What to Tell the Children

Excerpt from the book, After Suicide: Help for the Bereaved by Sheila Clark.

Children may in some way feel themselves to be responsible for the suicide and need a great deal of reassurance and love. They usually know if the truth is withheld. They may learn facts from others and feel doubly rejected.

Children have the right to grieve, too. They need the opportunity to take part in all the formal ceremonies, even though they may not be appearing to take it all in.

Adults frequently worry about telling children and young people that a loved one has taken their life. They are concerned that this may appear to condone suicide as an acceptable way out of extreme difficultes. So the discussion needs to proceed further, with simple explanations that the loved one was sick and needed help but did not know how to ask.

Grasp this opportunity to discuss how and where your child or young adult could seek help if they were ever in need. Give simple straight forward information. Tell them, too, that you feel sad or angry. Make it clear that it is OK to talk about feelings. Give them lots of love and support.

Useful Numbers for Australian Kids

  • Lifeline 131 114
  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

Both have counsellors that are available 24 hours a day.

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