Losing a friend or family member to suicide is one of the hardest things to process. People bereaved by suicide can experience a huge range of intense emotions, from shock, disbelief, confusion and sadness to rejection, anger and frustration. Sometimes people feel ashamed or guilty, as if they should have ‘done something’ to prevent the death. But it’s really important to remember that the reasons for suicide are complicated, and nobody is to blame.
Another thing to remember is that there is support out there. You don’t have to cope with this on your own, or within your family.
Because suicide can stir up complicated emotions, some people find that support groups are particularly valuable. It can be helpful to talk to people who understand what you’re going through because they’ve been there too.
Here we guide you to organisations that can help. We also look at how you can talk to your children about what’s happened and help them get through it.
Getting help and support
- Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS) offer a safe environment to share your feelings and get practical support through their helpline, support groups and online community.
- The Support After Suicide website offers practical support and resources to help you cope.
- Cruse Scotland offers support through their helpline, online GriefChat support service, counselling and support groups.
- Winston’s Wish helps children, teenagers and young adults (up to the age of 25) deal with grief. They offer a helpline, support by email and online chat, counselling and support.
- AtaLoss has a directory you can use to find bereavement support in your local area.
Talking to your child about suicide
Having to tell a child that someone in your family has died is hard. But having to do this when someone has taken their own life can be even harder.
You know your child best, so it’s up to you to decide how much you want to tell them. But it’s best to be as truthful as you can, depending on their age. Here are some tips to help you.
Our page on coping with bereavement has more general advice for talking to children about a death in the family.