Loss is a very personal experience, and it can differ significantly between people. How it’s felt can depend on someone’s relationship with the person who has died, and it often involves moving through a range of emotions.
There’s no ‘wrong’ way to feel
Losing someone by suicide sometimes brings with it complicated and contradictory feelings and thoughts. This can include questioning whether more could have been done to prevent their death. It can also involve a sense of guilt and/or anger at the person who has died, or at yourself or others who knew them. Some people might also become more worried or anxious about the wellbeing of other people around them.
There isn’t a ‘normal’ way to feel or behave following a death by suicide, and therefore different reactions are okay and common.
A specific guide is available to provide guidance and advice specifically to those who’ve lost someone to suicide. This provides information about grief and loss and the inquest process, and it gives specific advice for people who had close relationships to the person who died and for people of different faiths and cultures. It also contains information on how to support others who’ve been affected by a suicide.
If you think that you or someone else would benefit from extra help – e.g. if they’ve been withdrawn for a long time, or are feeling unable to talk about the person who died, making major life changes that seem unhelpful, drinking excessively, etc. – then there are a range of options provided on our ‘Sources of Support’ page that can be used to get that help.
Important note: if you’re thinking about suicide yourself – at any stage of the grief process – then talk to someone and seek support.
Grief comes in waves and is unpredictable – some days will be more difficult than others, and it’s important to grieve in your own way and at your own pace. If you feel like you (or someone else) need to talk to someone but don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend or family member, you could speak to someone via a helpline, support group or counselling. Here are some examples of specialist support services for loss by suicide.
- Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide offers support after someone has died by suicide. You can call 0300 111 5065 on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am–5pm.
- Cruse Bereavement Support offers face-to-face, online and telephone support for people who are grieving after a death.
- Meeting others bereaved by suicide can help some people to feel less isolated. Facing the Future is a support group for people who’ve lost someone through suicide.
- If you’re a child, or supporting a bereaved child, Winston’s Wish provides support and guidance to bereaved families, including children.
Supporting someone affected by suicide
If you’re supporting someone who’s been affected by a person they know dying by suicide, then it may be helpful to bear these points in mind:
- Ask, don’t assume – everyone is different, and what helps one person may be different for someone else. A good first step is often to ask what someone would like and not to assume.
- It can be hard to know what to say to someone who’s experienced a loss, including by suicide. Sometimes, people might feel that it’s better not to say the wrong thing, but this can feel isolating or lonely for someone who needs support. The Support After Suicide Partnership has a guide that might help you with Finding the Words to talk to someone.
- Check in – a sense of loss and grief can continue for a very long time, and continuing to check in with someone who’s coping after a death by suicide can provide a sense of connection and support.
- Support for them and you – if you think that you or someone else would benefit from extra help, support or just want to talk to someone, then you can access a range of support services and details are provided in the Sources of Support page via the button below.