Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 486 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. 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 person died, home may no longer feel safe. Other familiar places, such as a relative’s or family friend’s house may be a good alternative.