Suicide: The Family Left Behind.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
1. Stay Close: families often feel stigmatized.
2. Avoid Hollow Reassurances: "Don't tell the family member that 'things will get better' because all they will think is that your not hearing them.
3. Don't Ask for An Explanation: Your role is simply to be supportive and listen to what they have to say about their loved one. It may be that they are searching for answers and do not have them in the first place.
4. Acknowledge Uncertainty: It's okay for you to say that you cannot imagine what they are going through but you are there for them.
5. Help with Practical things: Offer to run errands, pick up the kids, water the flowers. Ask what you can help with.
6. Be there for the long haul. If the family member needs to talk months down the road or years down the road, let them. Grief is not a time frame.
7. It's okay down the road to ask how a family member is doing. Remember anniversary dates are the hardest. Birthdays, Anniversaries, suicide date, etc. Send a card, let the family member know that you have not forgotten them in this journey.
No matter the circumstances behind the suicide, the family needs to know that someone cares enough to be with them through this journey.