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Understanding suicide attempts

Suicide attempts are often a response to a significant period of despair and distress.

They can be triggered by a multitude of issues, including mental health issues, trauma or stressful life events.

The person you care about and others who have attempted suicide may have similar or totally different experiences.

Mental health issues are not a prerequisite for a suicide attempt. One-quarter of the people we spoke to said the person they were supporting had no history of diagnosed mental illness, meaning they were not necessarily connected to support services at the time of their attempt.

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.

A lot of people think having a mental illness or [attempting] suicide is a weakness. My experience is quite the reverse. To continue to survive and live with that much pain, especially if you don’t have help and adequate support, takes an enormous amount of strength.

A person caring for their loved one

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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Those who had been diagnosed by a health professional had mental health issues including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. But not everyone who receives those diagnoses make attempts. There is no one type of person susceptible to attempting suicide.

You are not alone does not focus on strategies for ‘fixing’ the person you care about. The carers we spoke to identified one of the most helpful supports they found was hearing about the experiences of others who were providing care in similar situations. This is the premise upon which You are not alone is based. We focus on supporting you as the carer.

Please see our factsheet on suicidal behaviour or visit the SANE Help Centre if you need more information on suicidal ideation or attempts.