UPDATE May 27, 2014: I have updated this post, to say that I no longer agree with the definitions below. Please see the post, “Wait, Who Is a Suicide Survivor Again?” I am leaving this post up because I’m told by bloggers far more experienced than I that you should never remove a post, only update it. – SF
Suicide means to die a self-inflicted death, so how can anybody be called a survivor of suicide?
Of course, nobody survives their own death. The term “suicide survivor” – or “survivor of suicide” – is reserved for those left behind. It is used in the same sense that an obituary will say, “The deceased is survived by ….”
The person who died by suicide is gone. Those who remain are survivors.
But Wait – What About People who Survive a Suicide Attempt?
In recent years, more and more people who have attempted suicide and survived have shared their stories publicly. They often are referred to as “suicide survivors,” which can get more than a little confusing.
Suicide Survivor vs. Suicide Attempt Survivor
It helps to keep in mind that there are two types of survivors – people who survive the suicide of a loved one, and people who survive a suicide attempt. So, more accurately, somebody who attempts suicide and lives to tell about is a suicide attempt survivor, not a suicide survivor.
For More Information
As this site develops, I will write more about suicide survivors and about suicide attempt survivors. In the meantime, I have listed some good resources below.
For more information for and about survivors of suicide, check out these sites:
For more information for and about survivors of suicide attempts, this pioneering site is excellent:
© Copyright 2013 Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, All Rights Reserved, Written for www.speakingofsuicide.com
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