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  • Writer's pictureSusan Stubbings

At a Glance - Suicide A Process

Grief is a normal part of being a human being and feeling the loss of someone we love. Grief can be felt in several forms for example a 'normal grieving process', 'Disenfranchised', Complex or Compounded grief. We also grieve the loss of our Self due to trauma, illness or mental or physical.

My diagrams are my interpretations of the process of grief from what would be considered a 'normal' grieving process to a possible process of suicidal ideation and beyond!

Grief and a process of grieving
Grief - A normal to overwhelm and back into life

This diagram represents a normal grieving process through to a complicated grieving process! A person can cycle back and forth between the two until exiting back into life

This diagram depicts the process of someone who is unable to travel back around to the complex grieving process to a normal process and is travelling down the road to suicidal ideation.

The capacity to complete suicide has many facets; when a client presents at risk we work with the person by focusing on one part of the ‘whole risk’ to eliminate it. If we can eliminate one part of this cycle for example, the need to belong can be reintroduced through the therapeutic relationship, identifying healthy coping strategies and putting them in place, the need for purpose or meaning can be identified and affirmed or changing the plan to end life for a safety plan! The goal is to ‘break’ the cycle and therefore the risk of completing becomes weaker. The process of grief and loss and the process of completion of suicide run parallel if we can ‘catch’ the lack of belongingness, perceived burdensomeness, lack of meaning or purpose before or at the point of overwhelm it is more productive and breaks the cycle before all elements come together at crisis point. It would be futile to work with family history, illness, or relationship breakup for example, before strengthening self-efficacy, self-worth and supporting the client to find meaning and/or purpose! There are some elements which ‘can’t’ be eliminated no matter how one might try and eventually support the client to ‘accept’ and learn from i.e. history of self-harm/illness/family history of completed suicide etc.

If you are affected by suicidal thought or by someone else's suicidal ideation then please contact for professional and experienced support.

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