Home > Help and advice on coping with the death of someone close

Walsh, Simone (2007) Help and advice on coping with the death of someone close. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 24, Winter 2007, p. 16.

PDF (Drugnet Ireland, issue 24) - Published Version

In its vision statement and guiding principles, the National Strategy on Suicide Prevention 2005–2014 proposed that ‘those affected by a suicide death or deliberate self-harm receive the most caring and helpful response possible’.1  To assist this process, the strategy proposed a review of the existing information and resources available to the bereaved. In response, the National Office for Suicide Prevention has published the two booklets outlined below. 

You are not alone: help and advice on coping with the death of someone close provides practical advice and support to those who have been affected by suicide or an unexpected death.2 The booklet is divided into five sections: immediate reactions; natural responses; events that occur following a death; sorting out your affairs; and getting help for you and your family.  Each section deals with the different stages of the bereavement process. 

Immediate reactions and natural responses recognise that the circumstances surrounding suicide can be overwhelming and difficult to understand.  The aim of these sections is to guide the bereaved through their feelings of anger, guilt and depression both in the initial stages and in the months following the death.  The second of the sections addresses the behaviour and emotions that can be expected from a child who has lost a parent, sibling or loved one.  It provides ways of breaking the news to a child and methods to keep channels of communication open. 

When a death occurs by suicide or is unexpected, certain legal procedures must be followed. Events that occur following the death introduces and describes the role of all the parties involved following the death, including that of the gardai and the coroner. The term and process of a post-mortem and its effect on funeral arrangements are explained. Due to the nature of a suicide death, an inquest will be held and a brief description of the inquest proceedings is given. This can delay the issuing of a death certificate, but again an explanation is given on how to obtain an interim certificate from the coroner. 

Sorting out your affairsaddresses money matters, such as how to access social welfare entitlements and funds lodged in banks, post offices, or insurance policies.  Advice is provided on registering a death, who deals with a will or what do in the absence of a will.  The terms  ‘intestacy’, ’probate’, ‘executors’ and  ‘administrators’ are explained. 

The final section, getting help for your family, lists the types of support that are available and mentions how people are referred to the mental health services in Ireland.  

You are not alone: directory of bereavement support services 2007 is a guide to bereavement support services available throughout Ireland.  Specific support services for those who are bereaved due to suicide are highlighted.  The booklet provides contact details for multi-branch organisations, including Barnardos Bereavement Counselling for Children, Samaritans and Console. The directory includes voluntary, community-based and self-help groups, and private counsellors. 

The role of the HSE Resource Officer for Suicide Prevention is to guide bereaved people to the most appropriate support service available, and to support the service providers.  Contact details for the resource officers throughout Ireland are listed, as are key contacts such as ISPCC, GROW and Aware.  Irish and international websites are also listed, along with suggested reading. 

These booklets will be useful to those who are bereaved, particularly by suicide or sudden death.  They have been distributed to GPs, funeral directors, gardaí, resource officers and registered counsellors, and can be downloaded from www.nosp.ie.  Further information is available from the National Office for Suicide Prevention, Dr Steevens’ Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin 8. Tel: 635 2179; Email: info@nosp.ie.


1. Health Service Executive, National Suicide Review Group and Department of Health and Children (2005) Reach out: national strategy for action on suicide prevention 2005–2014. Dublin: Health Service Executive.

2. Health Service Executive (2007) You are not alone: help and advice on coping with the death of someone close. Dublin: National Office for Suicide Prevention.

3. Health Service Executive (2007) You are not alone: directory of bereavement support services 2007. Dublin: National Office for Suicide Prevention.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Issue Title
Issue 24, Winter 2007
October 2007
Page Range
p. 16
Health Research Board
Issue 24, Winter 2007
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

Repository Staff Only: item control page