When dealing with loved ones of attempters please use compassion and care. You do not know the history behind what they have been through so do not make assumptions.
- Do not threaten to lock up the attempter
- Do not threaten to over medicate the attempter
- Do not threaten the family member with the inability to see their loved one.
Do ask if there are any questions and then answer those questions to the best of your ability. If you do not know an answer , be honest.
Understand that the loved ones are under extreme stress and their brains may not be working properly. You may have to ask for insurance cards, and information more than once. This is not because they are trying to make your job harder it is because they are in shock.
Do not treat the loved ones as criminals. They did nothing wrong and are trying to figure out what they can do from the reality they are living in now.
Do not send a suicide attempter home with loved ones without providing them with
- phone numbers of professionals that can be reached if needed
- The instructions and help with writing a safety plan
- A scheduled timely follow up appointment with a professional for the attempter
- Information on self-care for the loved ones.
- Referrals for the loved ones to make appointments for themselves
This is important. If you feel very affected by a suicide attempt ask for help. Sometimes the things you see may make you extremely angry and you may have thoughts that don’t make any sense to you. This is common and not something to be ashamed of but you must ask for help if you need it.
Please research the section For Loved Ones for more information on self-care and ways to stay well and balanced. Just because you may not have a connection or have known the attempter before the attempt does not mean the job you do will not have an effect on you.