Phases of the Mourning Process; Disorganization and Despair

At this phase, the mourner starts to rethink their relationship to the deceased, and comes up with new ways to relate to what has transpired. This will play very heavily on the mourner’s own sense of personal identity. This part of the process can take many forms.

The mourner may start to question him/herself as a person. The mourner may take on some of the departed’s personality traits. The mourner may feel increasing guilt over the suicide. The mourner may even feel guilty about being relieved over the death – dealing with someone threatening suicide can be challenging to say the least. A loss of self-esteem among the living is often the result of this phase.

Moreover, all those connected with the suicide in the intense final stretch before the death itself may well experience an existential crisis. You as a counselor may ask yourself: What is life all about? Is it all worth it? What’s the point? Mourners can go through the same thing. This line of thinking breeds suicidal ideation.

Book excerpt from Quebec Suicide Prevention Handbook (2014), Éditions TNT

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