There is a common myth that talking about suicide can create or increase the chance of someone harming themselves. This is one of the biggest myths that surround this area.
Talking about suicide does not create or increase the risk of someone hurting themselves.
A large portion of people contemplating suicide usually communicate their intentions in some shape or form to a friend or family member before they attempt to harm themselves. This should be recognised as an invitation to assist them to seek professional help. Invitations may present in the following ways:
- withdrawing from others
- giving valued items away
- reported feeling hopeless or helpless
- talking about death and dying
- getting affairs into order
- frequent crying
Don't be afraid to ask the person directly if you are worried. You could say something like:
- 'Lately you have seemed sad and I am worried about you. Have you been thinking about suicide?'
- 'Have you thought about killing yourself?'
Whilst it can be confronting and scary to hear someone talk about suicide, for the person considering harming themselves, it can be liberating to say the words out loud. It is often such a taboo topic that people avoid actually taking about it, so giving them the opportunity to do so can help a lot.
So if your friend or family member answers yes... what do you do?
Your goal is to get the person in danger to a trained professional. In some instances, it may be helpful to go with the person, for example, to walk them over to the counselling service. It is good to reassure them that you want to help, try to be as supportive and patient as possible.
If a person is at imminent risk it is important to link them with professional assistance immediately. Never attempt to manage this on your own and never leave them on their own.
If your family member or friend has taken pills or harmed themselves in any way, call an ambulance (Dial 000).
If the threat is not as imminent there are many different people you could call to assist you:
- Lifeline - 13 11 14
- Suicide helpline (Victoria only) - 1300 651 251
- Box Hill Hospital - Emergency - 03 9895 3219
- Geelong Hospital - Emergency 5226 7564
- Barwon Mental Health - 5226 7410
- Southwest Healthcare Mental Health Services Warrnambool (8:30am-5pm)- 5561 9100
- Southwest Healthcare Mental Health Services Warrnambool (After hours) - 1800 808 284
- Make an appointment with Deakin Counselling Service
- Make an appointment with Deakin Medical Centre