After a suicide attempt
Tangata mārama i te pō. A wise person, even in the night.
Myth: If a person has attempted suicide they will never attempt it again.
Fact: If a person has made an attempt at suicide, this may be a warning of more suicide attempts to come in the future. Making a previous attempt is a very high risk factor for suicide. It is necessary to make sure the person gets the help and support they need as soon as possible.
Finding out that someone you know has made a suicide attempt can be a shocking and stressful thing to go through. Sometimes people blame themselves for what has happened. The fact that your loved one, friend or family member has attempted suicide is not your fault. This is the time to take great care of everyone involved. Care and support for everyone affected strengthens the support you can give to your loved one who has made the attempt. This is the time to get all the information, help and advice that you can.
The first few days after a suicide attempt is a particularly hard time. Common feelings and reactions include: shame, guilt, anger, fear, avoidance, rejecting, minimising and withdrawal. You will be wondering whether they are ok, whether you can trust them and if it will happen again. As hard as it is, try to accept what has happened and focus on how you can support them now.
It can be difficult to know what to say or do. There are ways that you can equip yourself so that you are well informed and in the best position to offer support. You do not have to fill the role of counsellor, psychologist or doctor yourself. You do not have to be an expert. Remember, there is help out there and you will get through this. You do not have to be alone. In addition to the information we have provided below, more information can also be found on the Mental Health Foundation’s website.