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What to do if a parent is thinking about suicide

Attention

If someone’s life is in danger or there is an immediate risk of harm, call emergency services on Triple Zero (000) and ask for the Queensland Ambulance Service

If there are concerns a parent wants to take their own life, it is normal to feel frightened and unsure what to do. The following information is drawn directly from SANE Australia (2019) and offers some practical suggestions for how to support the parent:

  • Let them know you are concerned.
    • tell them that you are concerned, and that you are there to help
  • Ask if they are thinking about suicide and if they have made any plans.
    • talking about suicide will not make them take action
    • asking shows that you care and allows them to talk about their feelings and plans – the first step to getting help
  • Take action to get help now.
    • tell them that there are other options than suicide
    • don’t agree to keep their suicidal thoughts or plans a secret
    • don’t assume they will get better without help or that they will seek help on their own
  • Encourage them to get professional help.
    • make an appointment with a GP and offer for someone to go along with them
    • contact a counsellor or employee assistance program, family member or friend
    • contact a specialist helpline for information and advice
  • If they have made a plan to end their life:
    • check if they are able to carry out this plan. Do they have a time, place or method?
    • remove access to objects they could use to hurt themselves
    • Contact 1300 MH CALL (1300 64 2255) to link to the nearest Queensland Public Mental Health service to discuss options
    • call 000. Tell them the person is suicidal, has made a plan, and you fear for their safety.
  • Take care of yourself
    • it is emotionally demanding to support someone who is suicidal
    • find someone to talk things over with, like your family, friends or a helpline

Attention

Factors associated with higher risk of suicide include:

  • talking about feeling hopeless and helpless
  • socially isolation
  • recent loss — relationship, death, job
  • previous suicide attempt
  • a friend, family member or work colleague who has died by suicide
  • a mental illness
  • risky behaviours  – drug use, alcohol use, driving recklessly.

(SANE Australia, 2019)

Tip

Crisis Resources:

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Lifeline: (24-hour crisis telephone counselling) 13 11 14

Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467

Call Triple Zero (000) for urgent assistance and ask for the Queensland Ambulance Service

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