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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can I help my sister cope after her husbands recent suicide attempt?

    So my sister's husband had a horrific suicide attempt, he slashed his throut in the same room as my sister and his mother. They managed to get him into hospital and he survived (thankfully).

    He didn't remember what happen.. but he has been suffereing depression for a while and has been off his medication, and is against taking drugs to treat what he thinks is not depression.

    I'm struggling to work out what extra support I can provide her, other then love and care.

    Should I get a councillor to help both my sister and her mother in law to get over the traumatic experince? What type of other support does she need? What else can i suggest to her to get over the trauma and also help her husband who she dearly loves?

    We are preparing to clean all the blood from the house, and change her carpets. They are staying at mums house but we are aware that this process will be a long one, and am looking for any advice that I can get.

    Many thanks


  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I agree with Grant's ideas.

    The only extra thought that I can offer is please *look after yourself first*.

    It took me some time to understand that is not a selfish thing to do - if we don't do that then our capacities to care for those who matter to us can get seriously messed up.

  • Nigel Bailey

    Counsellor, Psychotherapist

    I am a professional counsellor and psychotherapist with a special interest in mens' issues. In a competitive culture that celebrates winners and quickly discards those … View Profile

    I agree absolutely with Grant and Simon. This will have been an enormously traumatic experience for all, and one where intervention is very much determined by assessment of individual needs.  Get some good professional advice and establish what works well for all of you. As Simon pointed out, don't forget to take care of yourself!

    One further suggestion - and it's a horrible metaphor I'm afraid, but don't try and wipe away all traces as you clear up the physical reminders. There is a popular misconception that discussing tragic events such as your brother-in-law's suicide attempt will inhibit recovery. That horrible word “closure” springs to mind. You have all been impacted in a complex trauma that cannot be simply erased. A loved family member has thankfully survived. Talk about his ongoing care and recovery; help him to find appropriate care. Proactive support will be beneficial for all of you. Best wishes.

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