If you think you might harm yourself, seek help immediately.

  • Call 000 (police, ambulance, fire)
  • Call Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Get someone to take you to your local hospital emergency department
  • Go to your GP

If you have suicidal thoughts, don't try to manage on your own. If you feel like you are going to harm yourself, it is important to contact someone to talk about it now, or contact your local hospital emergency department. It is important to get some support for yourself as soon as possible.

Why do some people think about committing suicide?

Sometimes problems can seem overwhelming. Some people think about suicide, but do not plan or act on it. However, for others the thought of suicide might begin to seem like a real alternative to a problem or situation that appears hopeless or as if there is no solution. When people feel this bad it is hard to think about other choices or other ways to solve problems.

Sometimes, people have thoughts about suicide because they are going through some really stressful situations or because they are suffering from depression.

Stressful situations

Situations that might contribute to a feeling of hopelessness include:

  • relationship break-ups
  • family problems
  • sexual, physical or mental abuse
  • alcohol and other drugs problems
  • major grief and loss such as a death
  • school, uni or work problems
  • unemployment or being unemployed for a long time
  • feeling like you don't belong anywhere
  • any problem that you can't see a solution for and is ongoing
  • mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.

Depression

When people suffer from depression there are chemical changes in the brain and people's thoughts, feelings and behaviour become affected. Depression can affect thinking so that it becomes hard to think of other ways out of a situation. The things that seem really hard to see when you're feeling down are:

  • that the problems that seem unsolvable will change
  • that life is always changing
  • that there are many other choices

What to do if you're having suicidal thoughts

If you are feeling suicidal or want to end your life, it's important that you keep yourself safe. Try to remember that thoughts about suicide are just thoughts. They do not mean you have to act on them, no matter how overwhelming they are or how often you have them. They won't last forever, and often they pass quickly.

Everyone goes through tough times when things seem hopeless. It is possible to get through these times by creating your own 'tool kit' of coping strategies, which you can use when you're feeling suicidal or when things feel hopeless.

Some suggestions include:

  • Postpone your decision to end to your life. Keep a list of things you can do to distract yourself, such as watching a DVD, going to the movies, ringing a friend, chatting on MSN, doing some exercise, reading a book, playing a game or listening to music.
  • Talk to someone. Tell a friend or family member or call a telephone counselling service. 24-hour telephone counselling lines allow you to talk anonymously to a trained counsellor.
  • Talk to a professional. GPs, psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors and other health professionals are trained to deal with issues relating to suicide, mental illness and wellbeing.
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and many drugs are depressants, and can make you feel worse. They can also impair your decision-making skills and you might do something you normally wouldn't do.
  • Exercise and eat well. Even though you might not feel like it, exercising and eating well can really help when you are feeling down. Exercise helps stimulate hormones, such as endorphins, which help you feel better about yourself and your life. If you haven't done a lot of exercise before, it might be a good idea to start doing something small a couple of times each week. A 15 minute walk or 2 or 3 laps of a pool would be a good place to start.
  • Set small goals for yourself. Set yourself some small goals that are achievable for you, even if it's on a day by day, or hour by hour, basis. And remember to reward yourself too.

Where to go for help

Contact Student Services to see a student counsellor

  • See your GP, a psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor
  • Call Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 (24 hours)
  • Call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hours)

More information

If you are worried about a friend: