At home

The following suggestions may assist you at home.

Communication

  • be open and honest; use the words 'dead' or 'death'
  • be honest and open with children about the suicide. Use language the child understands and that you are comfortable with.
  • to avoid stigma use the word 'suicided' or ‘took their life’ rather than ‘committed suicide’. This avoids reference to a crime or sin.
  • answer facts in short simple sentences without unnecessary detail
  • validate for them that this can be a confusing time for adults as well as children
  • be available to listen and assist with any concerns your child may have
  • respect their views with non-judgmental responses.

Emotions and actions

  • give comfort, hugs and reassurance as needed by your child
  • stick to day to day routine and schedules as much as possible
  • reduce change to a minimum
  • take time to prepare them for any further change that may be approaching
  • allow your child to express all emotions in a safe way, such as encourage them to find healthy ways to vent anger, remind them that it is okay to cry; emotional storms usually only last a short time
  • make time for just being together, take time out, re-establish recreational activities and outings as soon as you can.

Grief education

These points may help you to support your child:

  • take time to talk with your child about the person's life, not only their death
  • teach your child the importance of making time to eat properly, exercise and rest
  • it is okay to have fun, encourage them to be kids, play, explore and laugh
  • re-involve the child in chores and responsibilities as soon as they are ready to cope with them again
  • reassure them about their short-term goals, let them know you are there to help them find ways to adjust to life without their loved one.

Crisis support

If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000. Other services include:

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