Someone you love attempted suicide. Where do you go from here? | NAMI

Someone you love attempted suicide. Where do you go from here?

Posted on September 3, 2023

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., with nearly 50,000 deaths in 2021, according to the CDC. The rate of attempts is many times higher, said Dr. Ken Duckworth, NAMI CMO. A survivor once told Duckworth that she felt like an “emotional burn victim” and every part of her was tender and exposed. “What do you do with that person? You want them to feel better, but it’s going to be very difficult,” he said. One thing that makes the aftermath particularly hard is the feeling of shame that often accompanies surviving a suicide attempt, Duckworth said. Even without any stigma, there might be strong feelings around a suicide attempt such as anger, fear, sadness or confusion, Duckworth said. When it is time to start talking, you and the survivor can set expectations together, either one-on-one or with a therapist, Duckworth said. He recommended taking steps to help expand the survivor’s view of available resources. Support groups may be available to allow a person to talk about experiences with those who share similar ones. Even though you may feel like it, the attempt is not a failure of your love and support, Duckworth said. NAMI offers Family-to-family education courses, Duckworth said.


NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).