Skip to content
The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World The University of Texas at Austin Division of Student Affairs

Supporting a Friend Who Has Lost a Loved One to Suicide

Helping a friend who's lost a loved one to suicide is invaluable. While you can't erase the pain, your presence can make a difference. Here's how to be there for them:

  • Acknowledging the Loss: Engage in open conversations about the situation, showing your willingness to listen and support.
  • Expressing Concern: Let your friend know you're there for them, available to help whenever they need it.
  • Reflecting on Emotions: Repeat their feelings back to them to show you're genuinely listening and understanding.
  • Being Genuine: Don't hide your feelings. Express your sympathy and care authentically.
  • Offering Support: Let them know you're by their side, ready to help in any way they need.
  • Asking About Feelings: Create space for your friend to express their emotions.
  • Active Listening: Be patient and attentive; it's more about being there than having the perfect words.
  • Avoiding Comparisons: Avoid saying you understand exactly how they feel; instead, ask them how they're doing.
  • Watching for Warning Signs: Pay attention to any signs of prolonged distress and encourage professional help if needed.
  • Supporting Professional Help: Suggest resources like the Counseling and Mental Health Center.

Remember, grief is complex, and healing takes time. Resources are available on campus and beyond. Encourage seeking help when needed.

cmhc logo
facebook twitter instagram tumblr