How do I talk to someone after a suicide attempt?

Discovering someone you care about has attempted to take their life can be a shock. You may find it hard to understand what led up to that point and why you were not able to help. It can be difficult to find the right words when you’re feeling quite emotional yourself. SuicideLine Victoria has some suggestions on how to start the conversation.

Discovering that someone you care about has attempted to take their life can be a shock. You may find it hard to understand what led up to that point and why you were not able to help.

 

“You may find it hard to understand what led up to that point and why you were not able to help.”

 

What’s important now is to support the person as they recover. It can be difficult to find the right words when you’re feeling quite emotional yourself. But you should try to create a safe place where you let the person know that you care about them.

 

Some suggestions on how to start the conversation

  • I’m sorry you’ve been feeling so bad. I am glad you are still here.
  • I am here for you. You can always talk to me whenever you need to.
  • I want to help. What can I do to support you?

Listen to the person and acknowledge their feelings and distress. Together you can come up with a realistic plan to deal with their emotional pain. In the beginning, it can be as simple as helping them to establish a routine.

If the person is not ready to talk, let them know that you are there for them whenever they are ready.

You do not have to take on the role of a doctor or counsellor. Seek additional support from other people and encourage the person to get professional help. You can help them make and keep the appointments with a health professional.

 

SuicideLine Victoria counsellors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – 1300 651 251.

If it is an emergency, call 000.

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