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Suicide – Things you can do to help someone at risk

Suicide – Things you can do to help someone at risk

It is very upsetting when you think someone close to you may be considering ending their life. What we do know is that most people survive and all those who do end up being happy that they did.

The first indication you have is often that someone is not acting quiet like themselves. Other warning signs may include:

  • Increased irritability or agitation;
  • Avoidance of friends and family;
  • Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed;
  • Moody, sad and withdrawn;
  • Difficulty concentrating;
  • Disengaging from sporting or social group commitments;
  • Talking or making jokes about suicide;
  • A reduction in personal grooming habits;
  • Talking about feeling helpless or worthless;
  • Increased use of drugs or alcohol;
  • Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior.

While you may not want to make things worse by asking about what’s going on for them, it is important to take warning signs seriously and:

  1. Ask if they are thinking about suicide and if they have made any plans. Asking shows that you care and it can save a life.
  2. Encourage the person to talk about their feelings and to seek help. Listen to their story, give them a list of 24/7 emergency numbers and engage others in your support network.
  3. Talk about suicide. This will not increase the risk that they will take action. It will encourage them to talk more about their feelings.
  4. Check that they are safe particularly if they have told you about how they plan to end their life. This may mean removing unsafe items such as medications, sharps, alcohol, drugs or car keys etc.
  5. Talk about what to do next. It may be important to ensure you enlist the help of others to persuade the person to seek professional help. Professional help may include GP’s, psychologists, social workers, Aboriginal health workers, a school counsellor, hospitals or telephone and web-based counselling. You may need to call 000 if things are not going well.
  6. Suicidal thoughts do not just disappear. It may be really important to stay involved and continue to encourage the person to seek help whenever these thoughts return.
  7. Take care of yourself. You may need to talk to someone (friend, family member or professional).

If you feel you need further support for yourself or are worried about someone close to you and would like a personal consultation please contact the team at YoungMinds. Alternatively, the following 24/7 support services may be helpful.

SuicideLine – 1300 65 1251
MensLine – 1300 78 9978
KidsHelpline – 1800 55 1800
Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

Further information can also be found on the following websites.

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