After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools | 55 Tips for Talking about Suicide Suicide is a difficult topic for most people to talk about. This tool suggests ways to talk about key issues that may come up when someone dies by suicide. Give accurate information about suicide. By saying…. Suicide is a complicated behavior. It is not caused by a single event. In many cases, mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or psychosis, or a substance use disorder are present leading up to a suicide. Mental health conditions affect how people feel and prevent them from thinking clearly. Having a mental health problem is actually common and nothing to be ashamed of. Help is available. Talking about suicide in a calm, straightforward way does not put the idea into people’s minds. “The cause of [NAME]’s death was suicide. Suicide is not caused by a single event. In many cases, the person has a mental health or substance use disorder and then other life issues occur at the same time leading to overwhelming mental and/or physical pain, distress, and hopelessness.” “There are effective treatments to help people with mental health or substance abuse problems or who are having suicidal thoughts.” “Mental health problems are not something to be ashamed of. They are a type of health issue.” Address blaming and scapegoating. By saying…. It is common to try to answer the question “why?” after a suicide death. Sometimes this turns into blaming others for the death. “Blaming others or the person who died does not consider the fact that the person was experiencing a lot of distress and pain. Blaming is not fair and can hurt another person deeply.” Do not focus on the method. By saying…. Talking in detail about the method can create images that are upsetting and can increase the risk of imitative behavior by vulnerable individuals. The focus should not be on how someone killed themselves but rather on how to cope with feelings of sadness, loss, anger, etc. “Let’s talk about how [NAME]’s death has affected you and ways you can handle it.” “How can you deal with your loss and grief?” Address anger. By saying…. Accept expressions of anger at the deceased and explain that these feelings are normal. “It is okay to feel angry. These feelings are normal, and it doesn’t mean that you didn’t care about [NAME]. You can be angry at someone’s behavior and still care deeply about that person.”