Suicide Warning Signs

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with around 3,000 people dying by suicide every year. That's an average of eight people every day.1 For every suicide, there are tragic ripple effects for friends, families, colleagues and the broader community.

If someone you know seems to be struggling, reach out and connect with them. Showing that you care could make a huge difference in their life. If you are struggling yourself, you might feel better if you reach out for support, get treatment and start taking steps towards recovery.

What are the warning signs?

Sometimes, when a person has a deteriorating mental health condition or a person faces a serious, negative life situation, he or she may consider suicide or harming him or herself.

This is not the case for everyone with depression or anxiety, but it’s important to be aware that for some people their condition may become so severe that they may believe these actions are their only option to relieve unbearable pain. The video below features extracts from interviews with beyondblue's blueVoices members reflecting on the warning signs they saw with their family and friends who died by suicide.

Talking to someone about your suicidal feelings

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

You may be ashamed to talk about it or worry that people will judge you or not take you seriously and just tell you to “Get over it”. But talking to someone you trust and feel comfortable with to about how you are feeling can help. 

The Have the conversation pages on this website provides helpful tips on how you can find the words to say how you feel.

Let someone know

  • Share how you feel with someone you trust and feel comfortable with, a family member, teacher, doctor or other health professional.
  • Try and think about it as any other conversation. You can describe what has happened, how you feel and what help you need. It’s best to be direct so that they understand how you feel.
  • Be prepared for their reaction. Often people who learn that someone is suicidal can be quite confused and emotional at first. Just keep talking and together you can find a way through it.
  • Ask your friends/family member to help you find support; in person, online, over the phone.
  • Understand that others do care. It is important to have support from your friends but if you tell them about your suicidal thoughts you cannot expect them to keep it a secret. They want to be able to help you stay safe and that usually means calling in extra help.

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.


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