Suicide Prevention

Worried about suicide

Sometimes, life can present overwhelming situations that can be difficult to deal with and people might consider suicide as a possible solution to end their pain. People with depression or anxiety are also more likely to attempt suicide than other people.

We can all play a role in preventing suicide by looking out for possible warning signs, reaching out and talking about it.

If you are in an emergency, or an immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 100. For other support services go to Get support now....

What are the warning signs?

Someone who is thinking about suicide will usually give some clues or signs to people around them, though these may be subtle. Suicide prevention starts with recognising the warning signs and taking them seriously..

Sometimes, when someone is having a hard time, they may consider harming themselves or taking their own life..

Suicidal behaviour indicates deep unhappiness, not necessarily a mental health issue. Many people living with mental health issues aren’t suicidal, and not all people who take their own lives have a mental health issue.

Things to look out for warning signs might include:

A sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future.

Isolation or feeling alone – “No one understands me”.

Aggressiveness and irritability – “Leave me alone”.

Possessing lethal means – medication, weapons.

Negative view of self – “I'm worthless”.

Drastic changes in mood and behaviour.

Frequently talking about death – “If I died would you miss me?”.

Self-harming behaviours like cutting.

Risk-taking behaviours – “I’ll try anything, I’m not afraid to die".

Making funeral arrangements.

Giving things away (clothes, expensive gifts) – “When I'm gone, I want you to have this”.

Substance abuse.

Feeling like a burden to others – “You'd be better off without me”.

Talking about suicide – “Sometimes I feel like I just want to die”.

Reasons for suicidal feelings

There are many reasons why someone considers suicide, which can be quite complex, but there are certain indications that may help us determine whether a person could be at risk of suicide.

Suicidal behaviour results from a complex interaction between a wide variety of risk factors, immediate triggers and a lack of protective factors. There are certain indications that may help us determine whether a person may be at risk of suicide.

Defining risk and protective factors

The reasons that people take their own lives are often very complex. Factors influencing whether someone is likely to be suicidal include:

Risk factors – sometimes called vulnerability factors, these factors increase the likelihood of suicidal behaviour.

Protective factors – these reduce the likelihood of suicidal behaviour, and work to improve a person’s ability to cope with difficult circumstances.

Risk and protective factors can occur:

At an individual or personal level. This includes mental and physical health, self-esteem, and ability to deal with difficult circumstances, manage emotions, or cope with stress

At a social level. This includes relationships and involvement with others such as family, friends, workmates, the wider community and the person’s sense of belonging

At a contextual level. This is also known as a person's broader life environment. This includes cultural, environmental, spiritual, religious, political and economic factors that all contribute to available options and quality of life.

Risk factors

Previous suicide attempts

History of substance abuse

History of mental health conditions – depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD

Relationship problems – conflict with parents and / or romantic partners

Legal or disciplinary problems

Access to harmful means, such as medication or weapons

Recent death or suicide of a family member or a close friend

Ongoing exposure to bullying behaviour

Physical illness or disability.

Talking to someone about your suicidal feelings

It can be very difficult to know what to do when you are having distressing thoughts about suicide. You may be ashamed to talk about it or worry that people will judge you, or not take you seriously. However, talking to someone you trust and feel comfortable with about how you are feeling can help.

Having suicidal thoughts can be scary. Maybe you've never had them before, or the thoughts have been there for a while and you are not sure what to do.

You may feel ashamed talking about it or worry that people will judge you or not take you seriously. But talking to someone you trust and feel comfortable with can help.

Let someone know

Share how you feel with someone you trust and feel comfortable with – this could be someone in your family, a friend, a teacher, doctor or other health professional

Try and think about it as just another conversation. Describe what's happened, how you feel and the help you need. It's best to be direct so that they understand how you feel.

Be prepared for their reaction. People who learn that someone is suicidal can be quite shocked and emotional. Just keep talking and together you can find a way through it.

Ask your support person to help you find support; in person, online, or over the phone.

It's important to have support, but if you tell someone about your suicidal thoughts, you can't expect them to keep it a secret. They'll need to be able to help you stay safe and that usually means calling in extra help.

Keep safe

The first thing you need to do is focus on finding ways to stay safe. Once you’re safe you can work out how you’re going to get the help you need.

It can be hard to think clearly when you're feeling suicidal, so having a plan in place means you can focus on following the steps until you feel safe again. Find out more about making a safety plan.

Remember that thoughts of suicide are just thoughts; you don’t have to act on them. These thoughts might only last a few minutes; you might feel differently in a few hours.

Delay any decisions to end your life. Give yourself time to get the support you need.

Remove anything in the house that you might use to impulsively harm yourself – maybe give it to a friend.

Store crisis line phone numbers or web links in your mobile phone for easy use.

Avoid being alone. Have someone near you until your thoughts of suicide decrease.

Avoid drugs and alcohol. They can intensify how you feel and make decision making more impulsive.

Having a conversation with someone you're worried about

If you're worried that someone you care for is considering suicide, ask if they're OK, share your concern, offer to listen or support them by going to see a professional together.

It can be frightening and distressing when someone you care about wants to harm themselves. It’s important to remember that you don’t need to be a clinician, a GP, or a nurse to check-in with someone you are worried about. If a person you know seems to be struggling, reaching out and connecting with them could save their life.

When should I ask

Choose a time and place where you can talk openly and easily, without getting interrupted. It’s important that you don’t have to be anywhere or have other commitments - it might take a long time to have this conversation and your friend or loved one needs to feel that you have time to listen.

Ideally, your friend or loved one needs to be calm to be able to have this conversation.

You also need to be calm to be able to have this conversation. Make sure the time is right for you too. Some suggestions for locations:

At their place – it’s easier to talk to someone when they are comfortable in their own environment.

Doing something you enjoy together – sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone when you’re doing something like watching bad TV, cooking dinner or playing cards or video games.

Go for a walk – you could wander up to a coffee shop, go for a walk in the park or along a beach or river. Even a walk around block.

Go for a drive – talking side-by-side is a great tactic, it can take some of the intensity out of a face-to-face conversation.

How do I start?

Below are some suggested conversation starters.

How are you? Be prepared for ‘fine’ or ‘good thanks’ and follow up with: How are you really?

You don’t seem yourself. Letting your friend or loved one know you have noticed they’re behaving differently shows you care. It’s important to let them know you’re concerned about them, not upset with them for behaving differently.

I’ve had a terrible week, how was yours? Sometimes it’s good to break the ice with the fact that life isn’t always great, and to show that you understand. Sharing some of the things you are struggling with can help start the conversation. Be careful not to make it all about you though.

Is everything okay at home/work/uni? Making the question specific can get the conversation started, but remember that it might not be one thing. It might be a combination of many things, or maybe nothing in particular – just a general feeling.


Let your friend or loved one know you have noticed they’re behaving differently.

If you feel uncertain and that your friend or loved one may be at risk, do ask the question. Are you having thoughts about suicide? Be prepared for the answer to be yes.

Make sure they’re safe for now. Show support and suggest they seek help.


Don’t try to talk them out of suicide by reminding them ‘what they’ve got going for them’ or how much it would hurt their friends and family.

Don’t try to fix their problems. Listen with empathy and without judgement.

Don’t dismiss it as ‘attention seeking’. Take them seriously and acknowledge the reasons they want to die

Getting through difficult moments?

What is safety planning?

If you or someone close to you is experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, safety planning can help you get through the tough moments.

It involves creating a structured plan – ideally with support from your health professional or someone you trust – that you work through when you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress or crisis..

Your safety plan starts with things you can do by yourself, such as thinking about your reasons to live and distracting yourself with enjoyable activities. It then moves on to coping strategies and people you can contact for support – your friends, family and health professionals.

While everyone’s plan will be unique to them, the process and structure are the same – it prompts you to work through the steps until you feel safe.

Suicide Prevention

There are plenty of things you can do for yourself to recover and stay well. The important thing is finding the right treatment and the right health professional for your needs.

Recovering from a Mental Health Condition?

Recovery can take time and is different for everyone. As well as getting treatment underway, you'll need to find new ways to manage and live with the changes and challenges of anxiety and/or depression.

While psychological and/or medical treatment can help with your recovery, there are many other ways you can help yourself to get better and stay well..

Stages of recovery:-

Recovery is a unique and individual process that everyone goes through differently. However, there are some common emotions that many people may experience.

1.Shock at having to deal with something difficult and scary that you have no prior experience of.

2.Denial or difficulty in accepting having a health problem, particularly one that many people find hard to understand.

3.Despair and anger at having to deal with the condition and its related difficulties.

4.Acceptance of having a condition and the changes it brings, and accepting how others see you and how you see yourself.

5.Coping by finding new ways to live with and tackle these changes and challenges.

6.Recovery goes beyond focusing on managing distressing symptoms but about having choices and being able to create a meaningful and contributing life.

Available Support:-

There are proven ways that people recover from anxiety or depression, and it’s different for everybody. However, there are a range of effective treatments and health professionals and other support people who can help you on the road to recovery. There are also many things you can do to help yourself to recover and stay well. The important thing is finding the right treatments and the right health professionals and support team that works for you.

Different types of anxiety or depression require different types of treatment. This may include lifestyle changes such as regular physical activity, healthy eating and adequate sleep, family and peer support, and psychological therapy for mild-moderate anxiety and depression, through to more specialised psychological and medical treatments for severe depression and/or anxiety provided by a team of health and mental health professionals.

What’s important is getting the treatment and support that’s right for your condition and situation.


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