Feeling suicidal

If you’re feeling suicidal, please know that suicidal thoughts can pass. You don't need to act on them.

On this page we’ll help you understand what suicidal thoughts are and how to stay safe if you’re feeling suicidal.

If you're in crisis right now, support is available.

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Crisis support options - for urgent help

If you're seriously injured or at risk of harming yourself right now, call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance. For free, confidential 24/7 counselling call or chat online to Lifeline or Suicide Call Back Service. No problem is too big or small.

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What to do if you're feeling suicidal

Research shows that the most effective way of getting through suicidal thoughts safely is to distract yourself and remove anything you could use to end your life.

Reminding yourself of your reasons to live can also be helpful.

If you're feeling suicidal we strongly encourage you to get support as soon as possible. Support can help to keep you safe and feel better.

Skip to the support section on this page: Get support.

Distract yourself from suicidal thoughts

Doing things to distract yourself from suicidal thoughts can help keep you safe. Find what works best for you. Distractions which have worked well for others include: 

  • going to places where you can be around other people

  • exercising

  • listening to music or podcasts

  • taking a refreshing shower

  • watching something you like (such as a film, YouTube video or TV)

  • walking outside

  • games and puzzles

  • being creative (for example, writing, painting or making things)

  • keeping busy (for example, cleaning or grocery shopping).

Make your surroundings safe

It's important to make your space as safe as you can. Get rid of stuff that could be used to end your life.

This could include:

  • lock up or get rid of anything you could use to harm yourself

  • give your medication and car keys to someone else to look after.

Remind yourself of your reasons to live

When you're feeling suicidal, it's easy to forget about the good things in life. Thinking about these things can help you manage until the feelings pass.

Write down things that make you want to live - big or small. These might include:

  • special people and pets in your life

  • things that give you joy in the present (such as sights, sounds, tastes and places)

  • things you'd like to do or places you'd like to go in the future

  • big and small things to look forward to (such as new games, books or movies)

  • helping others, like your friends, family, community or mob.

Finding a way through suicidal feelings: 8 stories of hope

I know that what you're feeling right now feels like the only option that you have. I completely understand that feeling... of not wanting to be here and how intense that can be.
You're not alone. Others have that experience and there is a way out of that.

Watch more stories about finding a way through suicidal feelings

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What are suicidal thoughts?

Suicidal thoughts are when someone is thinking about taking their own life. People who think about suicide are not always planning to take their own life.

You’re not alone: 1 in 6 Australians will have thoughts of suicide at some point during their lives.

You may feel an overwhelming sense of distress and want it to end. You might feel alone or like you’re a burden to others. You might not know why, or even if, you want to end your life.

Some thoughts others have had when feeling suicidal are:

  • “I felt trapped. There was no other way I could get away.”

  • “I felt overwhelmed and out of control.”

  • “I felt like a failure and a burden. I just wanted to make it easier for those around me.”

Do suicidal thoughts go away?

If someone has felt suicidal, it doesn’t mean they’ll always feel suicidal. Suicidal feelings can come and go in a matter of minutes or hours. They can be made more intense by drug and alcohol use or stressful events in your life.

While suicidal thoughts may return, they’re not permanent. Someone who has experienced suicidal thoughts or attempts can go on to live a long life.

Get support

Many of us find it hard to ask for support, but it can make a real difference having someone to talk to.

You can talk to someone close to you that you trust. Or you can talk to a professional, such as your GP (doctor) or crisis supporters at Lifeline or Suicide Call Back Service.

Find a mental health professional

Not sure how to start the conversation? Read our tips here: Talking to someone about your suicidal feelings.

Connect with our online peer support community

If you’re not ready to talk, consider connecting anonymously with our online peer support community. Read, share and learn from people who understand what you're going through.

Visit our peer support Forums – Suicidal thoughts and self-harm

Suicide safety planning 

Helping you cope with feeling suicidal

A suicide safety plan gives you 7 steps to follow if you start to feel suicidal. Often a health professional will work with you to develop a safety plan. You can also create one yourself using our Beyond Now app.

Research shows that safety planning:

  • makes suicidal thoughts less severe and intense

  • helps you cope with the thoughts.

A personalised safety plan helps you cope by:  

  1. recognising your warning signs
  2. making your surroundings safe
  3. reminding you of reasons to live
  4. finding things that can make you feel strong
  5. connecting with people and places
  6. talking to family and friends
  7. getting professional support.

Looking after your mental health

Many people who think about suicide are experiencing severe depression. Sometimes they’re experiencing anxiety as well. Depression and anxiety don’t usually go away on their own. Support can help you feel better and stop you from feeling worse.

Consider seeing a mental health professional

Mental health professionals like a GP, psychologist, psychiatrist or counsellor can review your symptoms and help you decide what support you need. Support options may include therapy or medication.

A GP can also write a mental health treatment plan so you can get Medicare rebates. When you book an appointment with a doctor, ask for a longer or double appointment to talk about a mental health treatment plan.

Find a mental health professional

Online self-guided help for young First Nations peoples

If you’re not ready to talk to someone yet, you can use an app to support you to manage your suicidal thoughts. 

iBobbly is a social and emotional wellbeing self-help app for young First Nations peoples aged 15 years and over.

Learn about iBobbly

Not sure where to start?

Our counsellors can help point you in the right direction.

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