You cannot care for someone else without caring for yourself

There is a familiar saying, ‘who cares for the carer’ and this is particularly important for people who are in the position of being a carer of someone who has thoughts of suicide, attempted suicide or died by suicide.

You cannot care for someone else without caring for yourself along the way. Remember you are not alone, there are many other people out there that may have similar experiences and feel like you do today, we encourage you to reach out for help from time to time, simply because your wellbeing is important!

Listed below are a range of support strategies you may choose to use:

  • Accepting the ups and downs of hope, hopelessness and hope again can enhance your wellbeing. Feelings pass, and your hope will return.
  • The stress of caring for someone in this situation is real and it’s okay to talk about it. Find people who allow you to discuss your thoughts and feelings honestly and without judgement. Connect with people who have had the same experience. Go with the supports that work for you, whether that is a peer support group or services in your local community, or online services like SANE’s Carers Forum and Help Centre.
  • Take time out for yourself. Whether you prefer exercise, reading a book or mindfulness exercises, it is important to give yourself a break.
  • You can keep healthy by exercising regularly (for example, going for a 30 minute walk each day), eating a nutritious diet, and sleeping well (aim for 7–9 hours a night).
  • Make and keep time to take care of your own needs — for example, getting to your GP for regular check-ups, meeting with friends and attending carer groups or network meetings.
  • Be clear about where your boundaries are and how much support you are able to give the person you care about. Make sure the level of support you provide doesn’t impact on your own mental health.