Asking a person if they are feeling suicidal can be difficult.
Some people find it impossible (unfortunately).
Fear is a major obstacle in discussing suicide. Fear of the answer! What if a person replies u2018yes, I am feeling suicidalu2019? How will I respond? Do I have time for this? Iu2019m sure there is someone else they can talk to. Donu2019t you have a counsellor, a GP, a psychiatrist?!?
One of the kindest acts you can bestow upon a person troubled by suicide is to ask them directly if they are thinking of killing themselves.
- Ask a person directly, u2018are you thinking of suicide?u2019 u2018are you thinking of killing yourself?u2019
- Keep the language simple.
- Do not ask too many questions. Wait for a reply.
- Do not use euphemisms
If a person replies that they have had suicidal thoughts it is important to stay calm.
Let the person talk and it is important to let someone else know u2013 call Lifeline, inform a family member, a friend, a manager, a colleague or professional help.
Do not keep suicide a secret.
A connection can be established by talking about suicide and acknowledging a personu2019s feelings. Often suicidal people feel like they are a burden and undergo feelings of disconnection, isolation and shame. By forming a connection, we can help break this thought pattern.
encourage the person to call Lifeline 13 11 14.
Suicide Crisis Support
If a person replies, that yes, they are thinking of suicide, it is important to check on their immediate safety.
You have a duty of care to that person to respond to their suicidal intentions.
If a person is at immediate risk call emergency services
Let the person know how concerned you are for them and that you will do what you can to keep them safe from suicide.
Support & available help
- A crisis assessment and treatment team (CATT) or acute mental health team provides immediate help during a mental health crisis. Call your state’s mental health crisis line for immediate, expert support.
- The suicide call back service provides telephone and online counselling to people who are affected by suicide and can help with support. Call 1300 659 467.