Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation

A National Health Promotion Charity

You Will Have Lots of Emotions

Multiple emotions are very common and perfectly normal.
Being nervous or frightened,
feeling the responsibility is huge,
wondering are you right in fearing that suicidal ideas are significant,
wondering can you stay silent,
not being at all sure what to message,
afraid of intruding,
afraid the person with suicidal ideas will react badly to your concern,
worrying about what to say next if the person with the person with suicidal ideas replies,
feeling rejected or angry about being in this position,
feeling overwhelmed or unable to help.
wishing you knew more
And many other emotions.
Read on for more info on what options are open to help YOU.

Any Help You Can Give is Wonderful

It is important to understand that you (alone or with others) are providing first aid to someone who is in great emotional pain and may be thinking of suicide. You are not expected to be a professional or have all the answers. You are doing your best to let them know they are not alone, to help them maintain hope, and to stay safe until the crisis passes. This is far better than doing nothing. 

And our research says that most people are afraid of not knowing what to say. Or they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. Sound familiar? That is why we provide our messages to guide you. 

You can start perhaps by telling them you are concerned and asking them if there is anything you can do for them practically or is there anything you can tell them that will help at this time.

Or choose messages from our wide choice that seem right for you and copy them with one click. Send them as they are, or change them to your personal wording.


40% of us will have contact at some time in life with a person close to us who has strong suicidal ideas, which may be brief or go on for weeks or longer. We are here to support you in dealing with this problem, which may have been kept secret for quite some time. Suicide and attempted suicide are the commonest causes of death and injury in our country at any age between 15 and 45. It is more than twice as common as car accidents as a cause of death and injury.(Australian Bureau of Statistics; Australian Institute of Health and Welfare).


You may not know if you are the only one who is aware of the suicidal thoughts, or if others are aware also and have been trying to help. If the person with thoughts of suicide gives you consent, you as a helper can involve other people to support you personally as you try to intervene. This may include their family, friends, people who have been suicidal themselves (and who are now using this lived experience to help), crisis lines, or health professionals.


You are not alone as you try to help. There are thousands of people who will know what you are going through from their own “Lived Experience”, so do read their websites or contact the organisations directly to reduce the stress on you. Many such organisations offer people you can talk to.


These include:


If the risks seem high, or if the person refuses to get professional help, you personally can call one of our listed crisis services for advice to support you on how to better understand the situation, and how to respond.


You are NOT responsible for the outcome of their situation. You cannot control their actions or decisions, nor can you guarantee to prevent them from harming themselves if they choose to do so despite your efforts. You can only offer them your care, compassion, and support, and hope that they will accept it and seek help.


Trying to help someone who has suicidal thoughts is not easy, and it may take days or weeks as you try to involve or supplement other sources of help. It can be stressful, exhausting, and emotionally draining. You may feel scared, angry, guilty, or helpless at times. That’s why it is important to look after yourself as well. You need to take care of your own physical and mental health, and seek support for yourself if needed. You can talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, family member, or counsellor. You do not need to disclose who you are supporting if that is an issue. Try to lead your normal life and mix with family and friends.


Remember that you are doing a great thing by trying to help someone who has suicidal thoughts. You are showing them that they are not alone, that someone cares about them, and that there is hope for them. Persisting with help over a period of time can make a big difference in their recovery and well-being.

Acknowledgements: The assistance of Lived Experience Australia, and the valued input from other organisations in writing this material and supporting our cause is very appreciated.

Help Us: If you want to suggest further services, or report a broken link, or offer assistance in our work, please email

*Important Disclaimer: Our texts are approved by those who themselves had suicidal thoughts, and by medical and other mental health professionals. This site is medical information only, and is not to be taken as diagnosis, advice or treatment, which can only be decided by your own doctor or mental health professional.


Australian Suicide
Prevention Foundation

For over 20 years we’ve provided Australia-wide suicide prevention to every and any vulnerable Australian, whether they be in metropolitan, rural or isolated areas.


By donating to or otherwise assisting (a programme from you are helping hundreds of thousands of people who have or will have suicidal ideas.

© Australian Suicide Prevention Foundation

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