Talking about Suicide Grief with Family and Friends

Talking about suicide grief can be very helpful. Your family and friends can help you take care of yourself and feel less alone and give you a fresh perspective on the situation. But it’s not always easy to approach them for support.

You may feel unable to talk about the situation because you’re too upset, because you’re worried about the impact it could have on your relationship with your loved ones, or you may not like the way they react when you confide in them.

There’s no shame is losing someone to suicide

People dealing with suicide grief may feel responsible for the death of their loved one, withdraw into themselves, or have the impression they don’t deserve help. But no one is to blame. We sometimes feel the need to identify a culprit, but no one can be held responsible for a death by suicide.


You aren’t responsible for your loved one’s suicide

People who decide to take their own lives are dealing with a series of problems and difficulties. It’s important to remember that you did the best you could with the information you had at the time, and that things beyond your control contributed to the person’s suffering.

You can’t tell in advance how others will react

Fear of your family’s and friends’ reactions may prevent you from talking about it. For example, you may be afraid:

  • your loved ones will find you a burden or take pity on you
  • of creating an uncomfortable situation
  • of being judged because you’re feeling better

But you can’t know in advance how your family and friends will react.


Communicating your needs

Your loved ones may be afraid to get in touch. They may not know how to help, not know how to talk about it, think you want to be alone, or be afraid of doing more harm than good.

That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to share your needs and tell them what kind of support they could provide.

Tips on talking about suicide grief with loved ones

There’s no right or wrong way to talk about suicide grief with loved ones.

For example:

  • You can talk about what you find difficult, any questions you may have, or the moments when you feel better.
  • You may feel the need to be with other people without having to talk, or to reflect silently with loved ones. Everyone grieves at their own pace, and there’s no need to say everything right away.
  • You may need to talk about the same things repeatedly.

All of this is normal. Everyone has different needs when grieving a death by suicide. It’s important to pay attention to your needs and share them with your loved ones.

What to do when reaction from family or friends is unhelpful

Some family members and friends may have inappropriate reactions. For example, it can be hurtful if a loved one makes you feel guilty, asks for too many details about the death, shows pity, avoids the subject, or withdraws. 

Que faire lorsque la réaction de l’entourage n’est pas aidante

Sometimes family members and friends may retreat after having been very present in the weeks or months following the death.

It can be very useful to turn to other people when this happens. Sometimes support can come from unexpected sources.

Suicide grief support groups

Joining a suicide grief support group may be an option for talking to other people about your grief.

Professional help

If you don’t know how to broach the subject with family or friends or you feel like they’re not giving you the support you need, professional help can be considered. Here are some options:

Call Quebec’s suicide prevention hotline (24/7) to get support:


Chat or text with one of our counsellors.
Contact the suicide prevention centre in your region to find out about the services offered to people grieving a loss by suicide.

Call the listening line offered by Tel-Écoute for bereaved people (available every day between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.):


Call Info-Social :

811 (option 2)