These are some guidelines about how to respond when a member of your community has died.
- Be caring and compassionate
- Offer your condolences
- Ask how your bereaved members would like to stay in contact
- Ask how much information the deceased’s family members would like the community members to know, and if they wish to be contacted by the community members.
- Consider any community members who were known to be closely connected with the deceased or who demonstrate visible, intense grief reactions
- Be conscious of diversity and accommodate religious beliefs and customs where it is reasonable and practical.
- Consider what action to take if the death is in the media.
- Give bereaved community members appropriate information about grief reactions and help resources.
- Remember that the full impact of a bereavement may not be felt until some time after the death.
- Ignore the situation.
- Assume you know how bereaved community members are feeling – every bereavement is unique.
- Say anything that may minimize or undermine the loss, such as: “We all have to go sometime”.
- Say anything to make light of bereavement, such as: “Time will heal”.
- Make the assumption that bereaved community members have “gotten over” their grief and are “back to normal” if they look okay and are functioning normatively.