What can I do?

You can help simply by being with your friend, perhaps giving them a hug or going for a walk with them. One of the most important things is to listen. Let your friend talk when they are ready. Be patient and ready to hear the same story many times. 

Avoid giving advice on how your friend should be feeling or acting. People grieve in different ways. Some may prefer to shut themselves away and grieve in private, while others will welcome company and the chance to talk. If your friend doesn’t want to talk, respect this and don’t assume they are not grieving just because they don’t show it publicly. There is no ‘set time’ for grieving. Some people are able to go on with their lives relatively quickly, while others take longer. 

Don’t offer alcohol or drugs to help them cope with their grief. If medication is needed, this should be prescribed by your friend’s doctor. 

Bereaved children may need special care, especially if their parents are struggling with their own grief. It can be even harder for them if people ask how their parents are coping, or say things like “look after your mum”, without recognising that they need support themselves. 

If you find dealing with emotions difficult, you may prefer to offer practical support. This could be making meals, running errands, looking after children and helping with arrangements. Your friend may want you to go with them to view the body or go to the inquest. Don’t try to take over – let your friend do as much as they feel they can handle. They should be free to do the things they want to do, not what other people want them to do. 

You could offer to find out more about suicide and support agencies if your friend would like this. There may be a local support group for people bereaved by suicide. Some people will find it helpful to be with others who have had similar experiences, but not all bereaved people feel comfortable in a group, so let your friend make their own decision.