If you or someone you care about needs emergency help please call the emergency services - 000. If you or someone you care about need to speak to someone immediately please call Lifeline - 13 11 14.

What is the difference between suicide and suicidal ideations?

Suicide is the act of a person intentionally causing his or her own death. Most suicide attempts will occur as a result of a crisis situation; this is an impulsive reaction to a personal crises. Many survivors of suicide attempts have stated that their main motivation was to escape the pain, either physical or emotional, that they were feeling, rather than taking their own life.

Suicidal ideations are ideas, thoughts or plans that a person has about causing their own death.

What are some of the warning signs?

Some of the common warning signs are:

  • Feeling hopeless or like there is no hope for the future;
  • Being isolated;
  • Drastic changes in mood or behaviour;
  • Frequently discussing or writing about death;
  • Self-harm or engaging in other “risky” behaviours;
  • Giving away possessions such as clothes;
  • Having a negative view of self or feeling like a burden to others;
  • Making suicidal threats.

What are some of the risk factors for suicide?

  • Mental Illness: In particular mood disorders, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia and certain personality disorders;
  • Alcohol and substance abuse;
  • Feeling hopeless;
  • Having impulsive or aggressive tendencies;
  • History of trauma or abuse;
  • Family history of suicide;
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation;
  • Exposure to and influence of others who have died by suicide (see more information about social networking);
  • Being a victim of bullying;
  • Being uncertain about their sexual orientation – LGBTQIA+ teens or teens who don’t identify to a traditional gender are more at risk of acting on suicidal thoughts. It is not the sexuality or gender identity that leads to suicide, it is the experience such as discrimination, prejudice, isolation and rejection (family or friends) that elevate this risk. For more information about gender and sexuality visit Beyond Blue
  • Physical or medical issues.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teens also have an increased risk. Racial discrimination can be hugely damaging to mental health.

What can I do to help?

Ask questions. Ask them if they have been thinking about hurting themselves and if they have made plans.

Listen and encourage them to talk to you and show that you are taking their concerns seriously, provide reassurance, but do not dismiss their problem. Acknowledge their fears and sadness.
Make sure you tell them that you care.

Get professional help . Offer to go with them if they want/need support. Let them know where they can go to get help and provide them with contact numbers and assist them in making the calls if they need it. If you need someone to talk to checkout our suggested contacts to find the right person for you.

Avoid being judgement, panicking or becoming angry, interrupting their story or offering too much advice. Never promise to keep their thoughts about suicide a secret let them know you are unable to keep their secret. They may seem upset with, but they will be thankful later.

Require more information? 

Beyond Blue
Suicide Callback Service



Beyondblue. (2016). Retrieved 26 October 2016, from's-going-on/suicide-prevention

Hawton, K., & James, A. (2005). Suicide and deliberate self harm in young people. BMJ : British Medical Journal, 330(7496), 891-894.

Hungerford, C., Hodgson, D., Clancy, R., Monisse-Redman, M., Bostwick, R., Tony. Mental Health Care: An Introduction for Health Professional 2E. [VitalSource Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from

Identifying risk factors and warning signs for suicide. (2015) (2nd ed.). Retrieved from

Preventing Suicide. (2016). Retrieved 19 October 2016, from