Attempted Suicide Aftercare

Hello, I’m new here so not 100% sure how it all works but here goes. A couple of weeks ago I got home from work to find my wife in bed with our son next to her. She had taken a large overdose, drank a lot, and left a suicide note next to the bed. Paramedics came and took her to the hospital (3am) and sent her home the following afternoon. She took enough to kill most people, apparently they don’t know how she survived. About a week later I had to go away for two nights for work and whilst I was away her parents came and took her away, I shouldn’t have gone, I know that now, but my head wasn’t in the right place. They’re coming home this weekend but I don’t know what to do. How do I support her when I still have to work? How do I make time to keep my own mental health right? If I go out for a run I’m accused of doing it to avoid spending time with her/putting myself ahead of her and the kids. Same with going to work or doing the shopping. I can’t afford to take time off to look after her and the depression has been on and off for 10 years now so there is no clue as to when it will improve. Sorry I’ve rambled, thoughts are fairly unstructured at the moment.

Hi Ben … welcome to the forum.

In the de-stressing circumstances so outlined , my immediate thought is MIND :

In this field , they are the acknowledged experts.

Several ways to contact them … including an " Urgent help " facility … yellow rectangle near to the top of the opening page.

If anyone out there that can provide assistance / guidance , it will be MIND in the first instance.

You don’t state your son’s age.

When you speak to Mind UK (I hope that you do) have a discussion about him.

It must be very worrying for son if he understands or not what is happening. Do take action because it could become a safe guarding issue.

If you have or do feel concerned for the future in anyway please contact your local Social Services.

Very good point , SD !

Ben’s son is part of the equation and his interests must also be addressed.

Thank you for the replies. I’ll have a look at mind today. I am worried about contacting social services, am quite surprised there was no contact from them after her visit to the hospital. My son is 3, he knows mummy is very very sad and keeps giving her hugs to try and make her happy, it breaks my heart.

Hello Ben

I’m really sorry to hear that you and your family have been having such a tough time in the past few weeks.

Our online Forum is a really supportive online community and I’m pleased that you’ve joined us and have already received some supportive suggestions from other members, including contacting Mind.

I’ve also had a chat with the safeguarding lead at Carers UK about your post. She emphasised that aongside supporting your wife and son, it is really important that you get support for yourself. If you feel able to speak to someone about how you’re feeling or how to cope, please contact The Samaritans 24/7 for free on 116 123. They also have an email address as it can sometimes be difficult to verbalise what you are feeling or make a call in privacy.

Wishing you well in the coming days


You say your 3 year old son was with your wife. Also mention kids. So do you have other children.

If they are school age I would suggest informing their schools. School are very good at helping family and it will be confidential. Yes, information we be shared with other agencies Social Service etc. I think you might feel some relief sharing with other professionals. You have already made a massive step coming on to the forum. This demonstrates you are very concern and taken responsible action to seek and take advice.

Your wife should be receiving Mental health services, the crisis team should have organised support and follow up, councelling and an emergency number in case of crisis.
Especially as you have a 3 year old.
Nowadays the NHS have a duty to especially prevent suicide attempts and if one has happened, prevent it from happening again.
I would say first step GP and a referral into mental health services for your wife and contact the Mental Health Services PALS, all NHS services have to have a Patient Advice and liason team who should be able to help.

Thank you again for all the excellent advice. I have spoken to mind and once she is back home I will try and edge her towards the services they offer, not sure how that’ll go but its worth a shot. We have 2 children, a son (3) and a daughter (11 months), I think things have got worse as a result of post natal depression which she has managed to hide from doctors and health visitors. They will all be back in the morning so I have made a list of possible ways to make things easier for her to cope. It appears that I don’t do enough so she is struggling to cope. I have to work at bed/bath time most days so struggle to be there to help with those times. I think if I do more then it won’t be a problem in the future. The mental health teams don’t appear to be involved at the moment, or that information could be being held from me. Her anti depression medication is being changed at the moment so perhaps she is being left under the care of the GP? I was unable to go to the hospital at the original admission due to the time and having two young children at home so I missed that assessment, will go to follow up GP appointments.
Thank you again to everyone, its nice to know there is help out there.

Your welcome , Ben.

I hope things pan out better for you and your family.

Do NOT allow yourself to be blamed for what has happened. My sister in law with PND blamed my brother for anything and everything. It destroyed their marriage.
Make it clear to your wife that you both need to work TOGETHER now, doing everything possible to take any pressure off BOTH of you, so that you can ENJOY your young family.
Is your 3 year old going to nursery/playgroup? If getting there is difficult, then maybe Social Services could arrange someone to help, in the short term?
Does your wife plan her day to give her an afternoon rest period? I changed them both before feeding about 2pm, and then fed my baby in bed. Once weaned, we would snuggle up in bed, read a story, play, sometimes he’d fall asleep, sometimes I would. When the second one arrived, the eldest would still have his story in bed, whilst I fed the baby, the eldest would often go to his bedroom and play with his toys. It was our quiet time.
Then when my husband came home, we were refreshed, not tired, and would spend the early evening together before bathtime. If you are not around in the evening, think about adjusting the routine so you ARE around at bathtime, there is no law that says it must be before bed!


Just to let you know you’re not the only person here coping with the aftermath of a failed suicide attempt. I know how difficult it is living with someone that depressed. I know how impossible it is not to wish little things had been done differently even while refusing to blame myself. I can still grieve for the way things turned out.

This is probably totally irrelevant to your situation but my partner changed gp within the same surgery and that brought a change of attitude and approach from the gp which helped a lot. I don’t think some gps understand that depressed people need some empathy with their situation for them to be fit to do their job. We did have to threaten to complain to the GMC before they let him change gp but that worked very well, possibly because they are well aware that we follow through on such threats.

I don’t have children so I’m no help on that side of things.

My partner didn’t have any ongoing care from mental health services although he’s had a couple of subsequent referrals to local counselling services which are generally too little too late.

I definitely think you need some outside practical help. I can’t imagine how you can manage 4 small children, a severely depressed wife and a job all on your own. No idea how you’d go about getting any though.

My personal, totally unqualified advice is don’t let them fob your wife off with counselling alone. Medication is important and somehow discouraged too much these days.

There are lots of organisations out there for those bereaved by suicide but I’ve yet to find anything aimed at those close to people whose suicide bids have failed. We can hardly go along to the bereaved ones and talk about how our loved ones didn’t die while they’re trying to get over those who did. Our circumstances now are very different to theirs too.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that there is a future for you all, however distant and unlikely that may seem at the moment.

You are probably still deep in shock and it may well be some time before your head’s back in the right place. I know I was still making poor decisions for a couple of years at least. I think there’s an element of the stages of grieving involved, ending with acceptance of the new order.

No one else’s going to ask so I will. Did your wife have a history of depression or suicide threats or attempts in the past? If nothing else this will affect how shocked you are by events. My partner had been threatening and planning for so long I was thought cold and uncaring when to me it just seemed like the inevitable had just happened.

What are you telling other people? It seems to me that most people lie but I always thought it was too big a thing to hide and was surprised how many people I’d known for years told me their own, previously hidden, stories of living with someone else’s depression once I’d told them. Personally I only felt comfortable telling people on a one to one basis or to a couple I’d known both of for a long time at most. I tried to encourage the bush telegraph ie gossip to spread the message but people seemed reluctant to do so in a way I wouldn’t have expected them to if he’d had cancer or a heart attack or something. Most people are sympathetic to me if not him and knowing what was going on helped them forgive my behaviour in a way they might have been less inclined to if they had less background information.

I think the belt and braces approach (booze AND pills) is actually what saved both of them. Each offsetting the effects of the other. Also survival rates have gone from about 1 in 5 to about 19 in 20 in the last 10-15 years and the doctors haven’t necessarily caught up with the statistics yet. They couldn’t understand how she’d survived but they sent her home within 24 hours! Sounds like criminal negligence to me or did they allow her to discharge herself which is different? How were you supposed to adapt with no support over such a short timescale? Did anyone even bother to ask you?

Thank you for all the replies, it’s been a hectic few months. She now has days where she doesn’t recognise me as her husband or the kids as her children, refers to them as “these children” . The past couple of weeks she’s back in the low place where she was before, says she wishes the attempt before had work and how things would be better if she wasn’t here. Struggling to look after the children when I’m at work let alone herself. Says she wouldn’t act on her desire to die, wants to have a fatal accident or for someone to murder her, but I can’t fully trust her because that’s what she said before. Part of me thinks a spell in hospital would be the best thing for her, even just to speed up the assesment from the mental health team as that’s not scheduled untill the middle of August. Really struggling to stay positive at the moment, very close to trying to push for a hospital stay. Thank you again for all the advice and own experiences, it’s a big help to know I’m not the only one.

The stress you must feel must be enormous and if I knew your family in my professional capacity, (I’m a teacher by trade,) I would be referring your family to the children’s safeguarding team for support. I’m flummoxed that your wife’s MH assessment is another two weeks away. It is possible, through social care to get support for your family; regular visits to check all is ok whilst you are at work or a day placement for the children to keep them safe and give your wife a rest.

Alternatively, you could ring your wife’s parents and see if they are willing to support your wife until her assessment.

If your wife is going to need a spell in hospital, then you will need support as a family anyway, better to get it in place now, than in an emergency situation.

Please keep up the running for your own wellbeing, whether you fit it in before or after work or in your work break.

Please don’t forget the links posted earlier in the thread.


Thank you Melly, her parents live 200 miles away so it’s difficult to get them here but they have come up before now. Might have to give social services a try, didn’t know they could help really, we keep getting passed around trying to get help. Its very frustrating, if she had a plan on how she’d go through with it they’d help more but her history of attempts have been spur of the moment unplanned overdoses. All day at work she phones me pleading with me to go home but work is losing patience with me taking time off for all of this. If there is no improvement this morning I think I will take the afternoon off and go to a&e, not sure I can cope with the stress much longer and it’s not fair on the kids, starting to affect them I think.

unfortunately with social care, its only the families that shout loudest that get support. Whereas they did a lot of prevention work, now they often wait to act when there is a crisis. Tell them that your wife could take an unplanned overdose at anytime (and has done so before,] and that if she did that whilst you are work, the children would be unsupervised and cared for until you came home. Social care are supposed to support carers to work and you are a carer.

It’s a pity her parents live so far away, but if they knew how much you are all struglling, they might be prepared to come and help.

Make sure A&E know how worried you are about everything as they have access to social care etc as well as being able to arrange treatment for your wife.


PS your GP should know of support available locally too e.g.a Homestart volunteer to visit her, groups to get you wife out of the house etc

Hi Ben, I am so sorry to hear about how difficult it has been for you and the children over the last few months.

I know last time we posted we suggested speaking to someone about how you’re feeling and to call the Samaritans who offer a 24/7 free phone line on 116 123 and email service as it can sometimes be difficult to speak the words or make a call in privacy.

Have MIND been able to provide support for you, or your wife at all? I know they were mentioned by a number of members of this forum as a helpful source of support. In May you said that the mental health teams hadn’t really been involved. One of the ways to try and prompt for more help is via your local safeguarding team (sometimes called MASH OR Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hubs). To find their contact details, search for ‘safeguarding’ on your local council website.

Clearly one of the stresses for you at the moment is the worry of being at work, and how tiring it must be to keep everything going with two very young children. Please take a look at our factsheet about your rights as a carer in work and consider whether you feel willing or able to have a conversation with your employer about time off or a more flexible working arrangement.

If you have questions we may be able to help with, please email our helpline on

Once again, I am really sorry to hear about what you are going through and very much hope you find the support you need.