Suicide, by definition, means intentionally ending one’s own life.
In Australia in 2014, suicide claimed 2,864 lives. People think about suicide, or attempt suicide, for many different reasons, such as the breakdown of a relationship, financial worries, mental health struggles or other traumatic life events. People often describe being so overwhelmed, and in such distress, that suicide can seem like the only solution.
Those who have had, or are having, suicidal thoughts talk about experiencing some or all of the following:
- an extreme sense of worthlessness or of being a burden on people
- a sense of hopelessness, that things will never change or get better
- withdrawing from everyone, becoming isolated and alone
- thinking frequently about death or about ending their life
- taking steps towards ending their life, such as giving away possessions, saying goodbye to people, finding ways and means to act on their thoughts (medication, weapons)
- taking increasing risks, such as excessive alcohol and drug use, or putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations
If you are thinking about suicide, it is important to talk to someone.
Though you may be afraid of asking for help, or worried what people will think, support is readily available.
Talk to someone: reach out and tell someone that you are not okay. It can be difficult to open up, but talking about what you are thinking and feeling will make a big difference.
Seek help: there are many helpful services available in the community, at school, or through work. There are supports available to you when you are in crisis and others that focus on ongoing wellbeing and recovery. Some of these are listed at the bottom of this page.
Find strategies and ways to cope that work for you: for many people, thoughts of suicide can occur throughout their life. For others, it may be a one-off experience. Learn how to recognise who and what you need when you are feeling this way and seek them out straight away.
Have hope: it can feel like no one else understands, but many people have had thoughts about suicide or attempted suicide and survived. Taking the first steps to get help can sometimes be, but people do get through this and go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
Are you concerned about someone you believe may be thinking about suicide? Here’s what you can do.
Ask people if they need help: you might be worried or anxious about asking someone if they are thinking about suicide, but talking to someone about how they are feeling is the first step towards them getting help.
Don’t try and support a person by yourself: getting others involved is really useful. You can also call one of the services listed below. They’ll give you advice on what to do and say, and talk to you about how to get professional support for the person you’re concerned about if it’s needed.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well: suicidal thoughts and acts can seem extremely difficult to understand and could possibly leave you feeling confused and at a loss about what to do or say. You may even have a strong sense of it being your responsibility to keep the person you are supporting safe. Supporting someone who is at risk of suicide can be a challenging and worrying time. It is important to seek support and advice for yourself and all the services listed on this page are available to you as well. They will talk to you about how best to support the person you’re concerned about, and also talk to you about how to take care of yourself as well.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone. The following services are available to you and to family members, carers and friends.
Over the phone
If immediate help is required, call 000
Suicide Call back Service
Free, confidential, support 24/7 from trained specialist counsellors
1300 659 467 (national)
Free, confidential support 24/7
13 11 14 (national)
Free, confidential support from trained specialist counsellors 24/7
1300 22 4636
Free, confidential advice information and service referral from peer volunteers (note: this is not a crisis line)
1300 111 5000 (national, 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday)
Local psychologists can be found by contacting the Australian Psychological Society on (03) 8662 3300 (toll free 1800 333 497)
Local counsellors can be found by contacting the Australian Counsellors Association on 1300 784 333
If you need to talk, you can also call our Helpline.
Learn more about:
- mental illness
- what helps
- support for families, friends and carers
- the importance of identity and belonging
- our peer education programs
- our community education programs
Remember, you are not alone. Hear stories from people who have been there.
For more information, please contact Wellways on 1300 111 400.