What to say and not to say

What to say

  • How are you feeling today?
  • I don’t know what to say…
  • This must be so hard for you…
  • I can’t imagine what you are going through, but I wanted to let you know that I’m here if you’d like to talk. I’m not sure what to say, but I’m here to listen
  • Recall a positive memory about the person who died
  • Is there anything I can do to help you?
  • I miss (name of the person who died)… how are you?
  • Can I take you anywhere that would help? (doctors, shopping, appointments etc)
  • Would you like to go for a walk together?

What not to say

  • Avoid using clichés such as “They are in a better place” “Time heals everything” “they are at peace now”
  • Avoid using phrases such as “It was God’s will” “Life goes on”
  • I know how you feel…
  • Avoid talking a lot about your own experiences, especially if they are not suicide bereavement
  • Avoid asking for details about the death itself, such as how the person died
  • Phrases that could be seen as judgemental, such as “they were selfish to do that” “they took an easy way out”