Should you need any resources or assistance for yourself or a friend, please see the Mackay & Region Suicide-Prevention Resource List.
All information contained in this website is a general indication of how to respond. Grapevine Group recommends that everyone at risk is dealt with by professionals. If you are need of immediate advice for someone you are concerned about contact Lifeline Crisis Line 13 11 44 or see a GP.
What You Can Do If You Think Someone May Be Suicidal
If someone is showing these signs GET HELP
- Get help from experts. Call a crisis hotline (e.g Lifeline)
- Don’t try to handle a suicidal person by yourself ~ call other friends, family, services or crisis lines for support.
- Be direct. Talk openly & matter-of-factly about suicide. Ask the person, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Don’t lessen the reality of the situation by using phrases like “ending it all” or “going to sleep.”
- Listen to the person in crisis. Allow expressions of feelings, including feelings about wanting to die. Accept the feelings, even if they scare you. Let the person cry or scream if needed in order to get their feelings out.
- Make a specific contract with the person to call you, a crisis line, or some other person before they do anything to hurt or kill themselves. If the person won’t make such a promise, it is not safe to leave them alone for any period of time. Make sure someone stays close by the person (in the same room, in visual contact) & get outside help immediately.
- Don’t say things like “It’s not so bad” or “Things will get better soon.” That invalidates the overwhelming feelings that the suicidal person is having & can cause them to feel very alone. Instead, try to say things like, “You feel so terrible right now that you can’t see any way out other than killing yourself.” That lets the suicidal person know that you can hear how desperate they feel.
- Don’t be judgmental. Don’t talk about whether suicide is right or wrong, or whether feelings are good or bad. Don’t talk about suicide in judgmental terms, such as “doing something dumb.”
- Get involved. Become available. Show interest & support. Let the suicidal person know that you care about them.
- Don’t underestimate a threat of suicide. We all want to believe that a friend or loved one isn’t at risk, but the fact is that people who threaten to suicide often do. By the time friends & family become aware of the suicidal thoughts, the risk of suicide is often very high. Take the person seriously.
- Never dare the person to do it or tell the person that you don’t think that they would be able to do it.
- Do not deny or minimize the idea that the person is serious.
- Try not to act shocked. This will put distance between you & the suicidal person, and they may feel like you can’t understand. Show them that you want to understand & that you are not going to turn away or reject how they feel.
- Get support for yourself so that you will be able to support the suicidal person. Don’t agree that you will keep their thoughts of suicide secret. Let them know that you will be there to love & support them, & that you will need to get more support for both of you. Don’t try to handle a suicidal person by yourself. Bring in other friends or family or call a crisis hotline for support.
- Try to find out how the person plans to kill himself or herself. If they have a specific plan, the greater the risk remove the method if possible (pills or knife etc.). Call 000 if there is immediate danger involved.