I Want to Help
Someone you know has lost someone to suicide and you want to help. These simple suggestions are what people grieving a suicide have told us helped them most:
- If you are the one who has lost someone to suicide, print out this page and share it with your friends and family. It will help them know what to do, and will save you from having to tell them how to help you. You don’t have to do all the work alone.
Reach out. Be there. Your very presence will be comforting and reassuring. Contact the bereaved person on a regular basis.
Follow the lead of the person who is grieving. Some survivors of suicide loss find it helpful to talk about the details of the death, share pictures of their loved one, cry, or express their intense emotions. Others prefer not to. Respect the timing and pacing of an individual’s grief process. It is a difficult journey. Encourage them to make choices that are right for them.
Listen with your full attention. Offer compassionate listening, understanding and patience.
Don’t be afraid to ask about their loved one or to say their loved one’s name. It hurts so much more when no one talks about the person they lost. Write down a story about their loved one, especially if you have a story they might not have heard. When you know they are ready, share it with them.
Research the impact of suicide loss. This will help you provide support to survivors in healthy ways. Find out what supports are available in the community regarding a suicide loss. Reassure survivors what they are feeling is normal.
Offer to help with specific tasks. Instead of saying, “I’m here if you need me” or “Tell me what I can do to help,” ask, “Can I help by…”
…picking your kids up from school?
…walking the dog?
…helping with the grocery shopping?
…helping with funeral arrangements?
…picking someone up at the airport?
…making phone calls?
…organizing your mail?
Be Courageous – Approach Those That Have Lost A Loved One By Suicide.
Let them know you heard. Ask them how they really are. This is important even if it has been some time since the actual death.