A child dealing with the death of someone close through suicide is likely to experience all of the same things as any bereaved child but there are likely to be complicated feelings of grief, guilt and anger which can go on for much longer.

Suicide is an extremely distressing event which is often violent and sudden. It is also something which many people find very difficult to talk about so the feelings of isolation for the grieving family are intensified. 

A child dealing with bereavement through suicide is more likely to need professional help but the support of those around them is also very important.

Often families wish to protect their child from the truth but it is advisable to be open about the details surrounding the death.  It is likely that information will leak out and the child will get to find out what happened from fellow pupils.  This can be even more distressing for the child and is likely to make them feel excluded and mistrustful of those around them at a time when they need to feel loved and supported. 

If a family are struggling to cope with explanations, it may be worth directing them to a bereavement organisation such as the Children's Bereavement Centre who can advise and support them.

It is a good idea to agree with the family, on what can be communicated to staff and pupils.  If factual information is shared quickly and in an appropriate manner it can reduce the harmful effects of misinformation.

Don't avoid talking about the person who has died.  Allow the child to talk and remember the person they have lost in the same way you would any grieving child.  However, there may be greater feelings of anger so encourage them to express their feelings and reassure them that they were not to blame for the death. 

An extreme feeling of rejection is common as is low esteem - try to praise good things and even small achievements.