Module overview


As a society, we are uncomfortable talking about death, suicide, sadness, anger, distress, and trauma – and any displays of emotion that make people uncomfortable.His death was a life-changing event. This resource has been designed to help you understand and care for yourself as you grieve. It was developed by the Canadian Virtual Hospice in collaboration with national grief specialists and people who have grieved a death by suicide. We are grateful to those who shared their wisdom and experiences. 

About this resource: When someone has died by suicide 

A death by suicide is often sudden or unexpected, and hard to understand. Your grief is likely to be different from what you may have experienced after other losses. It may be more complicated because of unanswered questions; intense feelings of regret, anger, or guilt; and a lack of support. In addition to emotional upheaval, your life and relationships with others may change. Some of your beliefs about the person who died, yourself, or life in general may be challenged. Finding ways to cope with your grief and get the support you need is essential to your health and well-being. 

Getting started

We recommend that you review the nine Grief Basics modules found on our site:


As you read through this information…

You might be reading this shortly after the person died, or sometime down the road. We encourage you to revisit these resources often as you may only be able to absorb so much at any one time. What you find helpful may change over time. You might recognize your experiences or find that some of them aren’t reflected here. If there is content you believe should be added, please tell us about it in the survey at the end.

As you read this, you may have strong emotions or feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to step away from it for a while, or it might help to talk with a trusted family member or friend. Canadian Virtual Hospice provides online Discussion Forums where you can connect with others who may have experienced similar losses. You can also ask our healthcare team a confidential question at Ask a Professional. You will receive a written response within three business days (not including Canadian statutory holidays).

A note about language

Throughout this and other modules in, phrases such as “death from suicide” and “died by suicide” are used. These are used in place of “committed suicide,” phrasing that can be distressing for families because of overtones from a time when suicide was considered a criminal act. This is no longer the case in most parts of the world. Using neutral phrasing like “died by suicide” can help to reduce the social stigma around suicide death and grief.