Survivors of suicide attempt
As you recover from a suicide attempt, lots of things may seem overwhelming. The most important thing is to take steps each day towards recovery and to give yourself time to adjust to a healthy lifestyle.
A common experience after surviving a suicide attempt is extreme fatigue. You also may be experiencing many intense emotions such as anger, embarrassment and being ashamed. These feelings are normal. It is important to realize that recovery is likely and everything you're feeling right now can get better.
If you received medical attention at a hospital after a suicide attempt you should have been given steps for follow-up care. If you were not, you can still do these steps on your own. Exact steps for follow-up will depend on the individual. Some steps for follow-up care include:
- A scheduled appointment in the near future with a mental health provider.
- Information on the treatments that you received in the emergency room.
- Referrals to local and national resources and crisis lines for information.
Consent for Treatment
Generally people have the right to consent or refuse treatment. However, if the physician believes you are a danger to yourself or someone else, he or she must consider hospitalizing you involuntarily for a short time. These laws vary by state. To learn more visit www.ndrn.org.
Recovery from the negative thoughts and feelings that made you want to end your life is possible. There are things that are in your control that can help your recovery.
- Create a safety plan: This plan should include signs that may indicate suicidal thoughts or feelings returning, when to seek additional help, the contact information for your doctor, a therapist and a trusted friend.
- Build a support system: Support is a key factor in recovering from a suicide attempt and preventing another one in the future.
- Learn to live again: The world can look like a pretty bleak place and might be a little overwhelming right now. Give yourself time to feel comfortable again. One of the best ways to do this is to get into a daily routine.
- Reach out for help if you experience continued thoughts of suicide: You can reach out to multiple sources like your doctor, your mental health professional or a friend. It really doesn't matter who as long as it's someone you trust. If there is no one you can think of, you can always reach out to the national crisis line at 1.800.273.TALK or 1.800.273.8255.
- Listen closely and carefully to the advice you receive from others: It can be hard to have someone tell you how to live your life, but sometimes being under pressure and focusing on getting healthy makes it hard to make good decisions, especially if you are still having thoughts of suicide. These people offering advice might have a more realistic view of the whole situation.
- Remove the means for hurting yourself from your environment: It's better to not have these things around. If you take medication, continue to take the prescribed dose; however, maybe have someone else hold the medication for you or keep a few days worth of medication on hand at a time. Other means of self harm, such as firearms, are best left with a trusted friend or family member for the time being.
- Identify what sets off or starts the suicidal thoughts for you: Make a plan to minimize the effect of these triggers in your life. If you can avoid the triggers it's best to do so, but reality is that is not always possible. Another option is to train yourself to respond differently, or to involve allies and friends in that situation ahead of time.
- Learn about mental illness: Mental illness is common in people who die by suicide or attempt suicide. While it can be scary, the best way to work towards recovery is learning about what causes suicidal thoughts and how to treat the illness.
- Learn about crisis hotlines: Hotlines provide you with a trained person to talk to when you are having suicidal thoughts 24 hours a day.
- Participate in a mutual peer-support group: Learning from others and sharing your experience can make a big difference in the way you think about your life. It may also help save the life of someone else.
- Get involved in life: Find a hobby such as listening to music, watching your favorite movie or collecting things. Hobbies that involve interacting with others is a good idea.
Information adapted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).