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Bereaved by suicide

There is no one right way to grieve. People experience different stages – feeling numb or a deep longing for the person who has died, which can be accompanied by distress, anger or confusion. Intense sadness might follow. The final phase of grieving is to let go of the person, not to forget them, and begin to move on with your life.

Bereavement of a suicide can bring additional feelings. Even when the person has made previous suicide attempts, been very depressed or self-harmed, their death is still a shock. Nothing can prepare you for this.

You‘ll want to know why someone you cared about took their own life. The emotions you feel can be powerful, frightening and overwhelming.

Regardless of the circumstances, you will probably need support, from friends or family, or maybe from another source, like a counsellor or support group.

A list of the support available in your local area is available here.

After a Suicide (external link)

After a Suicide from the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) is a booklet for people who haver been bereaved by suicide. It includes information on:

  • Pratical issues: such as registering the death and arranging the funeral
  • The grieving process: common reactions and feelings when grieving
  • Useful contacts and resources : bereavement, mental health ans practical support

The booklet now also includes some video commentary which explains some of the more difficult aspects of suicide bereavement that you may have to face.

How you can help support people bereaved by suicide  

Supporting People Bereaved by Suicide - A good practice guide for organisations that respond to suicide

This publication is for organisations whose staff includes those who have a specific duty to respond to a death by suicide as well as those who may be required to support people who are bereaved and / or affected by suicide. It seeks to provide a framework for intervention: to promote the training necessary to help staff become more effective in their role and to underline the importance of encouraging responders to use internal and external support to help manage the impact of exposure to suicide

More Questions than Answers - Supporting People Bereaved by Suicide

More Questions Than Answers was developed by Cruse Bereavement Care in collaboration with NHS Health Scotland and is based around interviews with people who have been bereaved by suicide.

This valuable training aims to increase participants understanding of the impact of suicide and the particular issues and difficulties which face people. It also aims to equip participants to be more confident and competent in supporting individuals who have been bereaved.

The course is a blended learning programme - consisting of an e-learning course - followed by a face to face workshop. There are three types of workshop availble, dependent on your role in supporting those who have been bereaved by suicide.

Media Volunteers

Those who have been affected by suicide can take part in the 'see me media campaign' for the promotion of suicide prevention and awareness in Scotland. Find out if the opportunity is right for you by emailing


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