What to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Grieving a Suicide

June 07, 2019
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The New York Times

To help support a survivor of suicide loss, experts offer the following guidance. Be physically and emotionally present, and create a safe space for them to share whatever they are experiencing. Remind them that they are not alone and not to blame for their loved one’s death. Honor their loved one’s memory by talking about the life they lived. Do not tell the survivor that you know how they feel or suggest that the grieving process has a timeline. Avoid judgmental language, such as saying that suicide is “selfish,” “sinful,” or “cowardly.” Instead, acknowledge the survivor’s pain and offer your support, recommended Debbie Posnien, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Network.

Spark Extra! Find resources for suicide loss survivors.

Populations:  Survivors of Suicide Loss
Strategies:  Postvention, Connectedness