Suicidal gestures (where there is a seeming attempt to commit suicide but something about the way it is done would prevent it or make it unlikely) are common in what is called personality disorders, especially one known as Borderline Personality Disorder. These disorders are long term and are often chronic in nature if the person does not get the proper treatment.
Often people with BPD place families into impossible situations such as this and expect to be rescued, only to sabotage the entire effort a short time later.
Usually what is recommended is to insist that the person follow up with aftercare, get into a treatment process that involves specialized care for personality issues, (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is often used, called DBT for short) and then...letting other natural consequences, aside from those that would cause her safety to be compromised, to be permitted. This means strict deadlines for finding work, going to support groups and therapy, and allowing the car to be repossessed and other tough love approaches.
It is not easy to deal with this, and even professionals have a hard time with this issue. But it can be dealt with so long as she is not enabled in any way. She will not like it, but this is a time for strict rules and to closely follow them, even if it means losing things like her car, etc.
I also highly recommend The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells by Randi Kreger. It is inexpensive on amazon.com and is wonderful. It explains in simple language the nature of this issue and helps create systems that will allow her to get better without hurting others or herself.
Also seeking support through NAMI (national association for mental illness) is a huge help as they offer support for her reactions and instability. They can be contacted at www.nami.org
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