Support for Those Bereaved by Suicide

Support for Adults

BBC News discussion – on the Impact of Suicide Report Nov 2020

Listen to Dr. Sharon McDonnell, Managing Director of Suicide Bereavement UK and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester and Shirley Smith Founder of If U Care Share Foundation and member of Support After Suicide Partnership were interviewed by BBC News about the launch of the report, entitled ‘’From Grief to Hope: The Collective Voice of Those Bereaved or Affected by Suicide in the UK (18th November, 2020)”.

A heart moving, open conversation which draws on their personal and professional experiences of being bereaved by suicide.

Dr Sharon McDonnell & Shirley Smith – BBC Interview – YouTube

Suicide Bereavement UK –

Suicide Bereavement UK’s website has been designed so that it is relevant to various audiences, examples include:

  • Those bereaved or affected by suicide trying to identify support and key resources

  • Professionals who come into contact with those bereaved by suicide

  • Those responsible for developing or commissioning a postvention service

  • Those who wish to attend evidence-based suicide bereavement training

  • Employers who are seeking bespoke crisis consultation when affected by suicide

  • Academics

If you have been bereaved by suicide you will find their key resources section offers a whole array of fundamental support and advice from articles to finding local organisations to support you.

Immediate Support Resources – Suicide Bereavement UK Key Resources

If U Care Share Foundation

Although this is not a local organisation and support is only available in the north of the country they have produced a comprehensive guide which can be downloaded for free of charge the20road20ahead.pdf ( It tackles subjects like shock, why?, anger, mixed emotions, practical advice, what do you say to children, when you do things for the first time…

They also have personal stories section and invite you to share yours.

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SOBS)  – Overcoming the isolation of people bereaved by suicide –

SOBS exists to meet the needs and overcome the isolation experienced by people over 18 who have been bereaved by suicide. They have a great section full of resources for survivors. Many people find reading about the experiences of others helps them feel less alone, to understand more about what is happening and be aware of what help is available.  In this section you will find a selection of resources about bereavement.

They also run monthly support groups across the county of Hampshire;

Supporting Children and Young People


Winston’s Wish – giving hope to grieving children

The death of someone important can cause great pain and sadness, whatever the cause of death. However, families bereaved by and dealing with loss from suicide may also have to face agonising questions, intrusive public scrutiny and cope with extra emotions such as guilt, shame and self-blame. They have information and guidance on how to support and talk to children about suicide and coping with grief.


Child Bereavement UK (CBUK) –

It may not be clear that the person has died by suicide, or the official cause may be given as something else, such as an accident or an open verdict. In this sheet, we use the term ‘bereavement by suicide’, but many of the same issues and feelings may apply when the cause of death is not clear, but it may have been suicide:

This information covers ideas for what to tell children and young people, how they might feel and respond, and what might help to support them:

A short film where 2 families supported by Child Bereavement UK after being bereaved by suicide. This short film was published to raise awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day:

Resources and further reading:

Support for Professionals

Samaritans – Step by Step | Samaritans

Nobody likes to think about a death in school. Yet suicide is a leading cause of death for young people in the UK. Samaritans runs a service called Step by Step which aims to:

  • Provide information and support to help the school community come to terms with what has happened and prevent stigma and isolation in the school community;

  • Support school communities to reduce the risk of further suicide;

  • Reach out to high risk people and communities to reduce the risk of further suicide

Their resources and guidelines for schools are particularly useful and include a step by step guide, how to respond to a suspected suicide, breaking the news, handling the media…

Samaritans – Step by Step Resources

  •  Luna’s Red Hat: An Illustrated Storybook to Help Children Cope with Loss and Suicide by Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers. It is a beautiful spring day, and Luna is having a picnic in the park with her family, wearing her Mum’s red hat. Luna’s Mum died one year ago and she still finds it difficult to understand why. She feels that it may have been her fault and worries that her Dad might leave her in the same way. Her Dad talks to her to explain what happened and together they think about all the happy memories they have of Mum. This beautifully-illustrated storybook is designed as a tool to be read with children aged 6+ who have experienced the loss of a loved one by suicide. Suicide always causes shock, not just for the family members but for everyone around them, and children also have to deal with these feelings.             

  • After a Suicide Death – The Dougy Centre – ‘In this hands-on, interactive activity book, children who have been exposed to a suicide death can learn from other grieving kids. The activity book includes drawing activities, puzzles, stories, advice from other kids and helpful suggestions for how to navigate the grief process after a suicide death.’                                                          After a Suicide Death: An Activity Book for Grieving Kids Item #551 (

  • Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes – Sherman Smith saw the most terrible thing happen. At first he tried to forget about it, but soon something inside him started to bother him. He felt nervous for no reason. Sometimes his stomach hurt. He had bad dreams. And he started to feel angry and do mean things, which got him in trouble. Then he met Ms. Maple, who helped him talk about the terrible thing that he had tried to forget. Now Sherman is feeling much better. This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire.

  • Beyond the Rough Rock – Winston’s Wish – This booklet offers practical advice for families in the immediate days and weeks when suicide has been the cause of death.  The booklet includes child-friendly activities for you to do as a family as you begin to make sense of what has happened and start to look at ways in which your family can learn to cope.

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