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604 | Through the Tears: Helping Families Discuss Suicide Loss with Children

Saturday 9/16 8:45 – 10:00 AM, Suicide and Self-harm: Awareness, Prevention, and Postvention, Workshop Tracks


Natalie Ford, Ph.D.



Approved For CE

Psychologists, Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Pastors, Pastoral Counselors, Lay Counselors, Coaches

Approved For CME/CEU

Medical Doctors, Osteopathic Doctors, Physicians Assistants, Midwives, Nurses and Nurse Practitioners




Sadly, 7,000-30,000 children in the U.S. lose a parent to suicide yearly (Watson et al., 2021). This statistic does not account for other suicide losses a child may endure. Surviving family members often avoid discussing suicide with children due to stigma and/or fear of saying the wrong thing. A failure to discuss suicide loss with a child can lead the child to form their own beliefs surrounding the loved one’s death that can be more detrimental to the child’s well-being than the truth could ever be. This workshop is intended to help psychologists, licensed mental health professionals, medical professionals, and ministry leaders learn how to assist surviving family members in creating a narrative to discuss suicide loss with children and provide a list of resources to help families process suicidal grief.

Learning Objectives

1. Develop a well-crafted response when working with surviving family members to assist them in telling a child about a death by suicide in a developmentally appropriate manner
2. Identify five common emotional responses of children bereaved by suicide
3. Formulate a list of ways children can honor the deceased in an attempt to develop continuing bonds between the person who died and the child
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