Chapter 5: When death is from suicide

Supporting children

I check in with Martin every now and then. I ask how he's doing, if he'd like to talk, if anyone's upsetting him with questions or comments.

Just knowing that the school social worker spent time supporting other kids who have experienced a suicide death helped him feel less alone.

Safe people and places

Suicide is an uncomfortable topic for some people and they don’t always know what to say. As a result, it’s extremely important that children have:

  • Safe places where they can talk openly about the suicide.
  • Safe people to talk with. 

The 4 Cs

Children grieving a death from suicide experience the same kinds of worries that other grieving children face. They, too, worry about the 4 Cs:

  • Can I CATCH it?
  • Did I CAUSE it?
  • Can I CURE it?
  • Who will take CARE of me? 

These concerns need to be addressed openly and directly, whether or not your child is voicing them. 

Learn more about the 4 Cs in Module 2. 


Make time to check in regularly with your child.  Talking with them about the challenges they’re facing, even when you can't fix those challenges, can be a wonderful way to protect and care for them.

Seeking outside support

Many children feel abandoned when someone important to them dies from suicide. They can struggle with feelings such as guilt and anger, and with questions like Why? It’s important they receive caring support for their particular and complex feelings of grief. They may benefit from  support from a professional who specializes in grief counselling.

Learn more in Chapter 6 Is more help needed?