Julia Gillard

The Chair of beyondblue, The Hon. Julia Gillard AC

Talking about suicide is never easy.

But there may come a time in your life when you’re worried about a loved one.

That someone you care about is behaving in ways that are out of character. They might be aggressive, losing sleep or talking in ways that suggest they feel hopeless or worthless.

They might be withdrawn or have lost interest in things they normally would enjoy. In short, they may not seem like themselves.

Sometimes, these can be signs someone needs your support.

It’s perfectly natural to have doubts about raising such a sensitive subject as a suicide.  It’s completely understandable that you would worry about saying the wrong thing.

And let’s be frank – many of us are afraid that if we raise suicide, then we risk putting the idea in someone’s head. That talking about suicide actually makes it more likely that someone will take their own life.

But beyondblue has worked with experts to research what’s the best approach to take.  We have learned from all that careful study that talking about suicide helps. It simply isn’t true that talking about suicide makes acting on suicidal thoughts more likely.

We have also discovered you don’t have to be a health professional to support someone at risk. You just need to be a person who is prepared to have the conversation.

As a nation, we need to work together to reduce the number of suicides in our community. We all have a role to play. If you're worried about someone – a friend, co-worker or a loved one, don’t avoid having a talk. Let them know your concerned and ask if they are OK.

If they say ‘no’, listen with empathy and without judgement. Make sure they’re safe and suggest they seek professional help. Simply letting them know you care can make a big difference.  

For more information about how to have a conversation with someone you’re worried about, we have advice and strategies on the beyondblue website.

Related reading: How to check in with someone

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