Suicide: signs and prevention

Northern Territory Mental Health Line: 1800 682 288

If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or harming yourself, talk to someone now. This can be your family or friends, or one of the many professionals available to help.

For help over the phone now call the NT mental health crisis line on 1800 682 288 or one of the 24 hour mental health hotlines on NT.GOV.AU.

In an emergency call 000.

People who talk about suicide are at risk and should be taken seriously.

For health professional information about mental health, including corporate publications, go to the Department of Health website.

About suicide

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15 and 34 years of age. Suicidal thoughts result from intense psychological pain and distress.

Suicide can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, income, relationship status, education and ethnicity.

A person who has attempted suicide once may be at risk of doing it again. Suicide is preventable and people can fully recover after feeling suicidal.

Talking to someone about your distress does help with suicidal thoughts and can prevent acting on those thoughts.

People who are experiencing suicidal thoughts often feel very alone and isolated. Listening and providing support can help people feel more reconnected and safe.

Warning signs

People can give signs before they attempt suicide.

Talking about suicide with a person will not put them at increased risk, it often decreases distress and risk.

You may recognise when someone is at risk of suicide by recognising the signs, listed below:

  • discussing a desire for suicide, 'ending it' or plans to 'not be around'
  • feelings of intense distress, hopelessness, helplessness and/or worthlessness, including feeling that others would be 'better off if I'm not around'
  • a change in mood and behaviour, 'not acting like themselves', coinciding with a decline in social interaction like not turning up for work, sporting events or other activities usually attended
  • depression, insomnia (not sleeping well), anxiety, panic attacks, distress, impaired concentration and loss of rational thinking
  • a desire to tie up loose ends - the compiling of a will or sudden distribution of belongings to friends and family
  • increased and unusual risky behaviour including destructive drug and alcohol use
  • recent traumatic events that create distress such as the death of a loved one or friend, bullying, witnessing or experiencing trauma
  • losses that create distress such as a relationship breakdown, loss of employment, or rejection from a social or sporting group
  • a mental illness combined with some of the other signs mentioned
  • a recent or past suicide attempt or self harm.

If you do recognise any of these signs ask the person what is happening for them. Listen to what they say and if required seek advice from a professional.

Suicide bereavement groups

If you have been bereaved by suicide there are professionals able to assist you in the NT. 

For more information call the NT mental health crisis line on 1800 682 288 or go to the suicide bereavement support page.

Last updated: 23 December 2016