Look after yourself when your child is in distress

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Talking to your child about suicide or supporting them through a crisis is likely to be emotionally draining. During the conversation or crisis it’s helpful to keep your emotions in check in order to support them; it’s not the time to express guilt, anger, panic or resentment although these emotions may arise. However, after the event it’s important to check in on your emotions and responses and get help and support if you need it.

When your child is experiencing such high levels of emotional pain it’s easy to overlook your own needs. It might be hard, but it’s good to talk to someone else about what has happened so you can relieve your own distress and share the load. This might mean talking to a friend, partner or someone else you (and your child) feel comfortable with knowing about the situation – maybe even the school counsellor.

Looking after yourself and letting the load off can also come from educating yourself on the matter and finding support groups. If you’d rather keep things private you can also get support from telephone counselling or other services such as Lifeline, Suicide Callback Service or a local psychologist.

You could:

  • Try to find other parents in similar situations by attending workshops or talking to other parents through our forums.
  • Come to terms with it and don’t let it consume you – this may mean you have to let go of the sense of control.
  • It’s also helpful to take some time out for yourself to do the things that make you feel comforted and relaxed so you can be in the right mindset.
  • There are plenty of apps you can download or suggest to your child to help both of you to be in the right mindset.

Showing your child that you are invested in helping them whilst also looking after yourself will encourage them to be more positive about seeking help and looking after them self too.


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