This article discusses suicide. If you feel like you’re going to act on suicidal thoughts, call 000 if you live in Australia. A number of crisis support services are also there for you – have a look at our urgent help page.
While it can be difficult to talk about suicide, research shows anyone can have a positive influence on a friend, family or work colleague they are worried about by starting a conversation and supporting them to seek help.
If you’re feeling worried or nervous about having a conversation with someone who might be experiencing suicidal thoughts - that is completely normal. There are resources available to help you with this, such as at lifeinmind.org.au/youcantalk
YouCanTalk is a national collaboration of leading Australian mental health organisations. It exists to encourage people in Australia to have a conversation with friends, family members or work colleagues they’re concerned about. For more information visit: www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/youcantalk.
Suicide can impact anyone, but all of us can help.
Tips for talking to someone you're worried about:
- Consider that experts generally agree that asking someone whether they are thinking about suicide is unlikely to make the situation worse.
- If you are unsure whether your friend or loved one is at risk, ask the question directly - “Are you having thoughts about suicide” and be prepared for the answer to be yes.
- Listen without judgement or criticism - don’t try to ‘fix’ the problem.
- Make sure they’re safe for the time being and talk to them about who else to involve so they can be supported. Connect them with other supports and services.
- If you’re still unsure about having the conversation, connect with supports and resources that will help you navigate it.