So what can you do when a friend or loved one experiences a death by suicide? You can provide nonjudgmental support to help your friend or loved one navigate what will be a complicated and prolonged bereavement.
- Don’t stay away because you fear you’ll say the wrong thing. Instead, express your deepest condolences and share how sorry you are for the loss. If you knew the deceased, you can share what was so special about them and that you will miss them too.
- Don’t think suicide should be treated any differently than any other death. Treat suicide survivors the same way you would treat anyone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.
- Don’t use words and phrases to describe suicide in negative connotations. Avoid saying “committed suicide;” using the word “committed” implies a crime.
- Don’t use language that implies the person who died by suicide was to blame. It’s inappropriate to say “killed themselves,” “ended their life” or, “they took their life by their own choice.”
- Don’t ask questions. You can offer to listen confidentially, and leave it up to the bereaved to let you know if and when they’d like to talk.
Copyright Legacy.com Used with permission