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How can you help?

Losing a loved one to suicide can leave family and friends feeling alone and isolated due to the social stigma. The grief is complicated and challenging, so a strong social support network of friends, family and work colleagues can make a big difference;

If supporting a bereaved person, don’t be surprised by the intensity of their feelings; Intense feelings can come in waves, and when you least expect it. Know that each wave will subside. Accept that they may be struggling with conflicting emotions: including guilt, fear, blame, anger, regret and shame. Just sitting with them quietly listening and offering a safe space to talk with no judgment is probably the most important thing you can do.

Bereaved people need compassion, empathy, reassurance, recognition of what has happened, and validation of their feelings.


Many grieving people will find it difficult to ask for help, here are some ways you can offer support.

  1. Practical Support
  • Offer to notify people of the death
  • Help with tasks and chores e.g. look after kids, cook meals, do the washing, shopping
  • Organise the funeral e.g. do a guest lists, organise invitations, venue for the wake
  • Financial considerations e.g. funeral payment, any bills that are due
  1. Emotional support
  • Allow people to grieve in the way that is most natural and comfortable for them – there is no “right way” to grieve.
  • Contact the person when you hear of the death.
  • Let them know you’re sorry for their loss or send a card or flowers. If you don’t know what to say, you can just write ‘thinking of you’.
    Maintain contact personally or by telephone, text, notes, cards.
    Keep visits short unless you sense they might like you to stay longer.
  • Invite them to talk about the person who has died, mention the person’s name, ask to see photos, share stories.
  • Accept their behaviour – crying, being quiet, laughing. Allow expressions of anger, guilt and blame.
  • Be patient. People may need to tell their story repeatedly, without interruption or judgment. This helps them to come to terms with, and make sense of, what has happened.
  • Please include children and young people in the grieving process and be aware that they need support.
  • Be aware of and acknowledge special times that might be significant and particularly difficult, such as Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays.

For more information visit the Lifeline Australia website or contact your nearest local Lifeline centre, which offer Bereavement Support Groups that meet regularly.

Click on the link to learn more about how to manage the loss of someone to suicide.

Want to talk to someone? 13 11 14 our crisis support line is available 24/7.

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