Suicide Prevention

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People who consider suicide do so because they are in deep emotional pain and want that pain to end. Suicidal people are impaired in their thinking and require assistance to find other options to deal with their pain.  Often warning signs or invitations to help are displayed.

Smart risk strategies for suicide prevention include:

Look First

Suicide is most often the result of a combination of factors, including physical, emotional and social influences. It is important to pay serious attention to any indication or suggestion of suicidal thoughts or actions.

Take Notice

It is important to take any indication or suggestion of suicidal thoughts or actions seriously. People in crisis will often give indications that they are in trouble, these are known as warning signs or invitations to help. Learn to identify the signs of suicide in yourself, or others, and know what to do. Warning signs include the following:

Warning signs (invitations to help):

  • threatens or talks about suicide or has a plan for suicide
  • talks about wanting to die or shows a preoccupation with death
  • shows changes in behaviour, appearance or mood• abuses drugs, alcohol, gambling
  • recent suicide attempts or other forms of self harm
  • risk-taking behaviour
  • expresses feelings of hopelessness
  • says things like “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead,” “I shouldn’t have been born,” “I won’t be a problem for you much longer,” “Nothing matters,” or “It’s no use.”
  • makes statements about hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness
  • gives away prized possessions or makes a will
  • loses interest in activities or things once cared about, always feels bored
  • has trouble concentrating or has difficulties with work, family life
  • often complains about physical symptoms that are related to stress and emotions, such as stomach aches, headaches or fatigue
  • becomes overly impulsive and may engage in violent actions

All suicidal thoughts or threats must be taken seriously, as should any behaviour that is out of character. Trust your instincts. If you are concerned about someone, tell others about it. Get help from family, friends, clergy, teachers, counsellors, doctors, crisis lines, mental health services or hospital emergency departments.

Ask

  • Are you thinking about suicide?
  • Do you have a plan?
  • Do you have a way to carry out your plan?

Listen

  • If the answer is yes, insist that together you find help.
  • Be aware that the more planning that goes into any event the more likely it is to happen.
  • Use your instincts about whether the person is at risk of suicide now.

Seek Help

  • If the risk of suicide is imminent it is an emergency:  Call 000
  • Need help now? Call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24/7)

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