author of Do They Have Bad Days in Heaven? Surviving the Suicide Loss of a Sibling, guides the family unit with a road map to navigate suicide grief as individuals and also as part of the family unit with the ultimate goal of strengthening the family even after a devastating suicide loss.
But I Didn’t Say Goodbye: Helping Children and Families After a Suicide – Barbara Rubel
But I Didn’t Say Goodbye is a book seen through the eyes of Alex, an eleven-year-old boy, whose father has died by suicide. This story is a glimpse into a child’s traumatic and life changing personal experience. But I Didn’t Say Goodbye introduces you to a bereaved family immediately after a suicide and ends five years later. The dialogue in each chapter will show you how you can help develop honest, open communication between children and the people in their lives.
Breaking the Silence – A Guide to Helping Children with Complicated Grief – Linda Goldman
The second edition of this bestselling book is designed for mental health professionals, educators, and the parent/caregiver, this book provides specific ideas and techniques to work with children in various areas of complicated grief. It presents words and methods to help initiate discussions of these delicate topics, as well as tools to help children understand and separate complicated grief into parts. These parts in turn can be grieved for and released one at a time
Red Chocolate Elephants: For Children Bereaved by Suicide – Diana C Sands PhD
This important publicaton (including a DVD) provides a sensitive and appropriate means of engaging with children around the difficult question of death through suicide. Red Chocolate Elephants will be a valuable tool for those supporting children in schools and other settings, and provides an important bridge into exploring this complex and confusing experience