How do you talk to someone who may be suicidal?
Are you worried about someone who may have suicidal thoughts? Allowing them to talk about how they feel is extremely important. Here’s some advice on how to get the conversation started.Read more
Someone who is thinking about suicide may give some clues to those around them that show they are distressed. If you recognise some of the suicide warning signs, please take them seriously so that the person can get the support they need.
Someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts may show some clues, also known as suicidal warning signs, to those around them. Suicide prevention starts with recognising these warning signs and treating them seriously.
The following is a list of signs that people might give when they are feeling distraught and overwhelmed. These physical changes and behaviours are indicators that a person might be thinking about suicide. It is likely that a suicidal person will display a combination of these signs rather than one single sign.
It’s important to note that suicide warning signs are often unique and not every person will react the same way. If their behaviour is new or has involved some degree of change, you should seek help.
If you need to speak to a SuicideLine Victoria counsellor, please call 1300 651 251. If it is an emergency, call 000.
Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts and feelings is important as you can help the person get the support they need.
You might be worried that you might ‘put the idea of suicide into the person’s head’ if you ask about suicide. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing your concern. In fact, by talking to them you can reduce their feelings of isolation, reduce the stigma, and provide some relief.
How to start a conversation about suicide
Questions you can ask
What you can say that helps
You can read more in our resource on How to talk to someone who may be suicidal.
Listen to the what the person has to say and take the situation seriously. If the person tells you that they are thinking about suicide, you can ask further questions to evaluate the risk. People who are at the highest risk in the immediate future have the intention to end their life, a specific plan, the means to carry out the plan and a timeframe.
You can go through the following risk assessment questions with the person. If they are at high risk of suicide, seek immediate help by calling 000 or take the person to the emergency department of the nearest hospital.
You should seek professional advice from others. You can access your local emergency services, community health services and hospitals. Keep a list of contact details and times when the services are available.
Our SuicideLine Victoria counsellors are here to help you, call us on 1300 651 251.
You can also contact:
If it is an emergency, dial 000 and tell the operator that you are with someone who is suicidal. Try to keep calm and stay with person.
Don’t let it build up. If you’re concerned about your emotional or mental health, call SuicideLine Victoria on 1300 651 251. Our professional counsellors are available 24/7. If it is an emergency, call 000.