What do I do with the suicide note?
Suicide prevention

What do I do with the suicide note?

On deciding whether to hold on to a suicide note, or let it go

Ranjitha Jeurkar

Ranjitha Jeurkar

Suicide notes can be confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes, the note may explain to the survivor(s) why they chose to end their lives. In other cases, the note may only contain an apology or requests to those left behind.

If you think holding on to the suicide note may bring you further pain, you could consider discarding it or letting go of it through a ritual that holds meaning for you. You can honor their memory through other keepsakes.

If the content of the note reminds you of the person, of who they were and what they mean to you, you could choose to keep the note.

If the person hasn’t left a note behind, try not to look for a meaning behind this. The act of leaving a note depends on the person’s frame of mind when they took their life. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they didn’t think of their loved ones, or that the relationships they shared with them weren’t meaningful for them.

“The act of suicide doesn’t have to define the entirety of the person, who they are, their value system and who you remember them to be.”

Shweta Srinivasan

This article is part of a series on Understanding and coping with a loss to suicide. Read the other articles in this series:

1. Why suicide grief can be complex

2. What does grief look like?

3. Self-care in the immediate aftermath

4. On the need to understand why

5. Where should you seek help?

6. Grieving together with family and friends

7. Breaking the news to others

This series has been compiled with inputs from Shweta Srinivasan, psychologist, The Mind Clan and former suicide bereavement support group manager at Sisters Living Works and Nyana Sabharwal, co-founder of We Hear You, a suicide support bereavement group.

White Swan Foundation