Helping Survivors After Suicide: The Funeral Director's Role


Besides common feelings of loss and sadness, death by suicide leaves survivors with emotions that can extend the grieving period far longer than what is standard. Confusion, anger, guilt, and even shame-emotions that rarely accompany other forms of death-are just some of the painful emotions facing those grieving a suicide loss.

Funeral directors have long played an important role in consoling those who are grieving a loved one's death, a role that becomes even more important when the cause of death is suicide. Understanding the emotions that are unique to suicide death, and knowing how best to respond to them in a compassionate manner, is essential when interacting with customers who are confronting a loved one's suicide. Helping the funeral director better understand these issues is the purpose of this course.

Learning Objectives

Upon conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • understand the true scale of suicide deaths in the United States and some of the causes
  • describe the emotions that are unique to survivors facing suicide deaths and understand how they exacerbate the grieving process
  • utilize proper ways to address the fact of a suicide and respond to common questions and statements the survivor may express
  • recommend ways survivors may come to terms with the powerful emotions they are experiencing
  • understand that empathic listening, always important in the funeral director's role, is even more important with survivors of a suicide death
  • recommend support resources where survivors may seek additional assistance dealing with a loved one's suicide

Designed For

All members of the funeral services industry who work with the surviving family and friends of someone who died by suicide

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