After a Suicide Attempt

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“The thing that helped me the most was getting to see my counselor weekly. Having that time to talk with somebody to learn new thinking skills and patterns for when my brain went to those old thoughts and behaviors was so crucial.
Simple coping skills to change my energy were also helpful: going for walks, going to the mountains, listening to music that inspired and motivated me, having a journal that I could write anything and everything in and essentially getting out the thoughts that were inside my head.”

- Taryn, Utah Attempt Survivor

 

Suicide Attempt Survivor Support Groups


Get support from others who understand, as well as tools to keep yourself safe and cope with future suicide crises. Two support groups for Suicide Attempt Survivors currently exist in Utah:

-For LGBTQ attempt survivors: 8 week summer and fall groups are available through the Utah Pride Center. Contact , 385-831-0872

-General suicide attempt survivors; 8 week group taking place at the Provo Canyon Behavioral Hospital, 1350 E 750 N Orem, Utah. Email or call Alex C Gonzalez at 801-852-2273, for more information.

 

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What Family Members Can Do

Remove all guns from the house and restrict access to lethal means as much as possible.

Remind and support your loved one in following their Safety Plan. Develop one today at: http://www.sprc.org/sites/default/files/Brown_StanleySafetyPlanTemplate.pdf

Suggest a session with the therapist for the loved one and the family/caretakers before leaving the hospital.

Get individual and family therapy.

Create scales for 3-5 emotions or thoughts such as loneliness, depression, or suicidal thoughts that can help gauge how he or she is doing and whether or not they need your help. (See page 10 for more details.)

Family members need to be supported to deal with their own feelings/reactions. Reach out to trusted friends for help and encourage the rest of the family to do the same.

Ask your mental health professional for information on suicide and mental illness. Learn more about what your loved one is experiencing and possibly how to help.

Talk about it with trusted friends and/or family members.

Be gentle with yourself and remember to take care of yourself also.

Try to make statements such as, “I’m sorry you felt that way and I wish I could have helped you” or “I’m sorry I didn’t realize you were in such pain” or “I can’t imagine how bad you must have felt” or finally, “I want to help you, tell me what I can do to help you now.”

(Adapted from Heidi Bryan’s Booklet “Now What Do We Do")

“While chances
are your loved one won’t
attempt again, he or she is
still at an increased risk
for dying by suicide. The
first six months after a
hospitalization are
especially critical to the
suicide attempt survivor,
and the person remains at
an elevated risk for the
entire first year

(Heidi Bryan’s Booklet “Now What Do We Do")

Other Resources


MY3 App

Download this free app for your cell phone. It contains an outline for a safety plan that helps attempt survivors and others at risk for suicide to identify the thoughts, situations, and feelings that lead to a suicidal crisis, as well as the coping mechanisms, distractions, social supports, crisis contacts, and environmental safety precautions that can help them manage suicidal thoughts and stay safe.

After an Attempt: A Guide for Medical Providers in the Emergency Department

Provides some quick tips to enhance care in the emergency department for people who have attempted suicide, while also providing information on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), patient discharge, and resources about suicide for medical professionals, patients, and their families.

After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Yourself After Treatment in the Emergency Department

SPRC's 15-page brochure provides family members of those who've attempted suicide with practical information regarding the likely assessment, treatment, and follow-up the family member will receive during and after their visit to the emergency department.

After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department

Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

“Now What Do We Do: The Emotional Impact of a Suicide Attempt on Families,” by Heidi Bryan

Includes what to do, what not to do to be supportive to a family member after an attempt and take care of yourself and the other members of your family. 

Support for Persons Living with Suicidal Thoughts and Suicide Attempts

This website is a resource by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for people who have made suicide attempts in the past, have had thoughts of suicide, or are thinking about suicide now to help you remain safe and find hope. With help comes hope.

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Support groups and classes for individuals living with mental health conditions as well as their families.

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