Every year many young people feel that they cannot bear to go on living. Most will survive a suicide attempt; a few will not. The death of a child is always shattering, but suicide is a particularly cruel form of death for the surviving family and friends who are often left not knowing why. Even if a note has been found which attempts to explain this drastic action, many people feel guilt and regularly go over what could have been done to prevent the tragedy.
For families of children who have died from suicide, there may be the additional stress of coping with the police, post-mortem, inquest, media and reactions of others. Unfortunately, suicide is still viewed unsympathetically by people who may make thoughtless and wounding comments about the selfishness of taking one’s own life.
Sadly numbers of suicides amongst young people continue grow but many bereaved parents have found help, support and comfort from knowing that others are able to share their unique pain and grief. There can be relief in knowing that others understand immediately 'how it feels' and feelings of isolation, guilt and stigma are shared and lessened.
TCF holds a group for parents bereaved by suicide from 11am to 1pm on the fourth Saturday of each month (except December) in London SE8. This is a support group where we meet in a safe space to share in confidence our innermost thoughts and to support each other through our grief. We also meet informally at ‘bring and share’ lunches and other social events during the year. There are also groups for those bereaved by suicide in Bristol, Cambridge and Glasgow.
There is also a private Facebook group for parents where we can talk to each other online, find support and feel listened to. We share photographs, commemorate birthdays, anniversaries, other difficult dates (Mothers’ Day or Fathers’ Day, Christmas, New Year, the holiday seasons) and also explore many other areas of grief.
Please contact Marie at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information about the monthly meetings in London or to join the Facebook group. Contact our Helpline on 0345 123 2304 email@example.com for more information about the groups around the country and to be put in touch with the group facilitator.
A retreat is planned for parents bereaved by suicide, addiction or substance use in June 2020 at Woodbrooke, Birmingham – further information on this event can be found here. (This is now postponed to 2021 due to coronavirus). We are running some online specialist support groups for bereaved parents and more details can be found on our online events page.
You can also find more information and help in our leaflet, After Suicide, which covers in greater detail important areas relating to bereavement by suicide. The leaflet Coping with Judgemental Attitudes may also be helpful.
The postal library has many books on bereavement and suicide and Support After Suicide has published a comprehensive booklet entitled ‘Help is at Hand’ which can be downloaded from their website.
The Compassionate Friends are members of the Support After Suicide Partnership (SASP). We collaboratively work within the SASP network of organisations and charities who strive to provide appropriate and timely support to those bereaved by suicide.
Each year thousands of parents suffer the loss of a son or a daughter. Please help us to support families in their time of greatest need.