List of Practical Guides for Those Impacted by Suicide

After Suicide Loss: Coping with Your Grief
Jack Jordan, Ph.D., and Bob Baugher, Ph.D., Caring People Press, 2016 (2nd edition).

This excellent handbook is organized chronologically to follow the days, weeks, and months after a suicide loss. It includes straightforward information about psychiatric disorders, when to seek professional help, and practical strategies for coping and healing.

Black Suicide: The Tragic Reality of America’s Deadliest Secret
Alton R. Kirk, Ph.D., Beckham Publications Group, 2009.

A brief exploration of suicide in the African American community, including a chapter dedicated to first-person accounts of black survivors of suicide loss.

Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide
Beverly Cobain and Jean Larch, Hazelden Foundation, 2006.

Co-authored by a crisis intervention specialist and a cousin of Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the band Nirvana who took his life in 1994, this book combines personal accounts from loss survivors with practical guidance for coping with suicide loss.

The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide
Brandy Lidbeck, Gift Pub, 2016.

The Gift of Second by therapist and suicide loss survivor Lidbeck offers hope and advice to guide survivors through the desperate time after a suicide loss.  Wise and compassionate, this valuable book explores the nature of grief and trauma, helps loss survivors let go of their burden of guilt and shame, and sets them on a healthy path to healing.

Healing after the Suicide of a Loved One
Ann Smolin and John Guinan, Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Many survivors struggle with the questions “why?” and “what if?”  This book shares case studies and offers advice to help survivors begin to heal.

Lay My Burden Down: Unraveling Suicide and the Mental Health Crisis Among African-Americans
Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., and Amy Alexander, Beacon Press, 2001.

One of only a few books addressing suicide and mental health problems within the African American community.

Reaching Out after Suicide: What’s Helpful and What’s Not
Linda H. Kilburn, M.S.W., 2008.
Available from KP Associates, LLC (

A clinical hospice social worker and survivor of her daughter’s suicide, Kilburn offers practical advice for well-meaning friends and family who want to reach out and be supportive after a suicide, but aren’t sure what to do or say.

Rocky Roads: The Journeys of Families through Suicide Grief
Michelle Linn-Gust, Ph.D., Chellehead Works, 2010.

Written by a survivor who lost a sibling, this guide explores the effects of suicide and grief on family relationships. Linn-Gust addresses the reasons some families work through their suicide loss and become stronger than before, while others struggle with coming back together as a family unit.

Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide
Christopher Lukas and Henry M. Seiden, Ph.D., Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2007 (revised edition).

As they explore common experiences of bereavement, grief reactions, and various ways of coping, the authors emphasize the importance of sharing one’s experience of “survival” with others. They encourage loss survivors to overcome the stigma or shame associated with suicide and to seek outside support.

Suicide of a Child
Adina Wrobleski, Centering Corp., 2002.

A basic guide for early bereavement after your child’s suicide that offers comforting, compassionate, easy-to-read observations and personal messages.

Suicide Survivors’ Handbook
Trudy Carlson, Benline Press, 2000 (expanded edition).

Providing specific suggestions and practical advice from other survivors, the author addresses the following questions: Why? What about shame and guilt? How long does the pain last? What helps? How do you deal with others?

Survivors of Suicide
Rita Robinson and Phyllis Hart, New Page Books, 2001.

A compilation of advice and loss survivor stories.

Touched by Suicide: Hope and Healing after Loss
Michael F. Myers, M.D., and Carla Fine, Gotham Books, 2006.

Co-authored by a psychiatrist and a loss survivor, this book offers detailed steps, practical suggestions, and compassionate advice on coping with all aspects of suicide.

Unfinished Conversation: Healing from Suicide and Loss — A Guided Journey
Robert E. Lesoine and Marilynne Chopel, Parallax Press, 2013.

Based on a journal Lesoine kept following the loss of his best friend, this book also offers tools and techniques which provide survivors with effective new means to face their own experience. After each brief chapter of the author’s story, revealing a particular stage or action in the aftermath of a suicide, readers are invited through a series of related questions to reflect on their own experiences and memories in order to facilitate a transformative healing process.

Voices of Healing and Hope: Conversations on Grief after Suicide
Iris Bolton, Bolton Press Atlanta, 2017.
Includes DVD of interviews.

Through an informal survey of family members impacted by suicide, Iris Bolton, author of My Son…My Son: A Guide to Healing after Death, Loss, or Suicide, identified eight issues that were among the most difficult for suicide loss survivors to cope with: why, guilt, shame, anger, pain, fear, depression, and faith. This poignant book includes the stories of more than twenty-five loss survivors as they relate to these challenges.

Why Suicide? Questions and Answers about Suicide, Suicide Prevention, and Coping with the Suicide of Someone You Know
Eric Marcus, HarperOne, 2010 (revised edition).

Eric Marcus, who lost both his father and sister-in-law to suicide, addresses the myriad questions with which loss survivors are inevitably left in the wake of a loved one’s suicide.  The Q&A format is accessible, informative, and reassuring.

The Wilderness of Suicide Grief: Finding Your Way
Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D. Companion Press, 2010.

Using the metaphor of grief as a wilderness, this guidebook, written by a grief counselor, offers ten wisdom teachings, including being open to the presence of loss, misconceptions about suicide and grief, and reaching out for help. The author also offers an expanded version titled Understanding Your Grief: Ten Touchstones of Finding Hope and Healing Your Heart, and the companion workbook, The Understanding Your Suicide Grief Journal.