This information has been put together from the insight and wisdom of people who have experienced suicide attempts. It contains information for your support network, friends and family.
You are not alone – you can get through this
Life after a suicide attempt is a confusing time, ones that will needs time and patience. Getting your life back to feeling worthwhile and meaningful is possible with the right support. You may not have the answers right now, but in time, you can recover emotionally and physically.
If you have just attempted suicide, it is important to see a doctor, even if you think you feel OK. It is important even if the attempt does not appear life threatening.
If you have gone to hospital, the environment can be overwhelming, but your mental health is just as important. Medical staff will look for signs of any physical injuries first. You should then be seen by a member of the mental health team, who may offer you an assessment. This will be an opportunity for you to talk about what happened and what led to your suicide attempt. The mental health worker will use this information to assess your needs going forward. They may make an appointment to see you again over the next few days and put you in touch with the community mental health team.
Regardless of what they offer, in Northamptonshire you can access any of the Crisis Cafes, for same day support while plans are put into action. Talking over your experience will help the healing process. It is worthwhile making an appointment to see your regular GP who can set up some regular checks, discuss medication if appropriate and monitor how you are coping and if you have the support you need in place.
With the right support in place you should be able to go home. If you do not feel safe to return home, say so, and ask what other options are available. It can be helpful to write this information down so that you can refer to it again later. Often it can be hard to remember things when you are tired or stressed.
Before you head home make sure you understand:
- What you can do to make it easier to get through the next few days.
- What supports are available and useful to you when you return home.
- What you should do if you feel suicidal again.
- Names and contact details for counselling or other support services.
- Names and contact details for emergency services.
Health professionals are individuals, and equally their responses may differ from one to another; what is important if that you feel you can talk openly about your problems, and understand the options the mental health team can offer you.
If you do not feel safe, please ask what other help they can offer.
The first few days after a suicide attempt are important, many questions will arise, and they may not always have answers. There are things that you can do to help yourself, including making your own crisis safety plan. You may wish to address such questions such as,
What happened, and how did you reach the point of your suicide attempt?
How can you stay safe, what steps can you take to take back control?
In setting yourself on a path to recovery it can be useful to have these reminders:
- Let other people support you.
- Stay with a friend or family or invite them to stay at yours, if you live alone.
- Be open minded to the advice of the professionals, keep appointment and take the medication they prescribe.
- Routine is important, try to have the same waking time, mealtimes and bedtime.
- Remove objects that you could harm yourself with, avoid the use of alcohol and drugs.
- Respond to people in your support network, if you are not yet ready to talk, acknowledge their offer and let them know you will talk when you’re feeling ready.
- Surround yourself with people who you trust, who will listen to you without judgment and who you enjoy being with.
- Different people can offer different support, some are good listeners, other are practical. There is room for a whole range of people in your support network but make sure you identify at least one person you feel that you can talk with about how you are feeling.
- Have the numbers of helplines, Samaritans etc in your contacts.
Talking to others about your suicide attempt is very personal. It’s normal to feel a little unsure and worried about what others might think. Try not to be pressured into talking before you are ready but use the time to think about how you may respond and talk to those you trust. Often a short response such as “Things have been really difficult for me lately and I attempted suicide. I just wanted to let you know what I have been dealing with and that I am trying to get back on track”
It can be useful to plan an agreement with your confidents about what can be shared, but also to dispel gossip. It’s OK to be clear about what you need from others, whether it’s time to be listened to, or when you would like to talk about something other than your suicide attempt.