When someone has attempted suicide, they and their loved ones need assistance coping, recovering, and moving forward after treatment in an emergency department (ED). ED physicians often also need information and resources in order to provide the best care possible for these patients. The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) in EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD) has created three brochures to help with the healing process.
The series of psycho-educational booklets, called After an Attempt, are now available in PDF format from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The brochures were developed by the SPRC and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) with funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The emergency department is often the initial point of entry into the medical system for those who attempt suicide. These brochures take advantage of this unique opportunity to provide support and information on recovery. Each After an Attempt brochure is designed to be distributed at the hospital ED to inform and assist three different audiences:
- the person who has survived their attempt (in English and Spanish),
- their family and friends (in English and Spanish), and
- ED physicians who are treating them
“In addition to providing encouragement, helpful information, and resources about mental health and suicide, the brochures empower the patients, their loved ones, and health care providers by providing them with appropriate discharge and aftercare information,” says Anara Guard, Associate Director of the SPRC.
Thankfully, most people who attempt suicide go on to lead healthy, productive lives, but the recovery process can be long and difficult. The consumer and family versions of the brochures provide patients and those close to them with action items to move forward, including creating a safety plan and building a support network. The guides also provide these audiences with contact resources for more information on suicide, recovery, and coping with subsequent suicidal feelings.
The provider brochure offers tips on enhancing care in the ED for those who have attempted suicide, information on patient discharge and federal patient privacy standards, and resources for medical professionals, patients, and their families. Moreover, the brochure encourages ED doctors to create a well-conceived discharge plan to help patients to safely and successfully recover, and includes concrete action steps for making this happen.
In addition to the critical information and many resources offered, all of the After an Attempt brochures offer a message of support and hope, emphasizing that it is possible to not only survive but to thrive after a suicide attempt.
Originally published on January 1, 2007