Grief, Loss and Suicide

What are grief and loss?

Grief and loss refer to the emotions, thoughts, and feelings people experience when they lose someone or something that’s important to them, such as:

  • A loved one
  • A pet
  • A job
  • Social status
  • A lifestyle

The feelings associated with grief and loss are the body’s normal responses as it adjusts to a distressing event. But they can become problematic if the intensity and duration of grief prevent a person from resuming activities that are important to them.

How to deal with grief and loss

There is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. It’s normal to feel both negative and positive emotions when you lose someone or something that’s important to you.


Emotions caused by grief can last for months or even years. They usually come in waves, with feelings of sadness, joy, anger, and calm often mixed together in the same day.

In some cases, grief can become complicated and lead to mental health issues.

How to recognize when grief becomes complicated

  • Constantly feeling sad, empty, or hopeless
  • Feeling terrible, even in the presence of someone or something that was previously helpful
  • Feeling guilty
  • Losing self-esteem
  • Having suicidal thoughts

Are you grieving and having suicidal thoughts?

People who are grieving or have experienced loss may have suicidal thoughts. If this is the case for you, consult the following sections:

01 Taking stock of your mental health

The first step toward taking back control is identifying what’s causing your suicidal thoughts.

02 Taking care of yourself

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and regain your balance when you’re having suicidal thoughts.

03 Talking about it with your loved ones

Asking for help from your family and friends isn’t always easy. There are different ways of going about it.

04 Finding support services

Every day, all sorts of people contact support services to get the help they need.

What to do if you’re grieving or experiencing loss

It’s possible to deal with grief and loss. If you’re experiencing grief or loss, support services may be helpful. First call Info-Social at 811, option 2, to discuss your situation with a psychosocial worker and be referred, if necessary, to resources in your area that can provide support.

For an assessment and follow-up with a healthcare professional, consult a general practitioner (your family doctor, for example), a psychologist or contact your local CLSC.

Other resources can help people experiencing grief or loss.

Advice for people experiencing grief or loss

What I'm going through...