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Eva95
Casual Contributor

What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

TW: post mentions suicide

 

Hi,

There has been a death by suicide in the family. There are teenage kids and a spouse who are bereaved.

 

I know there is nothing I can do or say to make it better, but I would like to know if people have experience with this and what they have said and/or have had said to them - or what they wish someone would have said to them, in this situation. 

I don’t want to over insert myself but I do want them to know that I’m here and willing to offer support.

8 REPLIES 8

Re: What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

Hi @Eva95,

Welcome to the Forums. My name is FloatingFeather an I am one of the peer support workers at SANE. This is a safe and anonymous space with many kind people from a wide range of lived experiences.

I am really sorry to read about the passing of your family member by suicide. I can only imagine what the family is going through - I'm sure it would be an extremely confusing and distressing time for all those involved. It is understandable that people around the family would want to reach out and be supportive but are unsure how / when to do this. I think this is such a unique situation to each and every family that are impacted suicide. Some people take comfort from a lot of support from family and friends and some people like to keep to themselves. There really is no right or wrong when it comes to grief and we all respond to it differently.

I think it is great that you want to reach out and support the family. I also think it is lovely of you to reach out to others that may have gone through something similar to find out what may have worked well for them. Perhaps if you could reach out, let them know you are thinking of them and that you are there for them if they need you and then maybe check in with them (for example, via sms) once a week just to remind them you are there and thinking of them. I think that way you are letting them know you are there to support them if and when they need it. 

Sometimes when supporting someone going through a really traumatic experience just sitting with them and listening is all they need. Like you said there is nothing anyone can say that can make it better but just being there for them and letting them talk can be the one of the best things you can do.

I am attaching a link to an organisation called Standbysupport which is an Australian Government initiative which focuses on supporting anyone who has been bereaved or impacted by suicide at any stage in their life standbysupport. If / when you feel comfortable you may want to share this website with the family. 

Please reach out for support for yourself or anyone else that has been impacted by this to if you need it. This is not an easy thing for anyone to go through but there is support out there and I would really encourage anyone that needs it to seek it.

Warm wishes,

FloatingFeather

Re: What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

I appreciate this so much. Thank you for taking the time to say this. 

Re: What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

@Eva95, this is such a big thing to have happened to anyone. I think it's beautiful that you're thinking about the best way to support your family members. It's a really caring thing to do ❤️ 

I'll tag a few of our community guides to see if they've got some words of wisdom too @ShiningStar @NatureLover @Anastasia 

 

I also agree with everything @FloatingFeather has said! Some people may feel unexpected or confusing feelings when someone they love dies by suicide. Listening without judgement is really important

 

I thought I'd also share some additional resources on how to talk to young people about suicide too (even though they're designed for kids, they're useful for anyone)

Also, do you have your own supports or someone to talk to? I hope you can care for yourself during this time too 

Re: What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

Hi and welcome, @Eva95 
 
I'm very sorry for your loss 😞

 

I don't have lived experience of this, but I've done a lot of reading on this topic. It seems crucial to let the bereaved family know that it wasn't their fault that their loved one committed suicide. Especially the kids. 

 

It can seriously damage kids long-term to think that it was their fault. Which kids seem to naturally think. 😞

 

I hope that's helpful. 
 
A handy forum tip is if you type @ and then click on a name in the drop-down box, that person will get a notification and won't miss your reply.

Re: What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

Hi @Eva95 

 

I just wanted to reach out to offer you some support 💜

 

I’m so deeply sorry to hear that a member of your family recently died by suicide and my heart goes out to you all at such a painful and distressing time 💜

 

As I listened to this part of your story, I can really hear how you’re trying to find a way to achieve a balance between showing your loved ones that you’re available to support them and respecting their need for space and privacy.

 

As such, I just wanted to share some of the things that I’ve done to support people who have been bereaved by suicide, as well as a few of the things that I found helpful after a member of my extended family died by suicide a little over a year ago 💜

 

One of the things that I found worked really well, was asking people how I could support them. Through doing so, I was able to support people in a way that was meaningful for them and provide them with a sense of choice and control - which is something that we often lose when our loved ones die so suddenly 💜

 

However, that being said, there were also times when people didn’t know what support they needed and as such, offering specific suggestions in terms of how I may be able to support them worked well too 💜

 

I also found that creating a safe and supportive space where people could share what was happening for them without fear of judgement was also incredibly helpful, as people are often sitting with a multitude of conflicting thoughts and feelings.

 

Sometimes listening to people’s pain and distress can leave us feeling incredibly powerless and as such, it can be really tempting to try to ‘fix’ things. However in my experience, I’ve often found that just listening to people, without trying to solve anything can be incredibly valuable 💜

 

Although I had some really positive experiences of receiving support, I also had a few experiences that weren’t so helpful. For example, some of the people that I spoke with responded to me with platitudes such as ‘at least they’re not in pain anymore.’ Unfortunately, these sorts of phrases not only exacerbated my distress, but I also felt as though I was being ‘talked out of my feelings’ and dismissed. As such, I felt even more alone and isolated in my grief as I didn’t feel that I could talk about the things that I really needed to talk about.

 

As I sat here thinking about what you shared with us, I just wanted to take a moment to share some resources with you, in the hope that some of them may be helpful for you and your family 💜

 

The first resource that comes to mind for the younger members of your family is Kids Helpline.

 

Basically, Kids Helpline provides counselling and support to children and young people 5 to 25 years of age, in relation to any concerns that they may have 💜

 

They’re available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and children and young people can contact them on: 1800 55 1800. Alternatively, they can also reach out for support via email and webchat if this is something that feels a little bit more comfortable for them 💜

 

I’ve just shared the link to this particular organisation below, just in case this is something that they would like to explore further 💜

 

https://kidshelpline.com.au/

 

In addition to supporting children and young people, Kids Helpline also provides a wealth of information in relation to a wide variety of topics such as mental health issues, trauma and grief and loss.

 

With this in mind, one of the articles that I thought may be helpful for you is called ‘Supporting A Child After Suicide.’

 

I’ve just included the link to this particular article below, just in case this is something that you would like to take a look at 😊

 

https://kidshelpline.com.au/parents/issues/supporting-child-after-suicide

 

The first resource that I thought maybe helpful for you and some of the other adult members of your family is a service called the Suicide Call Back Service 💜

 

Basically, the Suicide Call Back Service offers free professional telephone and online counselling to support people who are at risk of suicide, concerned about someone who is at risk or bereaved by suicide.

 

They are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and you can contact them on:

1300 659 467.

 

I’ve just included the link to this particular service below, just in case you would like to explore this further:

 

https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/lost-someone-to-suicide/

 

The second resource that I thought may be helpful for you, is an organisation called Standby Support After Suicide 💜

 

Standby Support After Suicide are a national service and essentially they ‘stand by families, friends and associates impacted by suicide, providing respect, understanding and support for their health and well-being.’

 

Support is provided free of charge and the service is available regardless of when someone’s loss occurred.

 

I wasn’t too sure what state you live in, but if you click ‘find support’ you can select your state and find some details about the support co-ordinators in your area 💜

 

I’ve just provided the link to this particular service below, just in case you would like to explore this further:

 

https://standbysupport.com.au/what-we-do/

 

There’s also an organisation called Survivors of Suicide Bereavement Support Association (SOSBSA).

 

SOSBSA is a peer support group for people who are grieving the loss of a loved one through suicide. As such, they provide face to face support groups and an online support group through Facebook 💜

 

In addition to providing peer support, they also provide a variety of written resources which includes fact sheets, articles, newsletters and links to external websites.

 

I’ve just provided the link to this particular service below, just in case you would like to visit their website:

 

https://sosbsa.org.au/

 

The last resource that I thought may be helpful for you is an organisation called Roses in the Ocean 💜

 

Roses in the Ocean is an Australian organisation that focuses on lived experience of suicide and as such, one of the supports that they provide is a Peer Care Companion Warmline 💜

 

Basically, the ‘warmline call-back service which has been created by Roses in the Ocean to provide a safe place for people with a lived experience of suicide to connect with others with a similar lived experience of suicide.’

 

I’ve just shared the link to this particular resource below, just in case this is something that you feel would be helpful for you and your family 💜

 

https://rosesintheocean.com.au/what-we-do/non-clinical-peer-led-services/

 

Also, just while I remember, one of the things that really helped me when I was new to the forums and still finding my way around, was that if you would like to chat with another forum member, or reply to one of their posts, place @ in front of their username just like I did at the start of my post to you i.e. @Eva95 that way, they will receive a message that you have contacted them 😊

 

I hope that this helps you a little bit 💜

 

Please remember that you’re always welcome to reach out here whenever you need to 💜

 

Take kind and gentle care of yourself,

 

ShiningStar 💜

Re: What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

I completely agree and really appreciate you taking the time

to answer my post 🙂 thank you so much.

Re: What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

This is so informative and helpful. I’m astounded by the kindness of people

on this forum and the time they take to provide such thoughtful answers. Thank you so much! 

Re: What to say to bereaved kids and spouses of suicide?

@FloatingFeather  thank you so much for your response! I apologise as I thought I had posted a reply to this before but I cannot see my reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to provide this, thank you 🙂

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