Helping Family and Friends

When a close friend or family member has lost a loved one, people want to offer consolation and help. Not knowing what to do or say, people often say or do the wrong things or simply avoid those who are grieving. These interactions can cause a lot of additional hurt. Knowing the best ways to offer help and when to offer that help can strengthen friendships and family relationships. This page has links to help family and friends understand what is normal to expect with grief and how to best off help and support.

If You Know Someone Who is Grieving...
Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. it’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and best things you will ever do.

Stephen Fry

If We could Look Into Each Other's Hearts
If we could look into each other’s hearts and understand the unique challenges each of us faces, I think we would treat each other much more gently, with more love, patience, tolerance,and care.

Marvin J. Ashton

  From Our Experience

For months after my husband died, my sister took turns coming one day a week. They helped me clean, they listened and brought me dinner. It was a gift of love that made all the difference

I think the best thing for me was that people just “did” things. I wasn’t going to ask for help! But I was drowning! Friend just came and did, did laundry, cleaned cooked! I didn’t have to think about it, they just “did it”


 Things that Help

  • Give gift cards to eat out
  • Bring groceries or meals
  • Offer to help clean, do yard work or repairs
  • Take children to do something fun
  • Say your sorry, cry, hug, and just listen
  • Share good memories
  • Text or call just to check in
  • Be available and be able to stay if they need you there
  • Invite over for dinner
  • Help with funeral preparations
  • Remember them on the holidays and special days

  From the Editors Desk

  1. Understanding the Grief of a Family Member or Friend

      e are to have “compassion one to another.” As a family member or friend to someone who is grieving, you have an admirable selfless desire to comfort and help them in their time of need. As you attempt to do that, remember that you also have inward motivations to remove personal worry and the obligation you...
  2. What Not to Say to a Person Who is Grieving

      So often in our attempt to console we cause additional injury. Sometimes the best thing to say is to say nothing at all. A heart felt hug and an “I’m Sorry” can go a long way. I’m ashamed to say, that I have been one of those people who...
  3. 10 Meaningful Gifts For a New Widow

    My cousin’s husband just passed away last week and I am devastated for her. This is a tough road and you learn a lot about others and yourself. My mom wanted to get her something and asked me what I received that was special or helpful? What a great question!...

  Real Stories

There is no easy solution for helping someone who has thoughts about suicide. But there are some things we can do to reach out to them. The most common sources of pain for someone having suicidal thoughts are feeling disconnected from other people, feeling like they’re a burden to others or that people would be better off without them. Coupled with the hopeless thoughts that things aren’t going to change, suicidal thoughts become risky. For some, like Seth Adam Smith, the right words spoken by another can change a life. Seth’s depression caused him to attempt suicide. He was miraculously saved, and when he awoke, his older brother’s words changed everything. “You know, Seth,” his older brother said, “I almost lost my little brother. … I don’t think I’m going to go anywhere for a while.” While it may seem too simple, sometimes words of comfort, support, and love can be life-changing for someone who doesn’t feel needed.   Sometimes those suffering with depression and suicidal thoughts don’t even need words. They just need someone to sit with them. They need someone to be there for them. They need to feel loved and valued.  M. Russell Ballard counsels us not to judge, but to reach out. “It doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to heal people, … but we can have an impact in guiding people to some of the resources out there.” He reminds us that we can be one of those resources. “There is nothing more powerful than the arm of love that can be put around those who are struggling.”

  More From Our Blog on Helping Family and Friends

  1. A Dozen Ways to Help Those Who are Grieving

    A Dozen Ways to Help Those Who are Grieving

      When my husband committed suicide, I was 38 with four children relying on me to keep their lives stable.  The people around me loved us deeply and wanted to help desperately, but knowing what to do was difficult. For me, it was difficult to humble accept that help, but as I...

    Full Story

  2. The Face of Depression

    The Face of Depression

    I read an article on the face of depression that really hit me. The face of depression is often not recognizable. It is not a person with a frown who has their head down. It is usually a person who is smiling and appears to have it all. I have spoken to...

    Full Story

Question & Answer

When do I need to encourage my family member or friend to seek professional help?