Clinical Hub,Patient Education,Health and Nutrition Facts For You,Psychosocial, Bereavement, Psychiatry

After a Suicide Attempt (5410)

After a Suicide Attempt (5410) - Clinical Hub, Patient Education, Health and Nutrition Facts For You, Psychosocial, Bereavement, Psychiatry


After a Suicide Attempt

This guide will discuss some of the thoughts and feelings a person who survives a suicide
attempt might have. It also offers some ways family members and friends can help.

What do people feel or think after surviving a suicide attempt?

The person may have mixed emotions. Feelings might include:

ξ Relief to be alive
ξ Shame
ξ Guilt
ξ Thankfulness
ξ Embarrassment
ξ Regret
ξ Depression
ξ Lack of memory
ξ Sinfulness
ξ Sense of being saved by divine
ξ Ambivalence
ξ Confusion
ξ A sense of failure
ξ Anger

What can friends and family members do to help?

At first, you can…

ξ Let them know you love them.
ξ Let them know you’re glad they are
ξ Let them know you’ll be there for
ξ Be there for them. While the person
who has tried to commit suicide may
not want to talk, your presence is
ξ Offer to help them make connections
to spiritual and cultural supports.
ξ Get support for yourself.

Later, you might want to…

ξ Give the person chances to talk
freely about the attempt. Allow the
person to talk about the events
leading up to the attempt.
ξ Let the person know it’s OK to tell
someone if they feel suicidal in the
ξ Give him the phone number of the
local crisis line and emergency room.
ξ Ask the person if meeting with a
therapist or counselor would be
ξ If they are not already seeing a
counselor, suggest an evaluation by a
doctor for depression or other
ξ Help the person get back in touch
with mental health workers and
support people.
ξ Get support for yourself.

What does not seem to help the survivor?

ξ Staying away from the person or
their family.
ξ Expressing blame or anger toward
the person, yourself, or others.
ξ Telling the person they should not
talk about it.
ξ Telling the person they should talk
about it before they are ready.
ξ Telling the person they should not
feel as they do.

These are very common feelings. If you are struggling with any of them, it is important for you
to get support for yourself. Therapists, counselors and support groups can all help. They can
help you to better understand how to support someone after a suicide attempt.

For more information

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Dane County (608) 249-7188
Wisconsin (608) 268-6000

National Suicide Prevention line
1-800-273-TALK (8255)
1-800-799-4TTY (4889) TTY

Resource people at UWHC: social workers, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, chaplains, and

Community resources:
If you have health insurance, you might have access to counseling. Call your insurance
or speak to your health care provider for more information.

If you do not have health insurance, call your local county Department of Human
Services. The Mental Health Coordinator can provide information on resources specific
to your area.

Connect with the local Survivors of Suicide support group. For Dane County call 280-2700
You may wish to check out their website: www.survivorsofsuicide.com

If you are concerned that your friend or family member is at this time having suicidal thoughts or
feelings, call your local 24-hour crisis line (in Dane County at 608-280-2600).

Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©2/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5410.