When someone you care about attempts to take their life, it can evoke a range of strong emotions from anger to fear and sadness. You may even feel you have experienced a trauma. It is important that you seek support and take steps to care for yourself.

Recognize that Recovery Takes Time

Recovery after an attempt usually extends long beyond hospitalization, and will involve support from professionals, friends, and family. Encourage your loved one to stay in counseling, and to communicate any thoughts of self-harm to their treatment provider. Be patient and gentle. Don’t be discouraged by what may seem like setbacks or slow progress. The recovery process is different for everyone.

Know Your Presence Matters

Your loved one may feel alone or view themselves as a burden on you and the others who love them. One of the best ways to support them is by being present. Spending time with your loved one in-person is best, but there are many other ways to connect including video chat, phone, text, and social media.

Help Create a Safety Plan

If you are a parent, spouse, or caretaker, ask your health care provider how you can help make their living environment safe. This includes reducing access to means such as removing or safely storing firearms or other weapons and medications. Ask your loved one what they need and support them in creating a long-term safety plan for their recovery.

Learn more about how to support a loved one after a suicide attempt at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.