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Have a Friend Who Has Attempted Suicide?

When a friend attempts suicide it’s of course it’s an awful time for everyone involved, including family, friends, and other loved ones. Often the attention goes only to the person who attempted suicide. Not that it shouldn’t, but family and loved ones are also victims to suicide, just in a different way.

The questions you might ask yourself are, how do reach out? I don’t want to turn my back on them, so what can I do? Understand this first: Anyone who has attempted suicide needs true friends by his or her side, but being a friend will be difficult until the person works through whatever crisis propelled them to attempt the suicide in the first place. The rewards, however, can create a tight bond between the two, as long as it is a sincere one.

Here are some tips about what to consider:

  • What are your thoughts and feelings around 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, the friendship has a chance.
  • Get Honest!  Are you motives for friendship sincere, or are they mostly about the curiosity of what drove this person to try? If you are mostly curious, then there will be problems with sincerity.
  • Revisit your Established Relationship. How have you treated him/her? If your contact was negative, regardless of whose fault, realize that negativity can be magnified to become a source of intense pain. If it’s the case that there are negative feelings and you are part of it, apologize for your part. Be serious, because if you can’t sincerely apologize then you need to back away from the possible relationship. Usually though, you have done little or nothing to make things either worse or better for this person. In this case, skip the following step.
  • Don’t be Casual in your Greetings. If you normally have met this person with a “Hi” has you passed, you should find out the person’s general interest beforehand if you can. This way, when you say “Hi” you can follow it with something specific. Like a specific teacher that you each have, or a gym where you both work out, or even that you’ve read a book by the same author. The key is to open the lines of communication.
  • Be Consistent! Once you start reaching out, don’t be hot and cold about it. One day you have conversation and the next day you ignore them…that’s no way to make a friend even if they haven’t attempted suicide. But, don’t be on top of them all the time with questions, it becomes annoying. In general, checking in 2-3 times a week is good.



Recovery Rob is a 47-year-old man who has more than nineteen years of sobriety, whose drugs of choice at one time were alcohol and drugs, and he has worked in and around the field of addiction for more than 20 years. Recovery Rob is a professional writer who has published two novels and is currently working on his third. He has been writing and working as Pat Moore Foundation’s premiere blogger and content writer, which helps keeps Pat Moore Foundation’s addiction and recovery blog top-rated.