How Does The Suicide of One Family Member Affect the Others?

How does the suicide of 1 family member affect the rest?
Yastika Kamboj
Written by Yastika Kamboj

SUICIDE: the word itself is dark, isn’t it?

As soon as you read/hear it, a chill runs down your spine and you can feel your attention is directed toward that dreaded truth. The sad part is, almost all of us have experienced this feeling of sudden sadness and shock– almost all of us have come across one or more incident of people trying to (succeeding or failing) take their lives; and these people, more than often, are not strangers but people we know.

While it is clear that a person who is willing to take his/her life must be going through something so devastating that the only way out seems to be to kill oneself, has anyone ever wondered about the psychological well-being of those who are related to the victim?

The degree of closeness of relationships with the victim may vary from person to person. Nevertheless, most of the acquaintances will have a similar set of questions and feelings related to the event. Apart from the immense pain and sadness of loss, the victim’s family often experience guilt. This guilt mainly arises from two questions:-

“Was I responsible?”

Consider a child whose mother tries to kill herself. This child, who is not mature enough to understand what his mother was actually going through, may end up blaming himself. The thought of whether he had done something to contribute to his mother’s actions may end up haunting him for the rest of his life.

Similarly, consider the spouse of the same woman. He may also end up questioning his role in his wife’s suicidal attempt.

This question can evoke serious feelings of guilt in a person and can cause a lot of distress for the person. Therefore, these feelings need to be worked upon rather than being ignored or else they will affect the person’s way of living and may have a long-term negative effect on the person’s psychological well-being.

“Could I have done anything to stop it?”

Often when somebody you know attempt to take their life, you take a trip to the past. You start picking up signs that you missed back then, you start wondering if you could have changed anything. Be it a family member, a co-worker or a neighbor- people always wonder if they could have done anything to stop this. This again results in guilt.

The important thing here would be to address these emotions no matter what. Such events can prove to be quiet traumatic even if their effects are not overtly expressed. Professional help would be a good option here.

Moreover, you could always minimize the possibility of developing the guilt. Since prevention is better than cure, this can be done by preventing suicides. With the increasing rates of suicides all over the world, it is very important to pay attention to suicide prevention.

How can you save your loved ones from comitting suicide?

  1. Keep a lookout for people who might have suicidal ideation.
  2. If you think that someone you know might be going through a difficult phase in their lives, talk to them. Express your support and concern. Just knowing that someone cares for you can actually help a person.
  3. Inform the family of the individual and the required authorities. The person must be kept under surveillance until he/she becomes stable.
  4. Get the person professional help. Psychological assistance is very important in such cases.
  5. Do look for signs such as withdrawal, lack of interest, a change in behavior, etc. There may also be changes in appetite or sleep patterns. All of those who have suicidal ideation may not express it overtly. But if you look closely, you can always see the signs.


We may thus conclude that many the suicide of one family member can be very difficult to handle for the rest of the family. Nevertheless, suicides can be prevented with a little bit of support, understanding and the right kind of help. This help is also required by those who have lost a family member to a successful suicide attempt.

Click here to contact mental health professionals from Mind Solace for therapy sessions, and provide someone you know with the help they might need.



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Yastika Kamboj

Yastika Kamboj

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