I'm concerned about my niece. Her mother committed suicide and she is blaming herself. How can I help her to deal with her mother's death?
Talking with your niece and encouraging her to share her feelings can be a big help. Let her know that it's not her fault, and that many children of parents who commit suicide feel the way she does.
While it's natural to feel guilty and to wonder if there's anything that could have been said or done to prevent it, her mother's suicide wasn't the result of anything your niece did. It's also natural to feel some anger at what happened — and even some embarrassment.
Dealing with a parent's death is difficult for anyone. Your niece needs your understanding and support. If possible, she should talk with a mental health professional, such as a psychologist who is experienced at working with young people.
Group therapy can be helpful since your niece will meet others in a similar situation to hers, which can make her feel less isolated. It's also sometimes easier to listen to advice from other people who have been through the same experience.
Your niece's doctor can help her find someone appropriate to talk to.
Reviewed by: Michelle New, PhD
Date reviewed: January 2012
|American Foundation for Suicide Prevention This group is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of suicide and the ability to prevent it.|
|American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) AACAP offers up-to-date information on child and adolescent development and issues.|
|Friends for Survival Friends for Survival is a national outreach program for survivors of suicide loss.|
|American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists This organization provides listings of marriage and family therapists nationwide.|
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|Posttraumatic Stress Disorder People who experience a traumatic event can be affected by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dealing with PTSD can be challenging, but treatment and support are essential.|
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|Dealing With Grief: Molly's Story In 2004, 13-year-old Molly and her sister Carly coped with their grandfather's death by starting a business to raise money for cancer research. Read Molly's story here.|
|Helping Your Child Deal With Death It can be difficult to know how to help kids cope with a death, particularly as you work through your own grief. Here are a few important things to consider.|
|When Somebody Dies It's difficult, even for grownups, to understand why death must happen. It may be the hardest thing of all to understand. We'll try to help you understand a little bit more in this article for kids.|
|Death and Grief If someone close to you has died, you probably feel overwhelmed with grief. Read about some things that might help you cope.|
|Going to a Therapist Getting help with emotions or stress is the same as getting help with a medical problem like asthma or diabetes. This article explains how therapy works and how it can help with problems.|
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