Suicide –The signs

“In 2016, we lost 624 Victorians to suicide, that’s more than twice as many lives as our state’s road toll”

(by Getting Things Done report by the Victorian Budget 18/19 on 1/5/2018)


Someone thinking about suicide will usually give some clues or signs to those around them, though these signs may be subtle. Suicide prevention starts with recognising the warning signs and triggers and taking them seriously. 


The feelings and physical signs are only part of the signs.


Suicidal thoughts

Someone who is about to suicide, is likely to experience the following thoughts.  These thoughts may be real and not just a ‘bunch of words’

  • A feeling of despair (disconnection & sadness)
  • No hope (desperation)
  • Negativity that never stops 
  • There is no one here for me (loneliness)
  • I have done this all before (irritable and annoyed)
  • Things will never change (powerless & trapped)
  • I have tried everything, what else is there left to do (helpless)
  • I am tired of all this (exhaustion)
  • Embarrassed
  • I am not interested in anyone or anything (withdrawn & no motivation)


Physical signs that someone may be thinking of suicide

The physical limitations that a person who is potentially thinking of suicide is likely to experience are as follows:

  • I cry all the time and I don’t know why
  • I am always angry for no apparent reason
  • There is too much chatter in my head
  • I can’t take it anymore
  • I can’t eat properly, if at all (sudden changes in eating habits as well as weight changes)
  • I can’t sleep or I sleep too much
  • I’m tired all of the time (loss of energy)
  • I can’t do anything too physical
  • I can’t focus
  • I can’t concentrate
  • I don’t care what I look like (loss of interest in appearance & hygiene)
  • I don’t care about sex (reduction of libido and interest)
  • I am sick all the time and in pain (chronic illness and pain)


Other Behaviours to be aware of include:

  • A history of suicidal behaviour
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Putting affairs in order
  • Writing suicide notes or goodbye letters to loved ones
  • Self-harming
  • Uncharacteristic risk-taking or recklessness
  • Fighting and/or breaking the law


Look out for what are they saying?

  • “Nothing I do makes a bit of difference, it’s beyond my control and no one can help me.”
  • “Why am I here anyway?
  • “I would like to just kill myself”
  • “I can’t see any way out of this mess.”
  • “They’d be better off without me.”
  • “I just don’t fit in anywhere.”
  • “It’s my fault, I’m to blame.”
  • “I just can’t take this anymore.”
  • “I’m on my own… no one cares about me; no one would even notice if I was gone.”
  • “I’ve been irreparably damaged… I’ll never be the same again.”


What to do when you think someone wants to suicide?

Speak up if you are worried

Talking to someone about their suicidal thoughts can be a challenge, but if you are unsure, the best way to find out is to ask.


You might be worried that you will ‘put the idea of suicide into their head’ if you ask about suicide. However, you cannot make a person suicidal by showing your concern. In fact, giving a suicidal person the opportunity to express their feelings can actually give them relief from isolation and pent-up negative feelings, and may reduce their risk of suicide.


How to start a conversation about suicide

  • “You haven’t seemed yourself lately and I’m worried about you.”
  • “I have noticed that you have been doing (X/Y/Z), and I’m wondering how you are going?”


Questions you can ask

·         “What can I do to help you?”

·         “I’d like to help you get through this, is there something I can do for you?”


If you know someone who may be thinking of suicide, visit the Conversations Matter website for more helpful tips on how to talk to them about suicide. 


If someone is planning to take their own life they need to be linked into help immediately and not left alone.


In an emergency, call 000 or call Life Line on 13 11 14


The 2018-19 Victorian State Budget includes “$18.7 million to expand the Hospital Outreach Post-suicidal Engagement initiative to a further 6 hospitals, supporting an extra 3,000 people per year.”

(by Getting Things Done report by the Victorian Budget 18/19 on 1/5/2018)

Read a personal reflection of an individual who has been affected by their brother's suicide.

'No time to say goodbye' is a motivational recount of a sibling learning to come to terms with their grief.

Click the link below to read the full blog.


No time to say goodbye