Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Are you experiencing suicidal thoughts?

4-minute read

If you’re thinking about suicide, you’re not alone — and there is hope. Lots of people have suicidal thoughts but survive. There is help at hand.

Why do I feel like this?

Finding yourself thinking about suicide can be frightening. You might feel alone, and like nobody can understand what you're going through. It may help you to know that lots of people struggle with life, and that many people who have had similar thoughts to you have found a way through it.

Remember that there's a big difference between thoughts and actions. Thoughts come and go, and don't have to be acted on.

People have all sorts of reasons for contemplating suicide. It might be one big thing, or it might be a combination of things. Some of the most common reasons for suicidal thoughts are:

  • personal problems - for example, relationship break-ups, being abused, or being bullied
  • major stresses - like problems with money or getting a job
  • mental health issues - such as overwhelming depression or anxiety
  • loss or grief - for example, the death of someone close to you
  • problems with drugs or alcohol
  • long-term pain or ill health
  • feeling alone and like you don't belong

Whatever your reason, life can be very hard and you may feel like there's no hope for the future. That's when it's time to get help.

What should I do?

If you're having suicidal thoughts, there are some things you need to do:

  1. Let someone know how you're feeling. Talk to a friend, family member, counsellor, or doctor - or contact a crisis service like Lifeline.
  2. Keep yourself safe. If you feel in danger, call triple zero (000) or go to your nearest hospital. Get rid of anything you could use to hurt yourself, and don't go to any places where you've thought about killing yourself.
  3. Don't make any hasty decisions. Remember that thoughts and feelings do pass with time.
  4. Avoid drugs and alcohol. They can make you feel worse or do things you wouldn't do if you were sober.
  5. Try not to be alone. Stay with someone you trust until you feel better. If that's not possible, talk to someone at a crisis service (see 'Where to get help').
  6. Make a safety plan. Sit down with your doctor or another support person, and work out a plan to follow when you're feeling suicidal. You might find the BeyondNow app helpful.
  7. Help yourself - follow some tips for managing suicidal feelings to see if they help.

Watch this video from Lifeline's YouTube channel, in which survivors of suicide share their stories to encourage others to seek help.

How to talk to someone about suicidal thoughts

When you're feeling bad, it can seem like the hardest time to talk about how you feel. But if you don't, it can make things seem even worse.

You might worry about what people will think of you, or how they might react. But while talking can be hard, it's the first step to feeling better. So how do you have the conversation?

If you decide to talk to a friend or family member:

  • Be patient with yourself, take your time
  • Start by letting them know you're struggling and need to talk
  • Be honest and clear, so they can understand what's going on
  • Be prepared for their reaction - it might be hard for them to hear what you're saying, but keep going - they will adjust.

Visit Beyond Blue's website for tips on things to say.

If you decide to talk to a health professional, tell them:

  • you've been having suicidal thoughts
  • how often and in how much detail you think about suicide
  • if you have access to something you could use to kill yourself
  • if you've tried to hurt yourself before

If you feel more comfortable talking to someone you don't know, call a crisis service - see 'Where to get help' below.

Where to get help

If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start.

There are also many organisations out there that can help you. Here are some you can visit online or call anytime (24 hours a day, 7 days a week):

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: March 2020

Back To Top

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Suicide prevention - Beyond Blue

Talking to a friend about his suicidal thoughts can be challenging, but the only real way to find out how he’s feeling is to ask.

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Teen suicidal thoughts & suicide attempts | Raising Children Network

If your teenage child is having suicidal thoughts or has made a suicide attempt, you and your child need support. Here’s what to do and how to get help.

Read more on website

Suicidal thoughts | Head to Health

Suicidal behaviour is about wanting to end great emotional pain. If you are experiencing great pain, or feel that there is nothing to live for, there is help and support available.

Read more on Head to Health website

Support your teenager to manage suicidal thoughts - ReachOut Parents

Help your teenager realise that suicidal thoughts pass and they can get through the tough times with help.

Read more on website

Understand why people may become suicidal & have suicidal thoughts

Suicidal thoughts can be triggered by many different situations & experiences. Learn the contributing factors & how to help from Suicide Call Back Service.

Read more on Suicide Callback Service website

I'm having suicidal thoughts | Better Off With You

Below you’ll find information to understand, identify and manage suicidal thoughts. If you feel like your life may be in immediate danger or you have made plans to take your life, please reach out for support now. Talk to a trusted family member, friend or health professional. Other options are to get in touch with Lifeline by calling 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

Read more on SANE Australia website

Understanding and dealing with suicide | headspace

Suicidal thoughts can affect many young people. Learn more about what to do if you, or someone you care about, is thinking about suicide.

Read more on headspace website

Beyond Now - Suicide safety planning - Beyond Blue

The Beyond Now suicide safety planning app helps you stay safe if you're experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress or crisis.

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Thinking about suicide | SuicideLine Victoria

SuicideLine Victoria provides phone and online counselling for anyone who is struggling with situations in their life, from feeling low or stressed to the more complex issues of suicidal thoughts and grief arising from suicide

Read more on SuicideLine website

Feeling suicidal - Beyond Blue

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts and feelings reaching out for support and getting treatment will help in your steps towards recovery.

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Victorian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo

Healthdirect Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners and to Elders both past and present.