Children, Teens and Suicide Loss

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Children, Teens and Suicide Loss

Speak honestly and openly about the death. When faced with telling a child about a suicide death, be clear and honest. Use gentle yet plain and specific words to describe what happened. Simply let the child talk and try not to assume what the child may be thinking or feeling. Be open to different ways of grieving. Just as with adults, children express their feelings in their own ways. It may not look like what we’d expect; allow them freedom to feel their emotions. Offer choices. Death is an uncontrollable force, leaving people feeling powerless and out of control. When possible, find opportunities for grieving children to have input into decisions.

  • Provide outlets for self-expression – activities like drawing, writing or playing music. Offer resources for creative outlets, without dictating the expression.
  • Talk about and remember the person who died. Affirming the child’s memories and perceptions of the person who died will help keep conversation open, which in turn helps the child to continue processing their experience of grief.
  • Get extra help if needed. After some time, most children will return to normal routines and activities. But sometimes additional challenges arise, so don’t be afraid to seek further guidance.
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