Every death brings its own trauma to survivors. However, when someone is suddenly killed in an accident or murdered, the stress levels rise considerably for those left behind. When the incident involves multiple deaths, young people or could have been avoided, the senselessness of the loss can traumatise us and generate emotions of anger, sorrow, guilt and injustice that are hard to control. If this is you do please seek support by searching through the many organisations that are there to help - whatever the circumstances, however old you are and wherever you live.

Here are some initial suggestions on how to begin to make sense of what has happened.

1. Be prepared for a wide range of confusing and conflicting emotions. Understand that the shock and injustice of losing someone you knew and or loved to a sudden, violent, and senseless death can result in grief with a wider range of depth of feelings and grief which lasts longer than for survivors of anticipated, non-violent death

2. Seek professional help. You could immediately try our GriefChat webchat service, or search for support from the many organisations listed on this website. Go to your GP if you are having difficulty sleeping. Call a helpline if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.

3. Delay major decisions for at least one year. Moving, remarrying, deciding to have a baby, changing jobs, etc., no matter how positive they seem, can create additional, unnecessary stress.

4. Feel your feelings. Sadness, rage, vengeance, and other feelings emerge after a tragic loss. Sharing them with someone else who understands and physical activity can help. Try to think rationally and act responsibly.

5. Be sympathetic toward other family members. It is rare for any two people in a family to handle trauma the same way. Don’t judge others for their grieving patterns.

6. Exercise patience with inept friends. Some people will act in clumsy, awkward ways around survivors. Rarely are such comments made to hurt you. Try to be grateful for their attempt, if not the end result.

7. Don’t expect someone else to fill the void. No one can fill the shoes of the loved one who has died. It is unrealistic and unwise to expect someone else to fill the void which remains in the heart.

8. Seek support from others who have experienced a similar trauma. Remind yourself you do not have to handle this alone. There are others who will have had similar experiences if not at the same time as you, in similar circumstances. There are many support groups in your community. Find them on this website.

9. Gather information about the death. Experts often say that collecting as much information as possible about the death is really helpful. This information can be obtained from police reports, autopsy reports, and by talking to witnesses. Your mind will rest better if you can ‘make sense’ of the experience, and, through collecting data, blame and responsibility can be placed appropriately.

10. Don’t feel guilty about recovering. Getting better does not mean you didn’t love your loved one enough. Nor does it mean that you will ever forget him or her. For your own sake, and for others who need you, you have a responsibility to recover.