The suicide of a family member or friend often causes guilt, anger, abandonment, denial, helplessness, and shock. Not surprisingly, it is itself a risk factor for suicide.
Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, a psychiatrist and an expert on suicide, says there is evidence suicidal behavior spreads person to person through social networks, up to three “degrees of separation.” (In short, my decision to take my life would affect not just my friends’ risk…but even my friends’ friends’ friends’ risk.)
Physician-assisted suicide (PAS) especially traumatizes those who have watched it. A Swiss study of those who’d witnessed legal PAS found 20% had “severe mental health problems” 14-24 months later.