Dos and Donts

Document Sample
Dos and Donts Powered By Docstoc
					                      Do’s and Don’ts
when with people newly bereaved by suicide

1.   Let them tell the same story over and over again
      – without your comments about your own losses
2.   Listen, then listen some more –be comfortable with silence and tears
      - assure them by your warmth and interest that you care
3.   Like Vitamin „C‟, they need a little contact often / every day
4.   Rather than showing your shock at their comments or behaviour, assure
      them that their reactions are normal even if appearing to be bizarre
5.   Do look them in the eyes. Ask them, „What do you need now?‟ „Is there
      someone you‟d like to phone and have them come over now?‟
6.   Offer to dial phone numbers for them if they are unable to focus, but then
     hand the phone back if possible -some sense of control is important
7.   Give them a hope that there will come a time when they will laugh more
     than they cry - but it won‟t be for a while yet

8.   Always let them know that LIVING Beyond Suicide provides a volunteer
      to walk with them through the next few days & weeks + ask if you can
      phone 1300 76 11 93 for them – they‟ll meet others who have also been
      bereaved through suicide and this will help them a great deal

9.   Use the deceased name in conversation (if culturally okay)
10. Allow them to express their feelings especially anger, guilt and sadness
     without feeling like you need to minimise these feelings
11. Allow them extra time to manage ordinary tasks – take it all slowly
12. Encourage the bereaved to talk about the person‟s endearing qualities
13. Accept each person as unique and avoid comparing with other‟s losses
14. Ask them “Do you wanna go somewhere, grab a coffee and yak?”
15. As bereaved persons seldom call for help when they need a friend, make
     it your business to „find the time‟ and call on them.
16. Your presence, just being there, is so important…offer a hug or touch on
     an arm or shoulder when appropriate – this will bring more comfort than
     all the rehearsed remarks you could imagine
17. Offer to arrange a free Bereaved Through Suicide newsletter: 8332 8240
1.     Try to avoid the term „committed suicide‟ as it has the connotation of a
       criminal act (like committed a crime) and it would be more appropriate
       to say „he/she suicided‟ or „he took his own life‟
2.     Don‟t rush them to do anything as it‟s very hard to focus on anything
3.     Don‟t try to fix people; most people adapt to loss by ventilating their loss
       in an accepting and validating environment
4.     Don‟t ever say, „I know how you feel‟ – even if experiences are similar
5.     Don‟t panic if someone begins to sob uncontrollably and don‟t seek to
       cheer them up or calm them down prematurely – tears are often very
       healing!..and this is something worth crying about too!
6.     Don‟t show if you are shocked – just listen and allow silence (powerful!)
7.     Don‟t use clichés to try and make people feel better
8.     Don‟t impose „shoulds‟
9.     Don‟t use words such as „lost‟, „gone‟ or „passed on‟
10.    Don‟t use terminology such as „you‟ll get over it‟
11.    Don‟t use platitudes as they discount the loss
12.    Don‟t compare losses or the coping styles of others – they can only take
       in their own story at this stage
13.    Do not try to accelerate the process of bereavement. Be assured they
       are doing all they can to work through their grief & shock. Be patient
14.    Beware of inappropriate comments including „You have other children‟,
       „You must forget him‟, „You‟ll get married again‟, „It was God‟s will‟.
       Such comments can be very hurtful
15.    Don‟t ask them to „let me know if you need something‟ – just offer to do
       specific and practical things – like baby-sitting, make a meal, shopping,
       phoning around and fixing things

16.    Don‟t use the grieving person‟s story as an opportunity to tell your story
                    Adapted for use with permission from Compassionate Friends Victoria

                  Printed by Living Beyond Suicide 1300 76 11 93
               in memory of those who could no longer bear their own pain
       Contact LBS for free practical support in the hours and days after a suicide
Visit for other useful articles             Email:

Shared By:
Tags: Donts
Description: Dos and Donts