Talking about your experience with suicide

Talking to others about feeling suicidal, attempting suicide or losing someone to suicide can help you feel less isolated and more supported.

It’s common to feel unsure, worried and even distressed about what to say to others. We have resources to help you start the conversation.

Talking to family, friends and peers about suicide

Surround yourself with people that you trust, who will listen to you without judgment and that you enjoy being with.

Decide what to share

It can be useful to have a clear agreement about what information should be shared and with whom. Often a short message about what has happened and how you are now coping is enough for most people.

Ask for help

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Seek out an understanding friend, family member or support group. It is best to do this sooner rather than later as it can make a real difference to you, your family and your friends.

Communicate respectfully

When a family is affected by suicide, it is important to communicate with one another while also respecting each other's way of handling the experience. It can be a balancing act but give each other space and time to process emotions but also check in with each other to avoid distancing and isolation.

Does talking about suicide encourage suicidal behaviour?

No. Talking openly about suicidal feelings can give people other options, or the time to rethink their decision.

Sharing your experience online

Often, you can find an incredible amount of support simply by turning to the people who may be going through a similar experience. Joining an online forum or peer support group and receiving advice from people who have been where you are can make you feel more validated and less alone.

Make sure you think carefully about whether certain social media platforms are the right place to talk about your experience. While it’s good to talk to others and get support, everyone is different. Keep in mind:

  • It’s hard to know how other people reading the messages might react. They could be upset and worried about you. It might bring up feelings for them that you may not know about.
  • Other people might start talking about what has happened to you before you’re ready to tell them.
  • It can be harder to get private support that you may need on a public forum.

Talking to a mental health professional about suicide

A mental health professional can help to address the feelings or situations that led up to your suicide attempt. You can talk openly about what’s happened and find new ways to cope with difficult decisions, experiences or emotions.

You might find sessions with a mental health professional useful to:

  • sort through how you are feeling and why
  • provide a different perspective
  • connect you with other doctors or experts when necessary
  • help develop new coping strategies.

Even if you don’t think it will be helpful, consider having a couple of sessions to try it out.

Your brain’s trying to solve an issue that it’s not able to solve and getting help – borrowing someone else’s head to help you solve it – is really paramount.

– Heather, 55

Finding a mental health professional

If you’re not sure who to talk to, often the best place to start is your GP (local doctor). If you don’t have a regular GP, we can help you find a mental health professional:

Talking to work or school about suicide

Returning to work or study is a good sign that you are getting back on track, but it can be difficult to explain why you’ve been away.

If you don’t have close relationships with the people you work or study with you may not want to talk about what has happened. Or you might simply want to keep your personal and work or study life separate.

However, letting your manager, teacher or study coordinator know what’s happened can help you get the support you need.

It may be useful to discuss the possibility of:

  • flexible days or times in the initial return to work or study
  • the potential need to have time off to attend appointments
  • initial reduced work or study load while you transition back
  • flexible deadlines for work or study tasks
  • identifying who else can support you in the work or study setting.

For more information and tips about talking to work about your mental health, visit: Working with poor mental health.

Who you can talk to - your support network

Identify at least one person you can talk with about how you’re feeling. Different people may have different roles. For example:

  • A parent or family member may help you feel loved and cared for.
  • A friend may be great if you’re feeling down and want to have a laugh or do something socially.
  • A neighbour or work colleague might be a good person to talk about things other than your personal life (such as sport or current affairs).
  • A religious or community leader may help you to connect or reconnect with spiritual beliefs or community activities.
  • An online support group may help you find others who understand what you’re going through because they’ve been through it too.
  • A counsellor might be the best person to assist with strategies to deal with stress and coping.
  • A 24-hour phone service may provide non-judgemental crisis support.
Before my suicide attempt, I didn’t know about the importance of having a support network. Now I have a small group of people that I know and trust and if I start to get depressed again, I ring them.

– Andy, 18

Building your support network

We have resources to help you build your support network. You can talk to a professional, such as your GP (doctor), crisis supporters at Lifeline or Suicide Call Back Service, or connect with others at our online peer support community.

Find a mental health professional

Contact Lifeline

It's free, confidential and they're ready to help you at any time of day or night.

Call 13 11 14, text 0477 131 114, or visit their website for live chat.

No problem is too big or small.

Contact Lifeline

Suicide Call Back Service

Suicide Call Back Service is a free, 24/7 counselling service for people affected by suicide.

Call 1300 659 467 or visit their website for live online or video chat.

Contact Suicide Call Back Service

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 Forums – Suicidal thoughts and self-harm

Sharing your experience to help others

At Beyond Blue we have a community of volunteers who share their lived experience (sometimes anonymously) to:

  • guide our work and other organisations across Australia
  • encourage conversations about mental health in the community
  • reduce the stigma and help reduce the impact of anxiety and depression
  • empower children and young people to achieve their best possible mental health. 

If you feel you’re at a place in your journey where you’d like to help others, find out more about Volunteering with us.

Conversations save lives

Speaking to them helped a lot because they had a lot of similar experiences and they could point me in the direction of where I needed to go to get help.