Do you have a friend or family member who has attempted suicide or thought about doing so? A new program can support them to recover.
Anglicare offers a program called The Way Back Support Service. It is funded by the Australian and Tasmanian governments.
The Way Back Support Service is available to people who have visited one of Tasmania’s major hospitals following a suicide attempt or suicidal crisis. It provides them with tailored support for up to three months. It’s free and confidential.
Check the web page for more information on how the service works and to watch a video that explains why it is important.
What can I do to help?
There are some practical things you can do to support a friend or family member who has attempted suicide. The following information is taken from a resource booklet called ‘Guiding their way back’. It was put together by people with a personal experience of suicide.
- The first step is to support the person to have a mental health assessment.
- Let them know you’re there to listen if they want to talk. Ask questions of and talk openly with the health professionals involved. Make sure you and the person you are supporting understand how confidentiality works in this situation.
- In the first few days after the suicide attempt, help them to establish a routine with sleeping, meals and exercise and encourage them to keep appointments. Make sure their home environment is safe. Reassure them that there is hope and that they are not alone.
Make a safety plan
A safety plan can help the individual and their support networks if thoughts of suicide return. You might be able to help your friend or family member to put one together or you could encourage them to develop one with a health professional. A safety plan contains useful information such as:
- a list of the signs or signals that the person is getting stressed
- a list of strategies they can use to get through the times when the urge to take their life is greatest
- a list of people they can talk to when they are struggling
- a list of professional services to contact, including 24 hour and emergency services.
Look after yourself
You may experience a range of intense and unexpected emotions when someone you care about attempts suicide. You may feel panicked, shocked, confused, angered, betrayed, guilty or sad. There is no right or wrong way to react. Make sure you have your own support network and that you are looking after your own physical and mental wellbeing.
“It is important to remember that there is hope for change but that change often happens slowly.” (Beyond Blue’s resource booklet, “Guiding their way back”)
If you need urgent assistance, always ring Triple Zero, 000 or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
Here are some helpful websites:
Rural Alive and Well Tasmania – for people in rural and regional areas
headspace – for younger people.