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For People Helping Others at Risk

If you are supporting a loved one that is suicidal, it can be a very emotional time for you as a caregiver.  It may feel like all of the pressure is on you to keep them alive and safe.  One of the best ways to support others is to identify your own needs, and make sure they are met while you continue caregiving.

For information about the needs of people at risk and strategies for how to support them, consult the following pages:

Normal feelings for caregivers

Having a friend or parter who is in a suicide crisis, often talks about suicide, or is often very depressed can create emotional stress for you as a caregiver.  The sense of responsibility that you feel may be heightened together with the feelings of helplessness that you experience.  People who have been in your situation have reported some of the following difficulties:

  • They feel guilty or others make them feel guilty
  • Some friends avoid seeing them as often as before
  • They become irritable and jumpy
  • They resent the situation; it makes them angry
  • They may have trouble sleeping and eating well
  • They may need to take a lot of time off work

How to care for yourself

Clearly a lot of support is needed to get through this crisis while supporting another person who is in great pain.  Here are some options for finding or creating support:

  • Contact your local crisis hotline – it’s there for you too
  • Designate one friend/relative as your “relief” for breaks
  • Treat yourself to indulgences on a regular basis
  • Read books and articles on suicide
  • Remind yourself that the situation is temporary
  • Above all, do not blame yourself for daily fluctuations in mood or allow anyone else to blame you.  What you are doing is providing care – the healing is up to the person in pain.  You are doing enough just in the care you are giving.