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About You are not alone

How was You are not alone developed?

You are not alone was developed by SANE Australia, with the support of the Grenet Merrin Foundation and the Ian Potter Foundation.

This innovative and evidence-based resource was created in collaboration with people who have lived experience of supporting a partner, relative, or friend after a suicide attempt.

You are not alone provides information and advice to support those caring for someone who has attempted suicide.

If someone is at immediate risk, call 000 or visit your nearest hospital.

If someone is at immediate risk, call 000 or visit your nearest hospital.

Witnessing someone's suicide attempt, or supporting them afterwards, can be extremely distressing.

For more information on how to get support and look after yourself, see our factsheet: Traumatic events.

What's on this page

01 Available support

We explored international literature relating to the provision of care for people who have attempted suicide attempt and members of their support network.

02 Speaking to carers

We spoke to people in Australia who provide this kind of care. More than 750 people responded an online survey and 30 completed in-depth interviews to expand upon the most important aspects of their experience.

03 Think tank sessions

We held collaboration sessions to understand what health professionals, community health professionals and people with lived experience wanted from this resource.

04 Lived experience review

People with lived experience reviewed the site's content and design to ensure it's suitability for the people its designed to serve.

We spoke to people in Australia who provide this kind of care. More than 750 people responded an online survey and 30 completed in-depth interviews to expand upon the most important aspects of their experience.

People with lived experience reviewed the site's content and design to ensure it's suitability for the people its designed to serve.

yana process diagram

We explored international literature relating to the provision of care for people who have attempted suicide attempt and members of their support network.

We held collaboration sessions to understand what health professionals, community health professionals and people with lived experience wanted from this resource.

The first two stages of development produced a research report, which you can read on our website.

The title of this resource – You are not alone – was inspired by a comment made by one of our lived experience collaborators during a collaboration session.

‘(The thing we want people to know is) you (the carer) are not alone, as a reminder of the physical and invisible support connections that bind us.’

A mother who cares for her adult daughter

What did we find?

In developing You are not alone, we identified three critical periods when support is most important:

  1. At the time of a suicide attempt.
  2. When the person is discharged from medical care, or when the initial crisis period subsides.
  3. If the person attempts suicide more than once.

People in caring roles in these situations want to understand how the health system works in Australia. They also need to know their legal rights  to ensure they can provide and advocate for the best support possible for the person they care about. Mostly, they want the needs of that person to be honoured.

People with experience of caring for someone who has attempted suicide emphasised the need for the person who made the attempt, their supporters and the various members of their healthcare team to work together.

‘We didn’t have any mental health issues in the family and hadn’t come across it before, so it’s been a steep learning curve in that regard and trying to find the correct help for her.’

A mother who cares for her adult daughter

This insight directly informed our inclusion of information and advice about how to work with health professionals whilst also supporting your own needs and the needs of the person you care about. You are not alone also includes some tips for those caring for a carer.

Quotes from the stories our lived experience collaborators shared can be found throughout this resource. We hope they serve as a reminder that there is no one way to respond to or support someone you care about after they’ve attempted suicide. But there are many who have been through similar experiences.

You are not alone.

About the
research team

Dr Sarah Wayland

Sarah Wayland, PhD is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney, Australia. She has a background in social work, specialising in traumatic responses to grief and loss. Her PhD focussed on the complexity of hope for families left behind when someone is missing, with her academic track record providing scope to explore suicide bereavement, suicide-attempting behaviours and the needs of people who go missing when mental health issues are prominent. She is a qualitative researcher and speaks nationally and internationally about loss and trauma.

Professor Myfanwy Maple

Myfanwy Maple, PhD is a Professor in the School of Health at the University of New England, Australia. Dr Maple’s research focusses on trauma and loss, with a particular emphasis on understanding risk and resilience following exposure to suicide. Her work is focussed on authentically including the voices of those with firsthand lived experience to better inform policy, research and teaching.

Dr Michelle Blanchard

Michelle Blanchard, PhD is the Deputy CEO at SANE Australia. Michelle is also the founding Director of SANE’s Anne Deveson Research Centre, which partners with people with mental health issues and their family, friends and colleagues to drive policy and social change. Michelle is also an Honorary Senior Fellow in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Ms Genevieve Ladd

Genevieve Ladd is the Project Lead for You are not alone. She works on putting the voice of those with lived experience at the centre of projects and teams who serve them across the SANE Australia Support Services. Genevieve is also currently studying an MSc in Global Public Policy with a focus on public health policy.

Ms Sarah Coker

Sarah Coker is Manager of Youth Mental Health at North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network. Sarah's background is in social science and psychology and she has worked in the mental health sector for over 20 years. Her passions include qualitative research, working to prevent suicide and enabling the lived experience of people with mental illness to help reduce stigma and increase help-seeking. Sarah is an experienced mental health project manager, workforce trainer and qualitative social researcher.