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Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44. Suicide is complex and there are many factors that may contribute to someone experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Suicidal thoughts can happen as part of a mental health condition, such as depression. But they can also occur when life has been difficult or stressful, such as during a break up or death of someone close.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s important to speak to someone you trust. Seeking help takes courage, and it can be really hard, but it can have a big impact on how quickly you can overcome these thoughts.

If someone you know seems to be struggling, reach out to them. Showing them that you care could make an enormous difference.

The warning signs

Someone who is thinking about suicide will usually give some clues or signs to people around them, even though these might be subtle. Suicide prevention starts with recognising the warning signs and taking them seriously. Warning signs might include:

  • a sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future;
  • isolation or feeling alone;
  • aggressiveness and irritability;
  • negative view of self;
  • drastic changes in mood and behaviour;
  • frequently talking about death;
  • self-harming behaviours;
  • risk-taking behaviours;
  • making funeral arrangements;
  • giving things away (clothes, expensive gifts);
  • substance abuse;
  • feeling like a burden to others; and
  • talking about suicide.

What to do

It is important to not keep thoughts of suicide a secret and to get help for yourself and the person experiencing the thoughts. If you have immediate concerns for a person’s safety or if they have harmed themselves in anyway, contact an ambulance immediately (dial 000).

Where there are no immediate safety concerns, and the person is a Deakin student, you can seek support and advice through Deakin's Counselling service during business hours. Outside of business hours or for those who are not Deakin students there are a range of 24 hour crisis support services available.

Getting support

Counselling support is available to Deakin students through the Deakin's Counselling service.

Lifeline is available 24/7 on 13 11 14.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander crisis support workers are available on 13 YARN (13 92 76).

QLife (1800 184 527) provides anonymous and free LGBTI peer support and referral for people in Australia wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships.

More help and advice

The #chatafe guidelines provide evidence-based tools and tips to help you communicate safely online about suicide.

Learn more about suicide and suicide prevention on the Beyond Blue website or the headspace website.

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Page custodian: Student Services