A university academic says young people who lose a friend through suicide can feel the effects of that loss for up to two years.
Clinical psychologist at the University of New England, Warren Bartik, has interviewed 18 people from two coastal and two rural communities in Queensland and New South Wales.
He says he's found there's great variability in the counselling offered by schools to students when a class mate takes his or her life.
But Warren Bartik says close friends are less likely than others to experience a 'contagion' effect, following the death of a friend.
"Even though they had increased levels of mental health concerns, the suicide risk to them was potentially not as great as others, because they saw first-hand the impact of suicide on family and on close friends," he said.
"They also tended to look out more carefully for their own friends, but the friends in those outer layers seemed to be more problematic in their reaction to the suicide death."
Warren Bartik says many young people also deny help or assistance to deal with the issues suicide raises for them.
He says they don't think they need help, or they think others need help more.
"Most of the young people acknowledged that at the time they weren't ready to talk about things but, in hindsight, they identified they really needed to and so there's a bit of a sense of, 'Should we actually look at compulsory interventions, if you like, following the suicide death of a friend?'," he said.
"Most of these young people won't go and talk to someone because they're saying that other people are more deserving."
Warren Bartik says he also observed a number of disturbing behaviours in the ones left behind, including increased reliance on alcohol and some depression.
"They had increased levels of alcohol use, so frequency and quantities were quite concerning," he said.
"They also had increased levels of anxiety, increased levels of depression, increased levels of complicated or prolonged grief following the death of their friend."
Warren Bartik says his research has revealed that young people want to know in detail what has happened.
He says there is a very strong sense of friends needing to know and wanting transparency.
Anyone needing support with challenging emotional issues can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.