If you are worried about how someone you know is feeling, it can be really helpful for you to listen and be there for them
You may not know exactly what to say or do – most people don’t. You don’t need to have ready answers or solutions. Being there for them and listening to them is often enough.
- give them time to cry when they need to
- listen without judging. Let them know you are there for them. They may go over the story time and time again. That’s fine – it’s part of the healing process
- remember that if they’re showing anger it is because of the pain they’re going through, not because of you.
There may be days when they seem fine and days when they don’t.
That’s all part of coming to terms with what’s happened. Suggest doing things you know they enjoy. They might not feel ready, but it’s important they feel included. Even if they seem to have lots of other people around, they might still need support.
If necessary, offer to help them get support
If you think someone needs it, offer to help them get support by contacting a personal tutor, university counsellor, chaplain, GP, bereavement specialist or talk to us at Samaritans.
Make sure you’re supported too.
Don’t feel like you’re carrying responsibility for anyone else all on your own shoulders. Helping someone come to terms with the loss of someone close to them isn’t easy.
Can online memorials help?
Social media can be both helpful and unhelpful as a way of communicating following a death. It’s important to remember that anything posted on social media sites can reach many people, very quickly. It can be helpful to share memories of the person who has died and to send messages of support to others. However, be aware that using social media comes with the risk of online rumours and unkind messages about the person who has died or their friends and family. Please make the university aware of any messages that concern you.
It is important to express feelings in a safe way and support others online. Look out for what is being posted and try to lead by example, expressing feelings and emotions rather than glamourising or sharing details of the suspected suicide. Remember that many people, including staff at the university, will be managing difficult emotions. When talking to others, the best approach is to be respectful of the wishes of the bereaved family. Always encourage others to seek help if they need it.
You can ask for offensive messages to be removed by contacting the site. You may be concerned about how someone else is coping because of their messages online. If so, try to help them get the support they need.
Samaritans have a list of other sources of support you may find useful.