In Depression

What can you do if someone is self harming or contemplating suicide?

Suicide claims the lives of thousands of Australians per year, with almost eight lives lost to suicide everyday (ABS, 2016). By reaching out and showing support simply by starting the conversation you can play a role in the steps towards recovery.

Self-harm is defined by people intentionally hurting themselves, often characterised by cutting or burning skin on arms, thighs or wrists, or purposely overdosing on medication or harmful substances. People may self-harm or contemplate suicide in response to extreme emotional pain, which emphasises the importance of recognising the warning signs. These warning signs can manifest in a combination of feelings, behaviours, conversational cues, and physical changes. Click here for a more comprehensive overview <>

Follow the links below for tips on starting a conversation about suicide with someone you’re worried about, and be prepared to actively listen to understand. In the steps towards recovery, encourage the person to create a suicide safety plan and seek the help of a healthcare professional who can suggest coping strategies. Additionally, supporting someone can be stressful which is why it’s important to look after yourself too.

If you are in crisis or contemplating suicide please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Topic Links:

Supporting someone you’re worried about:

Support for the supporter:


Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2016). Causes of Death, Australia 2014, preliminary data., Cat. no. (3303.0). Canberra: ABS. 

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