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

  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.”

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Question & Answer

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