Letting others know about the death of a loved one is never easy.

When it’s a death by suicide this can be especially difficult. It may be hard to handle reactions when you tell others. You may like to consider these suggestions:

  • Ask someone you trust to help you let others know
  • Make a list of who you most need to tell personally 
  • Be very clear about what details you want told
  • Use plain and simple language. A short explanation is okay
  • People who were very close with the deceased person should be notified in person or by phone call, never online. Make sure you make contact with all of the people who were closest to the person who has died before posting anything on social media
  • You might like to start the conversation by saying ‘I have some bad news to tell you’ – this helps prepare the person listening
  • Don’t use euphemisms like ‘They’ve passed on, or ‘they’re in a better place now’. This can confuse things. It’s best to tell the truth
  • When people receive traumatic news, they may only take in a small amount of information. Be prepared to repeat yourself and gently correct them if they misunderstand anything you may have said.

It's important to inform close family, whānau and friends as soon as possible to avoid the distress of these people finding out through social media. Ensure that your contact list covers as many people as possible.

When you break the news to others, you may have to deal with your own grief as well. Take time for you. You don’t need to answer any questions you don’t want to. It’s okay to say ‘I don’t know’.

If you're sharing memories or remembering someone who's died by suicide online, Chatsafe by Orygen has information to help you do this safely.