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Penhaligons Friends

Support after Suicide


Someone dying through suicide may be similar in some ways to other bereavements however there are many differences for those bereaved through suicide or suspected suicide.  Grieving may be more complex and difficult and come with some stronger, natural responses such as guilt, shame and confusion.  The road ahead for the bereaved can be challenging and the death can be a heavier burden to bear.

Even when the bereaved has shown signs of struggling with mental health difficulties and, in some cases, previous failed attempts of suicide, it can still be a huge shock and unexpected. For some who have witnessed the deceased suffer from overwhelming difficulties there may even feel a sense of relief mixed up in the tragedy of their death.

The impact the death has on a person may depend on the relationship they had with the deceased.

The reaction of children and young people may differ greatly and factors such as their age and developmental stage and their relationship with the deceased may have an impact on how they react.

The way children and young people handle a death through suicide will also be impacted by the care and support they receive.

For guidance on talking to your child about a death through suicide or suspected suicide please read our guidance below.

Explaining Suicide to Children v.docx



It is common for adults to want to protect children from the reality of death and particularly from a death of this nature. However, it is also common for children to overhear conversations or to be told from someone else or find out from the media. Children and young people who find out this way may be traumatised further and loose trust in the adults who care for them, this can have a lasting negative impact on family relationships.

Children and young people who discover the details of how the person died at a later date, may regress and their grief may become more distressing, with the child or young person feeling less able to share their feelings and experiences with the adults around them.

Children may feel abandoned by the person who died and can carry guilt for things that were not their fault such as feeling they weren’t a good enough reason for the person to keep living, or that they should have behaved better or loved them more, it may be that the child said mean things about them or to them.

It can be hard for children to unburden these difficult thoughts and feelings and they may need reassurance from adults that what happened was not their fault.

We have teamed up with colleagues at Outlook South West Suicide Liaison Service to make it easier for anyone bereaved through suicide or suspected suicide to get support promptly and without having to refer to both our service and them as the adult support service.

We hope this makes it easier for families to get a good package of support as quickly as possible.

Accepting help and support can feel difficult for many people.  We understand the complexities families face after a traumatic death, and together are able to offer information, practical support and guidance about the sorting out of personal affairs, as well as liaising with the Coroner’s Office, the Police, media or faith groups where necessary. Support is also available leading up to, and at the inquest. We can also offer advice and guidance to school’s and settings when they are supporting a bereaved child or young person.

The following publication is useful for anyone who has been impacted by a death through a suicide or suspected suicide.

Publication – Help is at Hand

For more information about Outlook South West Suicide Liaison Service take a look at their SLS leaflet








Contact us on 01209 210624 or email:


Contact Outlook South West Suicide Liaison Service on 01208 871905 or email:

Support is offered at no cost.

If you concerned about someone who may feel suicidal please read our guidance below.

When someone is suicidal

If you are feeling as though you may want to end your own life please talk to someone.

For adult crisis support click here

For child or young person crisis support click here

For further support, information and signposting please visit Cornwall Bereavement Network





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