Bereavement by suicide

Every suicide has an impact on friends, families and the wider community. We're calling for improved support and information for people affected by suicide.

Around 6,500 people die by suicide each year across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. Each of those deaths is likely to cause intense grief and emotional distress to those closest to the person who has died, such as parents, siblings, partners and friends. Suicide also often has an impact on the wider community. We are calling on national governments and local agencies to improve the support and information that is available for people who have been affected by suicide.

Key summary

  • The emotions experienced after bereavement by suicide can differ considerably from other types of death and that the shock can be especially acute and complex. There is also evidence that people who have been bereaved by suicide can themselves be at a higher risk of suicide.
  • The availability of services aimed specifically at people who have been bereaved by suicide can be too limited in some parts of the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Samaritans believes that national suicide prevention strategies should include an objective to support people bereaved by suicide, promoting cross-government working and local commissioning of services where appropriate, in order to improve the availability of services. Quality standards must be developed in order to avoid practices which could inadvertently cause harm to people bereaved by suicide.
  • The signposting of people who have recently been bereaved by suicide to support services and useful resources could be improved. This requires support from a wide range of organisations, most notably coroners’ offices, the police, health and social care services, funeral directors and faith organisations.

Download Samaritans' full bereavement by suicide policy briefing.