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When someone dies by suicide

Losing someone we love is a painful time. Losing someone to suicide can feel even more devastating, but you’re not alone.

Content Warning: this article contains information about mental health which may be distressing or triggering.

Teen girl sitting alone at home in the dark

Grief and loss after a suicide

Grief after a suicide can be particularly difficult and it can feel different to other types of losses.

It's important to know that there's no right or wrong way to grieve and that there is no set timeline. We all handle loss differently.

Unique challenges that families can face after a suicide can include:

  • Fear of judgement or stigma: Many families can find it difficult to be open about the way their loved one died. Working on accepting this yourself can help ease this fear.
  • Powerful and conflicting feelings: We can feel like we’re on an emotional rollercoaster – all feelings are natural and there are no wrong feelings.
  • Unanswered questions of why: Sometimes families do not know why their loved one chose to end their life and must work to find ways to accept this.
  • Complicated grief: Grief is usually something that ends naturally but a suicide may complicate the grieving process, causing it to last longer and feel more intense.

If you're feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope, it may be a good idea to seek counselling support.

What grief might feel like

Emotional highs and lows can be hard to sit with, but they are common and will usually lessen over time. Some of the feelings you may experience include:






Guilt and shame




Desire to escape

Intrusive thoughts



Suicidal thoughts

What can I do to get through this?

You may not be able to take the pain away, but there are things you can do to help yourself heal.

Start by trying these suggestions:

  • Be patient and kind with yourself – take it at your own pace
  • Take care of yourself mentally and physically – sticking to a routine can help
  • While it can be painful, try to identify and accept feelings that come up - express them through journaling, talking or sports
  • Take time to remember and celebrate the life of your loved one – look at old photos, light a candle in remembrance, visit a favourite spot
  • Let out unresolved questions or feelings by writing your loved one a letter – say all the things you want them to know
  • Let go of blame – no one is responsible for anyone else’s choices, seek counselling support if you need to

Where to get help

Grief is not something you have to deal with alone. Grief is something that everybody experiences and we can support each other through it.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and feel unable to cope:

Be open and honest with trusted friends
Talk to your parents, siblings or extended family
Let a trusted teacher or school counsellor know how you feel
Contact Kids Helpline and talk to a counsellor

"It's important to remember that you are not to blame for anyone's decisions, so try to let go of shame and blame."

- Belle, KHL Counsellor

Give us a call

If you're not sure where to start in getting support - we're here to help.

If you want to talk about what you’re going through, if you want help to understand how to cope, or want to know more about grief, give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email.

This content was last reviewed 17/12/2018

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