Last night one of my best friends attempted suicide. She sent me a goodbye message and I immediately called 911, had I not done so as quick as I did she might not be with us today. I have never had a friend attempt suicide before… I have felt concerns for that sort of thing happening but its never actually happened. I feel like im in such a shock about it. I had a multi hour panic attack last night until I knew she was going to live. I am so relieved today that shes okay. I just want to do something to help make things better. Does anyone have suggestions on how to support someone after a suicide attempt ? I was thinking on a little gift / care basket or something. Id just love some ideas. I want it to be clear to her that it was worth it to be saved. I want her to know how loved and cared for she is.
First off, thank you for being a good friend in a time like your friend went through. People need to be more like that. My first thought would be the gift of time. Time to talk with your friend, so she can know that someone cares for her and wants to listen to her. Maybe grab some coffee or some food that can help with having a conversation or even just sitting together.
I know for me it is nice to just know that someone is there for me and supports me. Words aren’t always needed, especially in those types of situations. Take care of yourself as well. We cannot pour into others from an empty cup. Thank you for being you. You matter so much!
Starfox is right. Your time is the most valuable gift. She needs someone who listens without judgment. When she’s ready, she may ask you how you cope with life. Often, the despair that leads to suicidal thoughts or attempts, is the result of feeling emotionally isolated, or that there’s no hope of anyone understanding the suffering. A very common barrier to receiving support is the reluctance to share personal feelings, due to feelings of guilt or embarrassment.
It’s good to be aware of these possible issues, but asking questions about them will likely lead to emotional distancing. It’s best to let her decide what she’s willing to discuss.
Just being there, even if it’s to watch a silly movie and eat pizza, will help her to feel there’s more to life than suffering. Often, it takes the presence of just one good friend to change a life for the better.
You are such a wonderful friend, @cs15. Thank you so much for what you did and for ensuring your friends safety. As it happened very recently, it is possible that they will be in shock themselves for a little bit. Oftentimes, the moments following a suicide attempt can bring a lot of guilt and shame for the person who attempted. Your presence, your words and kind gestures will absolutely help counteract those feelings, and show that they are loved and cared for, no matter what. It will be mostly a matter of finding the right balance, with your friend, between communicating honestly (not ignoring or silencing what happened) and respecting your friend’s pace ( if they don’t want to talk, then they don’t have to).
Your friendship and presence alone will show to them that what happened doesn’t change the amount of care and love you have for them. But also that they are not alone during this difficult time. You being you and caring is the greatest gift of all, really. Everything else is just about ways to express that love.
Please make sure to take care of yourself too. This can be very draining emotionally, and you surely needs your own time and space to process too.