How you can help

If you’re worried that a young person you care about is thinking about suicide, don't ignore it. Talk with them about how they’re feeling.

Sometimes people worry that talking about suicide may put ideas in a young person’s head, but the opposite is true.  Talking openly lets them know that you care, you’re listening and you want to help them through this tough time.

Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions about suicide

Asking direct questions can help you to figure out if a young person is in immediate danger and needs support.

Here are some ways to ask a young person if they are considering suicide:

  • "Are you feeling so bad that you’re thinking about ending your life?"
  • "Are you thinking about suicide?"
  • "Do you ever wish you were dead?"

  • Encourage your young person to talk about how they feel, even if you find it hard to hear. Giving them a chance to talk things through can be really helpful. It will also make them feel supported.
  • Ask your young person to postpone any decisions to end their life so that they can get the help they need.
  • Remind them that thoughts of suicide are just thoughts – they don’t have to act on them. These thoughts might only last a few minutes; they may feel differently in a few hours.
  • Tell the young person that they’re not alone. Let them know that you're there to support and help in any way they need.
  • Encourage your young person to get support. You might suggest a health professional or youth support service. Let them know that they don’t have to face this on their own – there are specialist services to help young people, like headspace and eheadspace.
  • Help them create a safety plan. This means creating a structured plan they can work through when they're thinking about suicide – what they can do, who they can talk to, and where they can go. Having a plan in place can be very empowering for young people. Our BeyondNow safety planning app can help your young person get through those tough moments.
  • Help them to identify small achievable goals for each hour or day, whichever feels most achievable. This provides them with a focus for the day, while also providing opportunities for positive feedback about how they’ve progressed.
  • Get support: it can be very challenging and distressing to help someone who is suicidal or who has attempted suicide, so it's important to have your own support network in place.  You could contact the Beyond Blue Support Service, Suicide Call Back Service, or talk to your local GP.
  • Encourage your young person to avoid drugs and alcohol as this may amplify their feelings or reduce their ability to make thoughtful decisions. If they want to keep using drugs or alcohol, talk with them about ways they can stay safe.
  • Remove or lock away anything that could be used to cause harm (e.g. weapons, medications, drugs, alcohol).
  • Offer to call Kids Helpline, Lifeline or the Suicide Call Back Service so they can talk with someone straight away. Alternatively, most public mental health services offer a crisis service and their contact details are generally available from emergency departments or your local hospital. If your young person won’t talk with anyone, consider calling these services yourself to get their advice and support.
  • Ensure your young person has emergency and helpline numbers in their phone or wallet in case they need support when you’re not around.
  • If you feel as if your young person is in immediate danger, call 000.

Get immediate support

If you’re concerned that your young person might attempt suicide, it’s important to act immediately. Call your doctor, mental health crisis service, or go with them to your local hospital’s emergency department. In an emergency, call triple zero (000).

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