Bereavement due to suicide

Messages to others who have been bereaved

People offered many different types of advice based on their experiences of having been bereaved by suicide. They also stressed that people are all different and what works for one person may not work for someone else. Here are some of their suggestions'

Don’t blame yourself

  • Don't blame yourself
  • Remember that you are not responsible for the death
  • Don’t think that the person who died didn’t love you.
Find help and support for yourself
  • Reach out for help from other people, such as friends and family
  • Feel open to getting professional help, perhaps from a counsellor
  • Look for others who have had a similar experience
  • Read books or stories about others who have been bereaved
  • Join a support group such as Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide, or Compassionate Friends
  • Be aware of the Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide helpline

Mourn at your own pace and in a way which is right for you

  • Seeing other people can help but don’t feel you have to join in social activities before you are ready
  • Try not to lock yourself away
  • Listen to yourself
  • Not everyone is the same- all emotions are valid
  • Allow yourself to be angry or sad or even laugh if you want to
  • Talk about the person you lost
  • Don’t talk to the same friends over and over again about your loss
  • Remember the good times
Practical matters and ways of coping (also see ‘Coping with grief and keeping memories alive’)
  • Don’t do anything drastic, such as moving house, for the first 12 months
  • If you feel you need time take time off work
  • Go back to work if that keeps your mind off sad thoughts
  • Tell people at work that you might need time away from work from time to time
  • Have a purpose in life
  • Develop hobbies and other interests
  • Things do become easier with time
  • You’ll be alright
  • Mourn the dead but cherish the living”
  • You are not alone in your grief
  • Bad things can have good consequences”
Caring for children when you have lost a partner or another child
  • Tell the truth – your children need to trust you
  • You will find the words to tell your children what has happened
  • Talk to your children about what has happened when the time is right
  • Find help and support for your children
  • Make a memory box
  • Find good childcare if you are on your own and need to work
  • Get some routines in place for the children
  • Don’t push yourself or your children
  • If you have lost a child make sure your other children know that they are special
Advice for friends and others who want to help
  • Let people grieve at their own speed - don’t try to hurry them
  • Offer help with practical tasks such as looking after children, shopping or housework

Last reviewed July 2017.


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