People do want to help but often don’t know how. When kind friends ask what they can do to help, be prepared. Receiving the news that a loved one has ended his or her life or witnessing what happened or finding the body of someone you love is traumatic and confusing. If you can, try to keep a note pad and pen with you. As you think of things that you need, write these down and ask for specific help. Note who will help, what they agree to do, and any details.
These are some of the things you may need help with in the first few days.
- Picking up out-of-town relatives arriving at the airport
- Running errands (pharmacy, grocery)
- Making calls to family and friends
- Answering the telephone and greeting visitors
- Helping in the kitchen (note who brings food and type of dish)
- Occupying children in a quiet room (read stories, draw, games)
- Walking and feeding pets
- Making a monetary donation for immediate expenses
In the weeks ahead, you may need some of the same things. These help, too.
- Brief visits or calls
- Help with errands and driving to appointments
- Assistance with shopping or someone to go out to lunch with you
- Help with household chores
- Someone who can make small repairs/cut grass
- Babysitting or transportation for older children
- Helpful resources and assistance in finding support groups
There are charts for this kind of practical help and other information on Way for Hope’s home page. Visit https://wayforhope.weebly.com/ and download your free digital copy of Hope in the Aftermath of Suicide (Second Edition).