Have you lost a loved one to suicide? We are so sorry for your loss, but glad that you have reached out for help coping with suicide. 

Suicide is complicated, but from research we know a lot about it.

More than 90% of people who take their own lives have an underlying mental disorder at the time of their death. Many times, that disorder was never identified.

The disorders most often associated with suicide are depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Substance abuse, either on its own or in combination with another mental disorder, can also be a factor when someone takes their own life.

These disorders can cause terrible suffering. They can affect a person’s ability to think clearly and to make decisions. They can interfere with seeking help, continuing treatment, or taking prescribed medicines.

An underlying mental disorder alone is not usually enough. Most people who kill themselves experienced a combination of deep psychological pain, desperate hopelessness, and challenging life events.

We know that suicide is the tragic outcome of a serious underlying illness combined with a complicated mix of individual circumstances. It is not a sign of moral weakness. It does not reveal a character flaw. It is not a sign of irresponsibility, or a hostile act. It should not be a source of shame. Reading this paragraph over and over again until it sinks in can help you to make sense of the suicide loss and begin your healing journey.

If you’ve lost someone to suicide, you may feel alone, shocked, responsible, angry, abandoned, ashamed, guilty, or relieved. Don’t worry. It is normal to have some, all, or none of these feelings as you cope with suicide loss.

  • If you are in crisis please contact one of the crisis helplines .

  • If you would like an Outreach Visit from trained local volunteers with suicide loss, who will listen and offer reassurance, as well as resources; please contact Jim McAleer at clachtara@aol.com, 413-734-3676 to schedule a visit in Western Massachusetts. You may choose to meet in person, by telephone, or by email.

  • If you would like meet others left behind by suicide loss there are Support Groups and Programs available. Go to our Local Suicide Loss Resources Page or download our Local Suicide Loss Resources PDF Document.

  • If you would like to learn more about suicide and helpful survivor resources including a national directory of support groups, visit www.afsp.org

  • If you would like to search a bibliography to learn more about suicide and the grief you are facing, please link here www.afsp.org/coping-with-suicide-loss/resources/book-and-film-resources/books-for-survivors

  • If you would like to participate in a Walk to bring suicide "Out of the Darkness", please visit www.afsp.donordrive.com

  • If you would like to learn more about the International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day when survivors gather at local events to share stories of healing and hope, visit www.survivorday.org You can also watch past documentaries and contribute to a Digital Memory Quilt.

  • If you feel ready and would like to learn more about suicide prevention efforts in our region and across the state, then click here to add your email address to our member list of the Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention.

  • If you would like to subscribe to a local email newsletter for Berkshire County, that connects with local survivors of suicide loss - please fill out this form:


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The Memory Quilts

AFSP's Memory Quilt Program was founded by the late Sandy Martin in 1995 following the loss of her son, Tony, to suicide.

Lifekeeper Memory Quilt

Sandy developed the original Lifekeeper Memory Quilt Program as a way to "put a face on suicide." Loss survivors create individual memorial squares, which are assembled into traditional quilts that are displayed at public events. Click here to learn more.

Digital Memory Quilt

The online quilt allows suicide loss survivors everywhere to share stories about their loved ones using video, audio, photos, and words—stories that serve as squares in our virtual quilt. Click here to learn more. 

If you are in Crisis ~ If you need Help:

Are you thinking about suicide?   THERE IS HELP. These helplines below are available 24/7, even if you are worried about someone else and need to talk about it.

  • Is This A Emergency?
    Call 911

  • Suicide Prevention Hotline:
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)

  • Samaritan Helpline
    877-870-HOPE (4673)

  • Text a Crisis Counselor:

  • Veterans Crisis Line
    1-800-273-8255 - Press 1
    OR Text to 838255

  • Berkshire County Crisis Team

  • Go to your local Hospital emergency room

Please Contact Us  if our resource page does not provide all the info you need.

Suicide is less about death and more about the need to overcome unbearable psychological pain.
— MA Strategic Plan for Suicide Prevention