5 Children, Teens and Suicide Loss Navigating the Immediate Aftermath How to Inform Young People of a Suicide Death Tell the Truth Start with an honest, age-appropriate explanation of what happened to the person who died, using short and simple sentences. Use short and simple sentences. Telling children and teens the truth using developmentally appropriate words is the best way to help them begin to process and adapt to the reality of the loss. It also shows them that the adults in their lives can be trusted. Don’t Wait If the child is young, your first inclination may be to protect them from this terrible news. However, the best way to protect your child is by telling them the truth as soon as possible to make sure they hear it from you first. The risk in waiting is that children are quick to pick up on the fact that something is wrong. They may hear you or other adults talking, or find out from other children, the internet, or the news. Teens, in particular, are connected through social media, and news travels fast. If a child does not have the whole picture, they will try to fill in the gaps with guesses — and what they imagine may be more upsetting than the truth. Children may also think that information is being withheld from them because they were somehow responsible, and they may blame themselves as a result. When they do find out the real story, they are likely to be angry and will wonder what other information has been withheld from them. If you need help talking with your child, seek it out, e.g., from a family member. You don’t have to do this by yourself. Choose a Safe Space Find a place to talk that feels safe and familiar to the child. For many children and teens, this will be their home, but if that’s where the