Portrait of Sherry. She’s cooking and listening to music. She has a bookshelf full of books.
Portrait of Sherry. She’s cooking and listening to music. She has a bookshelf full of books.

Suicide safety planning and isolation: Sherry’s story

Sherry began to experience suicidal thoughts when she became physically unwell late last year.

For the past six months, she has been in significant pain and has barely left home, unable to get down the front or back stairs by herself.

Having lost her partner and both parents in 2016, the 47-year-old lives by herself and says she was already “pretty used to the isolation” when the COVID-19 restrictions came into effect.

When Sherry first experienced thoughts of suicide, she contacted Lifeline and Beyond Blue, and started looking into online services that could provide support and connect her with other people remotely.

She also downloaded the Beyond Now app and set about making her safety plan.

“I was doing it by myself, so I took a break from it a couple of times and just took it easy because I knew doing it all at once would just be too overwhelming.”

Connecting with others online

When the restrictions resulting from the coronavirus pandemic came into place earlier this year, Sherry was already doing what she could to address the sense of isolation and loneliness she felt.

One thing she tried was meeting up with different groups of people online.

“I had a few hurdles, but I'm really happy with what I've joined up to so far,” she says, identifying one group of people in particular “who were so prepared and so welcoming. The meeting was so fantastic. I was nearly in tears because I couldn't believe how special they were. It was just great.”

While other groups have not been as well suited, Sherry says the key is to “push on because it's worth it in the end. There are some really lovely people out there.”

Try to do things that you love

In terms of her daily life, there are several other changes that Sherry has made to stay well.

“I used to love to cook, so now I'm doing things that don't take a lot of preparation. I've minimized the preparation time, so I'm not standing and moving around so much.”

“I love reading, but I'm lacking in concentration, so I haven't been doing as much reading as what I used to, but I at least attempt it. And when I'm doing cleaning or cooking, I'll put on music that I love just so my mind doesn't wander.”

Her advice for others feeling the effects of the changes to life as a result of COVID-19?

“For those people who have people to reach out to, keep in contact with them. Keep up eating good food regularly, get some sleep and just try to do things that you love, that make you happy,” she says.

“And wash your bloody hands.”

You can find out more about the Beyond Now app here, and learn some strategies for updating your suicide safety plan here.

If it feels like things are getting out of control, for immediate support call Lifeline on 13 11 14

If there is immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, always call triple zero (000).


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