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To Sam

I don't know what to do?

my friend's mum just commited suicide, my friend all ready lives with her grandma. I'm worried about her because I saw some scratches on her arm just before this happened. She now doesn't want to talk. My frind has autism and i'm worried if this will affect her. Please help what can i do about it. I really want to help her.
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Sam

Hello,

Thank you for your letter.

It’s really great that you care so much about your friend. It’s wonderful to know she has you to support her when she’s going through such a difficult time.

I can see you’re concerned about the scratches you noticed on her arm. You’re right to be aware that her Mum’s suicide could have a big effect on her and that she may have been finding things hard even before this happened. Having an Autism Spectrum Disorder can make it particularly hard to cope with difficult events like bereavement. Your friend might not react the way people expect her to, so it’s important that she has the time, space and support to work through her feelings in the way she wants to.

Maybe you could talk to a teacher at school or a parent or carer about how you're worried about your friend. It might be that your friend would be helped by having some professional support from someone like a counsellor or a school nurse. It would also be good for you to have someone to share your worries with because it can be really hard to try and cope with worries about a friend by yourself.

May I also ask you to tell your friend about ChildLine? You could tell her about how to contact the counsellors here and maybe tell her about our confidentiality policy. She will be very welcome to talk with a counsellor whenever she wants to by calling free on 0800 1111 or logging in for a 1-2-1 chat online. Your friend might also find it helpful to look at the bereavement message board and chat to other young people who may have experienced the same thing.

Being a friend and being there for her is a very valuable thing. Don’t take it personally if she doesn’t want to talk right now. Just let her know you care about her. You might find it useful to read the page called “Advice about helping a friend”. There’s a particular section called “how do I help a friend in grief” about supporting a friend after someone has died. The SOBS website also offers help for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. 

Finally, if you’d like to talk to one of our counsellors about what is happening and how it makes you feel, you can do. ChildLine are here for both you and your friend, anytime.

Take care,

Sam

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