man in support group

Bereaved by suicide

Guidance for people who have lost someone to suicide

Deaths by suicide are often more sudden and unexpected than other types of death, causing friends and family to experience different emotions whilst grieving. You may feel angry, guilty or ashamed, especially if you feel like you could have done more to support the person.

These are all natural feelings if you have been bereaved by suicide. You are not alone, there is help available to support you through your grief.

Coping with your grief

The emotions experienced after bereavement by suicide can differ considerably from other types of death, leaving those closest to that person feeling shocked, unstable and struggling to cope.

Everyone deals with their grief differently, there’s no right or wrong way to feel. You may be feeling guilty, angry or even ashamed. These feelings are a natural part of grieving. Emotions after being bereaved by a suicide can feel heightened, as we may think that there was something more we could have done to support the person.

If you feel like the world is crumbling around you, the following activities can help you to cope.

Talk about your feelings

By talking through your emotions with a family member or friend that you trust, you’re opening the door to support, love and care, with a light at the end of what might seem like a very dark tunnel.

Do things that you like

Finding happiness may seem impossible but engaging in activities that you used to enjoy can help ease your stress, and may also introduce you to others who are on a similar journey to you.

Take care of yourself

Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and taking care of yourself more generally can help you feel better about yourself. Care and compassion for yourself is important. 

Enjoy the outdoors

Connecting with nature or doing exercise can help clear your head and keep you in touch with the world around you.

Reaching out and admitting “I’m not OK” is hard, and you may feel vulnerable or anxious. If you don’t want to reach out to somebody that you know, there is still help available to you. Our support section will help you to find organisations which can help.

You can do something positive

Dealing with your bereavement may feel complicated and overwhelming. Your journey is your own, with emotions and feelings that are personal to you, but you’re not alone. Every year deaths by suicide can leave thousands of families and friends searching for answers.

Organisations like Samaritans, PAPYRUS and The Kaleidoscope Plus Group welcome support from those who are willing to share their personal experiences of suicide to help others.