Helping Someone Else
Supporting someone who’s bereaved by suicide can be very challenging. It is normal to feel like you don’t know do to say or do in such a devastating situation. But being there and being supportive is invaluable to someone going through the grief process after suicide.
What to expect
Look out for
Sometimes a grieving person needs professional help because their grief is affecting their own wellbeing. Here are some of the warning signs that some needs professional support:
Depression or anxiety – due to the intensity of grief
Suicidal thoughts – because of guilt
Taking more risks – as they don’t see the point in life or care about their wellbeing
Excessive use of alcohol and using drugs – this is done to try and blot out the pain
If are unsure, it is safer to seek a professional opinion. They may refuse to seek help because of various reasons but don’t try to force them – this can do more harm than good.
How to help
There are many ways in which you can support people who have been bereaved and what help is required completely depends on the person and their response to the bereavement. Following is a few ideas about ways you can support someone.
To support them emotionally it is helpful to encourage them to:
- Express their feelings and thoughts through talking or writing
- Make opportunities to remember and mark the life of their loved one through talking, looking at photos or creating a memorial
- Continue to do things they enjoyed
- Make sure they are looking after themselves
- Spend time outside
- Have contact with others who have been bereaved, possibly through support groups
- Make an ‘emotional first aid kit’ to help them deal with negative feelings
The bereaved can be overwhelmed with the practical tasks involved with dealing with a death so this is a key area of support. You could:
- Help them keep on top of maintenance such as cooking, shopping and cleaning
- Accompany them to appointments to do with the coroner’s investigation
- Support with arrangements for the funeral
- Help them keep on top of tasks like life insurance and registering the death
Don’t overwhelm yourself
It is okay to feel like you are doing things wrong or are not doing enough. There is no right way to help someone dealing with grief. It completely depends on the person and situation. Remember that you cannot take away their pain and it is not your fault if they are not coping. Make sure to look after yourself as well, so you are not over whelmed or under too much pressure. Seeking help from others is completely acceptable.
Written by Rebecca Clark