How to Help Someone Who Attempted Suicide

Instructor: Elisha Madison

Elisha is a writer, editor, and aspiring novelist. She has a Master's degree in Ancient Celtic History & Mythology and another Masters in Museum Studies.

Suicide attempts affect everyone around that person. There are ways to help someone who has attempted suicide so they know you are there as support in the future. This lesson discusses ways to help and also those things not to say.

Suicide and Its Effects

If someone you know has tried to commit suicide, you may feel shocked, scared, or even angry at that person's actions. All of these reactions are normal, but it is important to work through those feelings before you try to help someone who has attempted suicide.

It is also important to remain aware when around someone who has tried to commit suicide. Your awareness can help you see new warning signs and odd behaviors that show a person may try suicide again. There is a chance that your loved one will eventually manage to commit suicide. And people who have managed to commit suicide had usually tried before, so learning how to help those who have tried to hurt themselves is really important.

What Not to Do

So many of us want to help those who are hurting around us, but we don't know how. Sometimes when we try it turns out to be awkward, weird, and not helpful. When trying to figure out how to help someone who has made an attempt on his or her life, you must first learn what things you should avoid doing.

  • Do not be ashamed - You may feel afraid after someone attempts suicide and you might you feel like you have to hide your fear from others. Unfortunately, this can be perceived as being ashamed of your loved one. Showing feelings of shame or even feelings that can be perceived as shame may further hurt the person who attempted suicide.
  • Sympathize do not empathize - Unless you have attempted suicide yourself, do not try to explain that you understand where they are coming from. This may come off as superficial because you do not have the experience.
  • Do not focus on your feelings - When talking to someone who has attempted suicide, focus on how that person feels, not how you feel. If you need support, seek out friends that you can vent to, but do not vent to the person who attempted suicide. People who have tried to commit suicide are burdened enough already.
  • Do not blame him or her for the attempt - Conferring any kind of blame will cause guilt, which is definitely something they do not need.
  • Avoid tough love - We all knew that sometimes being tough by making someone own up to responsibility may be helpful. That's not the case here.

Supportive Ways to Help People Who Have Attempted Suicide

So now that you know what to avoid, how to help? Believe it or not there are a lot of things that you can do or say that will give someone who attempted suicide the safe place that is needed.

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