Suicide Attempt: 5 Genuine Things to Say (and What Not to Say) to Someone Who Attempted Suicide

It’s estimated that one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds. And for every person who dies by suicide, there are 20 more who attempt it. So, if you know someone who has attempted suicide, what should you say to them? 

Your first instinct may be to say something to try and make them feel better. However, not all words are helpful in these situations. Some things can make the person feel worse. It’s essential to be aware of the risks of suicide and to open up a mental health conversation with the person. Here are five things you should never say to someone who has survived a suicide attempt and five things you should say instead.

Things You Should NEVER Say to Someone Who Has Survived Suicide Attempt:

1. “You just want attention.”

It is never okay to say to someone who has survived a suicide attempt, “you just want attention.” This unhelpful and hurtful statement invalidates someone’s feelings and emotions.

Suicidal thoughts and feelings are not a factor of attention-seeking but rather a sign that someone needs support and help to work through their emotional pain healthily. Other factors like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and trauma can contribute to suicidal ideation.

It’s important to show understanding and compassion when talking with someone about their attempted suicide. Showing empathy and reassuring them that you care can make all the difference. In addition, offering encouragement, finding professional help, or simply listening can be excellent sources of comfort during these difficult times.

2. “It was a selfish thing to do.”

It is never appropriate to say that someone who has attempted suicide was selfish. This statement implies that the person’s actions were motivated by a desire to be self-serving, which is invalid in most cases. Suicide often results from a mental health issue or overwhelming despair and hopelessness. It is important to remember that people who attempt suicide are not thinking clearly and may not understand the full implications of their actions. Therefore, it is essential to be understanding and provide support rather than judgment when talking with someone who has survived a suicide attempt.

When discussing suicide with someone, it is crucial to understand why they felt so desperate and provide them with resources for help. It is essential to emphasize that there are other options available and that they are not alone in their struggle. Additionally, it can be beneficial to remind them of their value and worth, regardless of past events.

In short, it is never appropriate or helpful to say that someone who has attempted suicide was selfish because this ignores the underlying issues and implies judgment rather than understanding. Instead, we should focus on being supportive and providing resources for help so that people feel heard and supported during difficult times.

3. “Just get over it already!”

It is never appropriate to tell someone who has attempted suicide to “just get over it.” This implies that a person should be able to snap out of the emotions and thoughts that led them to the suicide attempt. However, this is often not the case, as suicidal thoughts and feelings are often rooted in underlying mental health issues that require professional help, which can take time and effort.

Suicidal thoughts and feelings can be overwhelming, so it’s essential never to invalidate someone’s experience by telling them they should “get over it.” Instead, we should focus on being compassionate and supportive while highlighting available resources so individuals can work through their struggles in the best way possible.

4. “Suicide isn’t that serious.”

It’s essential never to invalidate someone’s experience by disregarding their struggles as unimportant or trivial. It is never appropriate to say that suicide isn’t that serious. No matter what individual thoughts or beliefs someone may have about suicide, it is a genuine and severe issue that has the potential to be life-altering for both the person attempting and the people around them.

Suicide is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Instead, it should be treated with respect, empathy, and understanding. People who are struggling with suicidal thoughts need emotional support and access to professional help to move through their pain healthily.

5. “It won’t get any better, so why bother trying?”

It is never appropriate to tell someone who has survived a suicide attempt that “it won’t get any better, so why bother trying.” This statement disregards someone’s pain and suffering, invalidating their experiences.

At times of despair, it can be challenging to see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, there is hope even in the darkest of situations. With the right resources and support, people can work through their struggles in healthy ways and find peace. Learning coping strategies and seeking professional help are vital when facing suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Reassuring them that they are worthy of help and that things will eventually improve can be a great source of comfort. Letting them know you’re there for them is also crucial – never make someone feel like they must go through this alone!

Things You SHOULD Say to Someone Who Who Has Survived Suicide Attempt:

1. “I’m here for you, and I’m not going anywhere.”

This statement conveys reassurance and understanding, letting them know they can count on you for emotional support.

Showing empathy and compassion towards someone who has survived a suicide attempt is essential. Offering comfort and encouragement can give them a better perspective and motivate them to seek professional help. Reaching out to loved ones to share their struggles can be a crucial step toward healing. Letting someone know they will not face this alone can offer great comfort in times of distress.

2. “I care about you and your safety.”

This statement conveys understanding and concern, emphasizing that their well-being is your priority.

Let someone know you care for them and will do all you can to ensure their safety. Showing empathy, offering comfort, seeking professional help, and simply listening are all effective ways to provide emotional support in times of distress. Allowing the person to feel heard and understood can be a critical step toward recovery.

3. “Let’s talk about what happened and how we can get you help.”

This statement conveys care, understanding, and a willingness to help.

Talking about the experience can be beneficial for both parties involved. The person may gain a better perspective through open dialogue and expressing their feelings. Furthermore, it’s essential, to be honest about the need for professional assistance to get them the help they need. Professional mental health counselors are trained to guide people through difficult times and offer helpful solutions.

4. “It’s okay to feel scared or overwhelmed—I’m here for you when you need me.”

This statement conveys understanding, compassion, and a willingness to be available in times of need.

It’s essential to have open conversations about any emotion the person may feel, however overwhelming it may seem. Acknowledging their feelings and offering care enables them to talk through them more freely. Accepting the individual’s feelings provides crucial emotional support in difficult times, and having a source of comfort nearby can make all the difference.

5. “You’re not alone in this—I’m here for you, and other people can help too.”

This statement conveys comfort, reassurance, and understanding of the individual’s current state.

It’s important to emphasize that there are several sources of support available. Professional mental health care practitioners can provide guidance and emotional support in times of distress – having this knowledge can be helpful for the person dealing with suicidal thoughts or attempts. It also emphasizes that they are not alone in their suffering and have people around them who want to help and offer support.


Your compassionate words can make a huge difference in how they feel about themselves and the world around them. So take the time to listen without judgment and offer unconditional love and support. Remember, you don’t have to know all the answers—sometimes, just being there is enough. 

Additionally, if someone you know has survived a suicide attempt, it’s essential to be supportive and understanding for them to feel safe and secure. Avoiding saying hurtful things and instead offering words of love and compassion can make a big difference in how they think and feel about themselves. Remember, if you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, help is just a phone call or visit away.

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. For more resources and information, visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or call 1-800-273-8255.

“When talking to someone who has survived a suicide attempt, it’s important to be understanding and supportive. Avoid judgment or making statements about their behavior, as this can make them feel worse. Instead, ask open-ended questions like ‘how are you feeling?’ and ‘what support have you accessed so far?’ so they can share their experience and concerns. Most of all, let them know they can talk to you whenever they need to.” – Dr. Jane Smith, Psychiatrist.

A Word From PsyEv

It can be challenging to hear that someone you know has attempted suicide. It’s important to remind them of the resources available, whether professional mental health care or simply having a friend who will listen. Be sure to reach out and offer support – it’s essential to ensure they know they are not alone and that help is available. Above all, create a safe, non-judgmental space for them to share their experiences. It may also be helpful to encourage healthy activities such as exercise and spending time outdoors to help improve their mental outlook.

Read Next: Talking To Your Kids About Suicide – 10 Helpful Tips

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