People think about suicide for many different reasons. Things like a person’s mood, what has happened in the past (or what’s happening right now), someone’s ability to cope with things or how supported and connected they feel are all contributing factors to suicidal thoughts.
Young people who consider taking their own life often feel they are alone in the world, that things are hopeless and that they don’t belong. People who consider suicide are often exhausted by their distress and are unable to clearly think of alternative ways to deal with their suffering. They are often unable to eat, sleep or enjoy any part of their lives.
Very stressful experiences like breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, failing a very important exam, feeling you have no friends, grief after the death of someone close or losing your job may increase feelings of hopelessness and suicide.
Often the answer is yes. People who are experiencing suicidal thoughts may say or do things that can help you to understand how they may be feeling. These acts are known as warning signs.
Signs could be found in the words they use, such as “No one cares about me anymore,” or “They’d be better off without me.” Signs could also be a change in their behaviour, for example they may no longer want to hang around you anymore or they may stop doing things that they previously enjoyed.
Warning signs could also be a change in their moods – they may be increasingly sad, desperate or hopeless. Most of the time, people will show multiple warning signs, so if you notice any of these changes and you feel able to, ask the person how they feel, find out what’s going on and whether they feel suicidal.
You can see examples of other warning signs here.
Having suicidal thoughts can be very frightening. You may never have experienced them before or they may have been around for a while and you just don’t know what to do about them. You might feel worried that if you tell someone they might not take you seriously, or you might feel embarrassed to talk about how you are feeling.
Remember thoughts of suicide are just thoughts, and most people don’t act on them. They may only last a few minutes, so tell yourself you may feel differently in a few hours.
The first thing you need to do if you are having suicidal thoughts is let someone know – work out who you might feel most comfortable talking with – this might be a friend, someone in your family or a doctor or one of your teachers.
If you would prefer talking with someone you don’t know, call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). You’ll be talking with a trained counsellor, who helps all kinds of people through issues like this all the time.
Beyond Blue also has some really helpful steps for dealing with suicidal thoughts. To find out more click here.