Childhood Bereavement Network
National Children's Bureau
A few friends helped me, saying 'don't worry' and 'I'll be there'

How friends can help

If one of your friends has been bereaved, you may have a mixture of feelings. You might feel sorry for them, you might feel relieved for them, you might feel frightened or sad yourself, and you might not be sure how to help.

You might find it helpful to look at Cruse Bereavement Care’s website for children and young people. The message board gives examples of the things which people have said to their bereaved friends online to help them cope with what has happened.

Here are some things which a group of bereaved young people working with Seasons for Growth (Scotland) suggested might be helpful for friends to do. You could print off the suggestions and ask your friend which ones they'd like you to do. Remember that what they want might change as time goes on. Your support will help, although it may not always appear so.


To my friend, please...

...be yourself and be my friend - even if you don't know what to do or say. Just knowing you are there helps me.

Ask me how I am feeling - even though I may not always be able to tell you.

Talk to me about getting back into school. Meeting me somewhere each day might help.

Ask me if I want to talk about what has happened, and don't worry if I get upset, it helps knowing you care.

Give me a break if I'm acting a bit strangely. I'm feeling very confused right now.

Sometimes I may feel lonely. If you phone, text or visit me I'll know you are thinking about me even though I may need time alone.

Carry on talking to me about what you are doing - even if I don't seem to be listening.

Give me a hug if you think I need one.

Listen to me if you can - it helps me to get stuff off my chest and makes me feel better

Help me to have fun and laugh sometimes. This does not mean I am 'over it' or have forgotten my feelings for the person.

Try to understand if I may not always feel like joining in just now - but please don't stop asking me.

Talk to me about getting help from an adult if you are really worried about me.

Stand up for me if I'm having a hard time.

Ask me if there is anything you can do if you notice I'm having a bad day.


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