How To Cope After A Loved One Attempts Suicide


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Living in the aftermath of a loved one’s attempted suicide can be stressful and overwhelming for many. Depending on whether the survivor has removed themselves from the situation that led to the attempt, it can be harrowing to watch someone we care about try to repair their lives without the fear that it will happen again, especially since the highest risk period for another attempt is within the first three months.

While suicide survivors all have different reasons for trying to take their own lives, moving forward can entail some of the same processes, both for the survivor and for their families and friends. Generally, everyone involved needs to try to be patient, understanding, and present where the survivor is concerned and know that every day must be taken as it comes. Coping with life in terms of months or years is not always the easiest task for survivors. Sometimes, they need assistance with becoming more social, with their finances, or with repairing friendship , and that is all to be expected.

The reasons people turn to suicide are all varied, but they are not all easy to understand, especially when they involve trauma or emotional distress that the survivor doesn’t want to delve into. It’s important to remember that some things will be outside your understanding, and that’s okay; it won’t affect your ability to help your loved one. There could be underlying medical issues--such as bipolar disorder-- at the root of the problem that haven’t been diagnosed yet, so speaking to a medical professional is imperative when learning how to proceed. In fact, undiagnosed bipolar disorder is commonly linked to alcoholism, which can in turn lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the use of alcohol can make the disorder worse or even make it more difficult for doctors to diagnose and treat.For many survivors, limited interaction with particular people or behaviors from their past might be helpful, especially if drug use was involved. But in many cases, the ability to reconnect with old friends or certain family members could be very helpful in healing and moving on. It’s up to the survivor to decide.

For many survivors, limited interaction with particular people or behaviors from their past might be helpful, especially if drug use was involved. But in many cases, the ability to reconnect with old friends or certain family members could be very helpful in healing and moving on. It’s up to the survivor to decide.

Sometimes, telling our stories can be necessary in order to get a sense of closure. Opening up to a therapist or trusted friend is one option, or there are sites like LiveThroughThis.org which give a voice to survivors and allows them to talk about what they went through, in part to help others who have been in similar situations or are having suicidal thoughts.

One of the most important aspects of helping a loved one through a suicide attempt is to make sure they stay on a healthy path, including taking any medication that stabilizes moods, refraining from isolation, and maintaining a lifestyle well away from any bad decisions that may have contributed to the attempt.

There are few right answers when it comes to coping with the suicide attempt of a loved one, and living with their decision can be overwhelming for everyone involved. However, you are not alone. There are many ways to ask for help that will ensure you and your loved one are well cared for during such a stressful time.

Jennifer McGregor has wanted to be a doctor since she was little. Now, as a pre-med student, she’s well on her way to achieving that dream. She helped create PublicHealthLibrary.org with a friend as part of a class project. With it, she hopes to provide access to trustworthy health and medical resources. When Jennifer isn’t working on the site, you can usually find her hitting the books in the campus library or spending some downtime with her dog at the local park.

Photo by Unsplash


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