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Caring for a carer

It’s not always easy to support someone who cares for a person who has attempted suicide.

Often people don’t know what to say and wonder if they shouldn’t mention suicide. Fear of saying the wrong thing can stop people saying anything at all, which makes carers feel unsupported.

If you’re unsure of what to do or say, ask the carer if they need anything or if they would like to talk. They will know you are available to support them if they need a helping hand.

Check in with the person regularly, not just in the period immediately after the attempt. They are likely to be impacted for some time. They may not have a lot of people looking out for them: you might be their preferred pillar of support.

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.

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How to care for a carer

  • Caring for someone who has attempted suicide involves both practical and emotional support.
  • Offer to help in multiple ways — grocery shopping, running errands, driving the carer to appointments, calling to check in and so forth. You never know what is most useful to them.
  • You don’t have to fix the problem. Just listening and empathising is helpful.
  • Not every conversation you have with them has to focus on challenging topics — it’s okay to have a laugh if that's what they want.
  • Ask how they’re coping with their other responsibilities. Carers may also be juggling work, study, family, relationships and other commitments. How’s the rest of their life going? Listen empathetically and offer support, but don’t insist. They’re in charge.