Immediately after an attempt

Maybe you have just returned home from the hospital or you may be trying to make sense of what led you to consider suicide.  The “why” of suicide is complex and answers may not come easily.  

Your journey of healing is one that many have been on and survived.  Your life matters.

How did I get here?

You may not understand all of the thoughts and feelings that led you to consider suicide, and that’s okay.

Many people who feel suicidal are experiencing a mental health concern, which is treatable.  You may also have been experiencing stressful life events, found it difficult to express your feelings, or felt yourself isolating from others.

While you may still have challenges, many people who survive a suicide attempt begin to see those challenges in a new light and realize that there are people available to support them.

You don’t need to have all of the answers to heal from this experience. There is a way through.

Interacting with family and friends

Sometimes people do not know what to say following a suicide attempt. They may be frightened, confused, or angry, and say things that are not helpful to your recovery.  They may also avoid discussing it with you.

They may need time to process what has happened.    Their journey is not your journey however, and you are not responsible for how they decide how to work through their feelings.

If asked about your attempt, tell people what you are comfortable telling them, or that you need time.  Take some time to recover.  Enlist the help of family and friends to help you with day-to-day responsibilities for a time as you need them.  Be clear with people around you what you need and what is not helping you.   Only you can tell them what you need or don’t need.

Things you can do to support your recovery.

You experienced a significant health event and just as you would while you are recovering from any other health converns, you will need time, reflection, and support from others during your recovery. 

1.  Be kind to yourself.  You have just survived a life-threatening health crisis and you deserve to take the time you need.

2. Take care of your health.  Exercising, eating right, getting enough sleep and spending time with healthy people can have a huge impact on your health and mood.

3. Find a mental health professional.  A good therapist or doctor can help you put this experience in proper perspective.  They can also help you develop a safety plan and find ways to address life stressors.

4.  Try a support group.  There are different kinds of support groups, including those for depression and other mental health conditions and for those who have survived a suicide attempt.  A group can help you know you are not alone.  

5. Talk to those you trust.  When you’re ready, let them know what happened and that you want them to help you stay safe.

Make a safety plan

Having a safety plan that addresses the following is an essential component of your recovery and will help understand what takes you to crisis.

  1.  Triggers.  Recognize what puts you at risk.
  2. Coping strategy.  Find coping strategies that do not rely on the presence of others.
  3. People and places.  Engage with people and go to places that help to take your mind off your problems.  These people do not have to know what is going on with you, they just make you happy and let you get lost in activity and fun.
  4. Personal supports.  These are friends or family who know what is going on with you and can help protect you in a crisis.
  5. Important numbers.  These are a quick reference to numbers of health care professionals or health services you can use.
  6. Keep your environment safe.  Ensure your space is free of things that can harm you.  
  7. Have a why statement. This is a reason why you want to live to remind yourself when you need that reminder.

Want to learn more about safety planning? Take a look at the resource Safety Plans to Prevent Suicide.