If life in danger call Triple Zero 000
If life in danger call Triple Zero 000

I'm worried about someone

If you are concerned that someone is struggling or might be thinking about suicide and you aren't sure how to talk to them, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or reach out vis Text or chat. One of our trained Crisis Supporters will be there to listen and support you. If life is in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000).

When should I check-in?

Everyone experiences emotional distress in different ways.

Not everyone who is having a difficult time will show outward signs, however, signs to look out for if you are worried about someone might include:

  • Restlessness and increased agitation
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Withdrawing from people they would usually connect with
  • Withdrawing from regular activities such as work or school
  • Describing feeling helpless, hopeless or worthless
  • Changes in appetite or eating
  • Difficulty in sleeping or sleeping a lot
  • Not wanting to do things they usually enjoy
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Not replying messages, calls or emails, or being distant
  • Talking about not being around any more
  • More risk-taking behaviour

   

If someone you know is struggling to cope or having a difficult time, you might feel unsure of what to say or how to help. While checking in and asking if they are okay might seem like a difficult conversation to have, it could be a life-saving one. Letting someone know you care and have noticed a change in them is a great place to start. Approaching with an “I” statement can be helpful such as “I have noticed you seem really down at the moment”.

Common challenging life events

Sometimes events and experiences impact people in different ways too. What one person may find upsetting or difficult another may not. Some common life events or issues that people may find challenging to cope with include:

  • Painful or disabling physical illness
  • Ongoing mental health difficulties
  • Relationship and family problems
  • Heavy use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Job or study related stress
  • Traumatic event including natural disasters
  • Loss or death of friends or family
  • Financial worries
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Life changes such as divorce or moving

There are also signs that may be an indicator that you should ask a person if they are considering suicide.  While these signs are not always present, and can sometimes be unrelated, you will do no harm by asking “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” if you do observe them, but you could save a life if you do ask:

  • Giving away or selling property
  • Unusually happy (or a significant change in behaviour)
  • Suffering from a co-morbidity that may be overwhelming for them
  • Struggling with trauma, including childhood trauma and abuse
  • Expression of intense feelings of hopelessness or burden

If you notice someone struggling

Every one of us has the ability to be a support to another person. If you see signs that someone you know is struggling, you can be a great support to them by asking if they are OK and being willing to listen and get them to help if needed. Don't ever underestimate the power you have to connect with another person and help them find hope and stay safe if they are going through a difficult time.

If you are worried about the immediate safety of the person contact emergency services on Triple Zero (000).

Three steps to take if you are worried about someone

   

Ask

If you think someone might be suicidal, ask them directly "Are you thinking about suicide?" Don’t be afraid to do this, it shows you care and will actually decrease their risk because it shows someone is willing to talk about it. Make sure you ask directly and unambiguously.

Listen and stay

If they say 'yes', they are suicidal, listen to them and allow them to express how they are feeling. Don’t leave them alone. Stay with them or get someone else reliable to stay with them.

Get help

Get them appropriate help. Call a crisis line like Lifeline 13 11 14 or Triple Zero (000) if life is in danger. If you can get in straight away, visit a GP or psychologist. Offer to make the appointment and accompany them if it is their wish. Even if the danger is not immediate they may need longer-term support for the issues that led to them feeling this way.

   #YouCanTalk

Lifeline is proud to be part of the #YouCanTalk movement, a collaboration of suicide prevention and mental health service providers committed to empowering all Australians to have a conversation with a friend, family member, or work colleague they are concerned about.  For a range of resources, visit: 

     

You Can Talk Logo

  

  

Self-care for you as a supporter

It is important that you as a carer, are aware of your own emotional wellbeing in order to assist others.  If you feel you are unable to help the person who needs support, it is important that you get them to someone reliable that they trust that can assist them, a GP, a Psychologist, or call Lifeline.

If you need support yourself, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Carers Australia 1800 242 636 which offers short-term counselling, emotional and psychological support services for carers and their families in each state and territory.

Try our Self Support Toolkit [Beta]

We’ve just launched a curated library of tools, techniques and information to help you:

  • Understand what you’re going through
  • Learn ways to self-manage through evidence-based tools and techniques
  • Access support, should you need it