Staying safe when you’re feeling suicidal

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Feeling suicidal means feeling more pain than you can cope with at the time. But remember: no problem lasts forever. 

With help, you can feel better and keep yourself safe. People get through this — people who feel as badly as you feel now. So get help now. You can survive. 

If your life is in danger

  • Tell someone how you feel
  • Contact an emergency service to help keep you safe, such as:
    • Call 000
    • Call your local hospital and ask for the Mental Health Team
    • Go to your emergency department
    • Call a crisis helpline - they're listed at the end of this article 

If you're feeling suicidal but not in danger right now

  • Try to distance your thoughts and actions. Say to yourself, ‘I will wait 24 hours before I do anything’, so you can seek help during that period. 
  • Put any items you could use to hurt yourself out of reach or destroy them. Or ask a trusted friend to look after them. 
  • Do something that has brought you even a small amount of pleasure or distraction before, such as taking a walk, listening to music, taking a hot bath, watching a funny movie, reading or some slow deep breathing. 
  • Get together with others, even if you don't feel like it, so you are not alone. 
  • Reduce drug or alcohol use. These can make it more likely that you may harm yourself, by making you more impulsive and increasing feelings of depression. 
  • Write about your thoughts and feelings. Remember especially to write about the things in your life that you value and appreciate, no matter how small they may seem to you. 
  • If you have developed a safety plan before, look at this again to remind yourself of strategies and ideas you have written before 

Long-term support 

Most suicidal thoughts are associated with underlying causes such as mental health issues (for example, depression), a trauma or difficult life events. 

Psychological treatments can help, as can medication and support, or a combination of these. Remember people do get through this – even people who feel as badly as you feel now. Read more about what treatment and support is available for mental health issues.  

Or contact SANE counselling support online or on 1800 187 263, Monday to Friday 10am-10 pm AEST/AEDT for support, information and referrals.  

Some people develop safety plans to help them if they are feeling suicidal. If you haven’t developed a safety plan, you can create one yourself – or with a trusted friend, family member, or professional – using the Beyond Now webpage or app. 

Where to call for help

For immediate assistance:

Connect with others and hear real stories 

  • Visit the SANE Forums to chat with others who get it. Start connecting with others who have been through mental health issues or suicidal thoughts and actions. 
  • Visit Better Off With You to find real stories of people who have survived suicidal thoughts and actions, and discovered how much they matter to the people around them.     
Last updated: 21 September 2021

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