Supporting others after suicide

How do I support others after suicide? What do I say? What do I do?

Source: Standby Support After Suicide. Download PDF of Ideas for Support.

 

Listen – I may have intense emotions that could include anger, sadness, fear and guilt. Be prepared for any or all reactions, you cannot take these away, but being there, listening and showing you care can be comforting

Share memories – don’t be afraid to talk about the person who died and what they meant to you. It is important for me.

Understand – the healing process takes time, it can take months or years to find a liveable place for my loss. Remembering birthdays and special days can be particularly difficult.

Be OK with silence – do not feel compelled to talk because you may feel uncomfortable. Don’t try and fix me, for now just sit with me

Remember – I may need assistance with accessing information, medical/psychological support or meeting other responsibilities. It may be useful for you to be my driver, make essential phone calls, or assist me in meeting my children’s needs

Practical support – offer practical support such as making a meal, doing shopping, gardening or washing

Nurture relationships – keep in touch regularly. There may be times when offers are refused but keep trying. If you don’t know what to say, be honest and say ‘ I don’t know what to say but I am here for you’. A note or text in between other contact with words such as I’m thinking or you or I miss them too lets me know I’m not alone

Language – the language you use should not judge the way my loved one died

Be kind – to yourself as you may also be affected by the loss and have your own grief to work through.