Talking about Suicide

Talking to someone about your suicidal feelings can be very difficult. You may be worried that you will be told to stop overreacting or that such thoughts are a sign of weakness. You might feel embarrassed or ashamed. You might feel that it is easier to keep it to yourself rather than taking the risk of telling someone. 

However, if you choose the right person, then talking with them about how you are feeling will usually help. 


In an emergency

If you are in immediate danger, or concerned for your safety in any way: 

  • Call 000 and request an ambulance. Stay on the line, speak clearly, and be ready to answer the operator's questions
  • Visit your local hospital's emergency department
  • Call your local Public Emergency Mental Health Service

Each of these emergency services teams are specially trained to support people in crisis, including people feeling suicidal, and are able to keep you safe. 


Who can I talk to?

Someone you trust

It is important to choose someone who you can trust and who you can be honest with. It can be a friend or family member, a doctor, counsellor or someone else in your life who you feel comfortable with.

You can also talk to a counsellor on a helpline such as the Suicide Call Back Service, which is free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 


What do I say?

Be clear and honest with them about all of the things that are troubling you, including your suicidal thoughts and feelings. Begin by talking to someone about what's stressing or upsetting you, let them know how you've been struggling and how you're feeling. Listed below are some ideas to get you started and you can adapt these or use your own words. This is a difficult conversation to start so take your time so you are comfortable and ready. 

  • 'I have been having a difficult time lately, I am wondering if we can talk about it.'
  • 'I am feeling really upset and worried about my thoughts at the moment'
  • 'Things have felt a bit out of control recently and I am feeling really upset, I need to talk about it.'


Talking to a professional about suicide

When talking about your thoughts about wanting to end your life or hurt yourself to a health professional, it is important to let them know whether you have: 

  • been thinking more often or in more detail about how you would end your life or hurt yourself
  • access to the means to carry out these ideas, or taken steps to obtain these means
  • thought about when and how you would end your life or hurt yourself
  • tried to hurt yourself or end your life before, and if so, how you did it
  • made a definite decision to end your life or hurt yourself.


Telling a health professional this information is an important part of making sure you get the right support to help you through these stressful times.

Some examples of how you might talk about how you are feeling and the thoughts you are having are: 

  • 'I have had thoughts of ending my life and I have been thinking about how I might do it.'
  • 'I can't stop thinking about hurting myself and I have a plan about how and when I am going to do it.'
  • 'These thoughts of ending my life are getting too much for me and I am worried that I am going to do it.'


Talking about suicide is hard, but it is important to get support for yourself at this difficult time. For more information see Accessing professional support and Helping yourself when you are suicidal.