Talking with people who’ve survived suicide attempts

Went to see Dad in hospital today who is recovering from an overdose. Wasn’t so easy… but actually not awful. Hardest with relatives of course, but go team Walsh and thanks for all nice messages, boob pictures, kitten memes etc.

Here are my tips for talking with people who’ve recently survived suicide attempts – I’ve done this before and have training on the subject. Sadly, the chance of you needing them in your life is high.

– come in the best state you can (yoga and meditation and sleep helped me)
– be very straightforward about asking what happened and why, and don’t avoid “suicide attempt” “tried to take own life” or similar.
– Listen and empathise non-judgementally before trying to fix them. They likely feel bad enough already and may have shame and regret. Connect. Connect. Connect.
– Then look to open “bright spots” of things worth living for – in my dad’s case we checked the football results from the weekend!
– “Safe plans” are useful after that for avoiding recurrence, which can include practical things such as having less pills in the house and numbers to call when down.

See Grassroots Suicide prevention and thanks Chris Brown for the reminders of my training on the train.