Talking to someone about your suicidal feelings

If you’re having suicidal thoughts, talking about how you feel can help you get the support you need. You might decide to talk to a friend, family member or Elder. Or you might want to chat online anonymously to one of our counsellors. 

Remember that thoughts of suicide are just thoughts, you don’t have to act on them. These thoughts can sometimes last just a few minutes.

The most important thing is to stay safe right now. If you’re in crisis, find out What to do if you’re feeling suicidal.

How talking to someone can help

Talking about your suicidal feelings:

  • allows others to be there for you
  • gives you a chance to work out what to do next.

Many people have been affected by suicide, though it’s rarely talked about. 1 in 6 Australians will have thoughts of suicide at some point during their lives.

Confidentiality and staying safe

When you tell someone about your suicidal thoughts, you can't expect them to keep it a secret.

They'll need to be able to help you stay safe and that usually means calling in extra help.

George’s experience of talking about suicidal feelings

"I always used to be afraid of using the word suicide or are you having thoughts of suicide?

"It's something that I never really wanted to talk to anyone about, but I find that now asking that question is very, very powerful."

Talk to a friend, family member or Elder

Consider sharing how you feel and seeking support from those you trust and who care about you. Try and think about it as just another conversation. Describe how you feel and the help you need. It's best to be direct so that they understand how you feel.

How to start the conversation

Often a short message about what’s happened and how you’re coping is enough. It could be something like:

Things have been really tough for me lately and I’ve been having thoughts of suicide. I just wanted to let you know what I have been dealing with and that I am trying to get back on track.

Let them know what you need from them. For example:

I’m not sure what to do next. I need you to support me so we can find out together.
What I need at this point is someone who can listen to me without telling me what I need to do.

If someone wants to talk about your suicidal feelings and nothing else, let them know that it helps to talk about other things too. For example:

I’d really appreciate it if we could talk about other things at the moment. I just want to get my mind off it.

Be prepared for their reaction

People can react in a range of ways when they hear that someone they know and care about has been feeling suicidal.

Initially they might feel panicked or shocked. Feelings of anger, betrayal, guilt and self-blame are also common reactions. It’s possible they may be fearful of saying the wrong thing.

Their response will depend on how they feel, their past experiences and whether they’re comfortable talking about difficult times.

Their beliefs around life and death and their cultural or religious beliefs may also play a part in how they respond to you.

Just keep talking and together you can find a way through it.

Leilani’s experience of talking about suicidal feelings

"Find someone. It might be more comfortable being a stranger or someone that you don't know, or you might have just that one person who you feel comfortable in saying, you know what? I'm not okay.

"I completely understand that feeling of not wanting to be here and how intense that can be. What my advice would be is to understand that it doesn't stay that way all the time."

Talk or chat online to a counsellor

Our free telephone and online counselling service is open 24/7 for everyone in Australia. It’s a great place to start if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Most calls and webchats last around 20 minutes.

We can also help you find the right services for you if you need extra support.

Call a counsellor

Our qualified mental health line counsellors are ready to listen to you any time of day or night.

Get free, confidential telephone counselling (local call costs apply). Most calls last around 20 minutes. 

Call 1300 22 4636

Chat to a counsellor online

Experienced online counsellors are here 24/7 at our Webchat Support Service.

All webchats are free and you don’t have to tell us your name if you don’t want to. 

Webchat Support Service

If you’re in crisis right now

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

Billy’s experience of talking to a counsellor about suicidal feelings

"That initial conversation that I had that time on the phone with Beyond Blue, I just felt so much better straight away. I just felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders with a 10-minute conversation."

Join our Forums anonymously

If you’re not ready to talk about your suicidal thoughts, you can connect with our online peer support community.

Anonymously read, share and learn from people who understand what you're going through.

Share your lived experience with our welcoming peer support community at the Beyond Blue Forums. 

Visit our Forums – Suicidal thoughts and self-harm

Find a mental health professional

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

You might find sessions with a health professional useful to:

  • work with you to develop a safety plan
  • sort through how you are feeling and why
  • provide a different perspective
  • link you in with other doctors or experts when necessary
  • help develop new coping strategies.

Even if you don’t think it will be helpful to link in with a health professional consider having a couple of sessions to try it out.

Find a mental health professional

Make a suicide safety plan

A safety plan gives you 7 steps to stay safe if you start to feel suicidal.

Research shows that safety planning:

  • makes suicidal thoughts less severe and intense
  • helps you cope with the thoughts.

Beyond Now – suicide safety planning