How To Comfort Someone After Suicidal Attempt
Suicide is a scary word, which is used to refer to an act of intentionally causing one’s own death. A number of factors can trigger such thoughts and feelings in an individual, such as stress, financial troubles, mental disorders or bullying. A lot has been done by the federal bodies to prevent this risk, such as creating awareness, spreading love and encouraging open discussions, still suicide continues to take many lives. According to a recent report shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with the rates rising by 1.8 percent in 2016.
Anyone can commit suicide. Therefore, it is important to keep oneself well-informed about the common signs of suicide so that the risk can be managed well on time to avoid the situation from snowballing into a bigger problem. Some of the common indicators of suicide are feeling helpless, self-loathing, talking about death, giving away prized possessions, paranoia, intense emotional pain and mood swings.
Thinking about what to say after someone attempts suicide. The best thing you can do is be kind and offer support to help him/her move out from this tough phase of life. Some of the other simple yet effective ways to offer after suicide attempt support are:
It might be too difficult for you to understand the cause behind your friend’s suicide attempt. In fact, it is very likely that the cause might seem too small to you to trigger a suicide compared to the extent it had been bothering your friend. Therefore, it is important not to pass any comments and offer support by understanding his/her situation.
This one can act as the best trick to offer help to your friend after a suicide attempt. There might be a lot of pain and suffering in his/her heart that he/she wishes to share with someone. Be that person and let him/her speak his/her heart out. But make sure that you do not offer advice or suggestion in between or compare his/her situation with someone else as this might irritate him/her.
While it is essential to seek help from a medical expert, taking a few small steps can help the person recover faster and feel better. One can suggest him/her some small changes that he/she can incorporate into his/her life to feel better. For instance, a person who attempted suicide due to a failed relationship can be advised to stay positive and make new friends.
While it is important to be available to offer help all through the time, it is also essential to continue making your own plans and sharing the details about the same with the person concerned. Doing so might act as a great motivating factor to help your friend think and believe that life is interesting and must be enjoyed.
Hope is an essential component of a healthy and happy life. Therefore, make sure that you use it as an effective technique for supporting partner after a suicide attempt. Try to instill positivity and hope in him/her so as to avoid all sorts of future risks. Ask as many questions as you want, such as “do you associate colors with hope?” “what strengthens your hope?” etc.
It is important to make sure that the person concerned is not left alone because loneliness might put the person at an increased risk of suicide. Therefore, it is important to help a friend after a suicide attempt and make him/her believe that you are always there. Stay in touch either by meeting in-person or through a phone. Ask him/her if he/she is fine and avoid talking about suicide as this might make him/her think about it again.
This is one of the most important steps that one needs to take to ensure that the person who committed suicide in the past continues to stay safe. Doing so does not imply that he/she is being watched at every step, but it’s about being vigilant of any susceptible action from him. In case you find the presence of any unusual sign, request him/her to seek help.
It is important to understand that attempting suicide was just a phase of life. It does not define how he/she is as a person. Therefore, one must try not to be authoritative or lecture him/her for his past mistake as this won’t help in any way but would only ruin your relationship in many ways.
Acknowledging a person’s suicide attempt is important to ensure his/her safety in the future. While it is important to ensure that doing so should not cause discomfort to the concerned, one must try to stay subtle and also offer support simultaneously.
It is commonly believed by many that there was nothing serious in the entire episode of a friend’s suicide; rather, it was just a way to grab attention. But this certainly is incorrect. It is important to take their suicidal attempt seriously because ignoring the same might increase the risk and even exaggerate their pain.
The best way to ensure maximum safety of an individual is to keep all the possible means of committing suicide out of his/her reach. This would include alcohol and drugs that can be misused to end one’s life.
Another way to offer help to someone after a suicide attempt is to help him/her explore the real world and make realistic plans for the future. Doing so will help him/her focus on the productive aspects of life.
Probably, a suicide attempt was due to lack of self-confidence or absence of any kind of responsibility. Therefore, helping the other person know that he/she is responsible to complete certain tasks or should not miss out on a deadline can be helpful in keeping the person busy and occupied.
Taking help from family, friends and loved ones for the concerned individual can be a great help. This is because doing so will make multiple kinds of help available to the person as well as keep you much more relaxed and content.
While offering help to your loved one, it is important to remember that you cannot fulfill the role of a doctor or a counsellor. The better way to help the person concerned is by inspiring him/her seek the right kind of help at the right time. This can be a great way to help the person feel that better things do exist.
Having a safety plan in place is a great way to help the person stay safe as well as fight against all sort of suicidal thoughts. Keeping it ready can help the person feel more prepared, positive as well as motivated to fight against all odds.
Things can’t change suddenly. Therefore, it is essential that the individual concerned is given some time to get back to normal routine of his/her life. Understand that everything depends on the person’s thought process and hence, thinking about changing it overnight won’t help. This definitely is going to take some time and therefore, it is certainly better to stay calm and patient.
Incorporating lifestyle changes can be one of the best ways to help a person after a suicide attempt. Certainly, things cannot be as normal as they were before, but bringing some changes to one’s lifestyle can help a lot. For instance, attending counselling sessions, undergoing therapy and practicing meditation can prove to be some really effective ways.
Inspiring the concerned to engage in physical activities like sports, swimming, running and hiking can act as a great support system. Exercising on a regular basis is also an effective way to produce endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. But remember not to be pushy as this might be misconstrued and might backfire.
When providing support as a parent, friend or a partner, it is important for an individual to make sure that he/she is taking good care of his/her own health. This is important to make sure that your life stays in balance and you are also able to handle your personal life’s pressures and stressors with ease.
Things to do and avoid when offering help
A lot has been said and heard about ‘how to comfort someone after suicide attempt’ but that has not been successful in delivering the desired results. This, in turn, has started to bother many across the globe who have now begun to opt for some unusual ways to do so. While it is certainly important to offer the right kind of help to someone after a suicide attempt, there are a few things that one should keep in mind while doing so.
Things to do
- Give them the time they need.
- Stick to the plan.
- Dispose of all unused medications safely.
- Keep all dangerous items like firearms and weapons out of reach.
- Do not ignore any signs of danger.
- Be gentle with yourself.
- Keep emergency numbers easily available.
- Be ready to listen.
- Be prepared to handle emotional outbursts.
- Seek medical help.
Things not to do
- Using medications to keep the person in control.
- Ignoring signs of danger.
- Hoping that things will get better on their own.
- Treating it a shameful act.
- Focusing on the suicidal person at the cost of other members’ well-being.
- Snatching away their personal space.
- Blaming the person concerned for his/her act.
- Blaming oneself.
- Thinking that it won’t re-occur.
- Making statements like, ‘What on earth were you thinking?’ and ‘How could you do that?’
One must understand that there is no shame attached if someone tries to commit suicide. There is no need to feel stressed or burdened with the responsibility of hiding any such act. One must try and continue to stay strong so that it gets easier to fight against all odds and lead a fulfilling life.