What About Children? What Should They Be Told?


Difficulties may arise around how to tell children about a suicide.  It is natural to want to protect a child from distressing information. It may seem that in order to protect them from hurt it is best to avoid the truth. 

Children will observe what is going on around them.  If what they are told is different from what they see or overhear they will be further confused.  They will fill in any missing information with their own. This may be more harmful than the truth.  They may even believe that they are responsible – “I didn’t love mummy enough” “I was too naughty” etc. 

Be honest with children and use language that is appropriate for their age and to their culture. Parents have found it useful to explain death “as being when the body stops working” and suicide as “when someone makes their body stop working” (p. 8).[1] This referenced booklet can be downloaded from the website given in the reference below. Remember to check out how children understand what you are telling them. It is very important for children to receive attention and support following a death.


[1] Noonan, K., & Douglas, A. (2002). Supporting children after suicide- Information for parents and other care givers. Sydney, Australia: New South Wales Health Department. 


<<Previous Page



Thank You to Our Sponsors