We all experience feelings of sadness, anxiety, frustration, and overwhelm from time to time—they’re part of being human. But when difficult emotions linger for long periods, when it feels hard to do things you usually enjoy or that are important to you, or when feelings of hopelessness or thoughts of self-harm arise, it’s time to get support. Pay attention to the warning signs, and know where to reach out for help.
How to tell whether you or someone you love is in crisis
Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, according to Lifeline. While it is complicated, knowing the warning signs can help you find support and possibly save a life.
According to the Black Dog Institute, the following behaviours may be signs someone is thinking about taking their life:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of interest in things
- Self-harming (e.g. cutting)
- Putting affairs in order, giving things away, saying goodbyes, writing suicide notes or goodbye letters
- Risky behaviour (e.g. consuming excessive alcohol or other drug use)
- Mentioning or joking about suicide, death or dying
- They see themselves as a burden
- They can’t see a way out of their situation
- They're feeling a sense of hopelessness
Suicidal thoughts or actions indicate extreme distress and should not be ignored. Get help as soon as possible if the above behaviours describe you or someone you love.
Mental Health Resources
Experts emphasise that getting help quickly is crucial to anyone in crisis and calling a helpline like the ones listed below can be a powerful first step. There are many organisations across Australia that provide support and education for people with mental illness and their families and carers. Some of these are listed below and all providing 24/7 support.
13 11 14
Lifeline provides crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services.
1300 22 4636
beyondblue provides support for people with anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings.
1800 650 890
eheadspace provides mental health and wellbeing support to young people aged 12 to 25 years and their families.
1300 659 467
Suicide Call Back Service provides support if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal.