Suicide Touches Everyone
When a person attempts suicide, it’s a terrible time for the whole family, as well as friends and other loved ones. Often the attention goes only to the person who attempted suicide. This is understandable. However, family and friends are also victims of suicide, in a different way.
Common questions if a friend has attempted suicide
Common questions you may be asking yourself if your friend has attempted suicide: What do I do? How do I reach out? How do I let him or her know I’m here for them? Understand this: Anyone who has attempted suicide needs friends by his or her side. However, this will be difficult until the person works through whatever crisis or beliefs caused the attempted suicide in the first place. The rewards, however, can create a tight bond between the two of you.
Things to think about:
- Recognize your feelings about suicide
Do you think suicide makes the person ‘bad?’ If you do, it will be a difficult road for you to travel, no matter how much you care. But, if suicide saddens or confuses you, be there to listen without expectations.
- Be honest with yourself
Is your motive for friendship sincere or, is it because you are curious about why this person attempted suicide? If you are most curious, then there will be problems with sincerity. Don’t add “fake” or exploitive to the person’s grief and depression.
- Evaluate your relationship
How has your relationship been lately? Are there negative feelings between you? Regardless of fault and existing blame, negativity can be magnified to become a source of intense pain. Apologize for your part. If you can’t sincerely apologize, then you need to back away from the relationship. Usually, you have done little or nothing to make things either worse or better for this person.
How to approach your friend:
- Open the lines of communication
Choose something simple to talk about when you reach out to a friend who has attempted suicide. After you greet them, follow it up with something specific. It could be about the gym you both work out at, the new coffee shop, the team you both root for, or a book you’ve read that you think they will like. Also, the key is to open the lines of communication by being present in person, mind and heart.
- Be consistent
Once you start reaching out to a friend who has attempted suicide, don’t be hit or miss. Checking in, dutifully and/or inquisitively is not the goal either; it becomes annoying. Showing up as a friend or a supportive person looks different for everyone. Set the tone for authenticity by being you – hiding events from your life or the feelings associated creates a power differential. Your friend did not sign up for a robotic or superhuman companion.
Treat them the same way you want to be treated.
If you are friends with someone who is talking about harming themselves, reach out for help immediately!
If You Know of Someone Having Suicidal Thoughts
Is someone you know is suicidal – there is help. Suicide is permanent. Also, problems are temporary. Tools for facing and scaling problems exist at D’Amore Healthcare. If you need help right away, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273.TALK, or 1.888.426.6086. Also, If someone needs immediate help, you can call us 24-hours a day at 714.375.1110 or contact us online.