Suicide prevention

It can be hard to know where to turn if you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts. Here’s how to spot the warning signs and where to go for help.

This article was written in consultation with our community partner, Beyond Blue. Medibank and Beyond Blue are working together to empower all people in Australia to be better connected with knowledge, resources and support to improve their mental health and wellbeing. For further information from Beyond Blue on suicide prevention please click here. For urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. For immediate assistance call 000.

Suicide prevention

If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts it can be hard to know what to do for the best. Sometimes life’s problems can seem so painful and difficult that there is no way to overcome them. However, there is support out there to help you understand, identify and deal with suicidal thoughts you might be having. The most important thing is to speak up so that you can get the support you need. 

Jump to section: Warning signs | Causes | Getting support | Helping others | In an emergency

Warning signs

Everyone is different and there may be a number of different signs that something isn’t right, and these may vary greatly from person to person.

They might be subtle but some things to watch out for include: 

  • Social withdrawal
  • Persistent drop in mood
  • Disinterest in maintaining personal hygiene or appearance
  • Uncharacteristically reckless behaviour
  • Rapid weight changes or neglecting your diet
  • Being distracted or unusually angry
  • Insomnia
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Giving away items of sentimental importance.

If you’re having suicidal thoughts you might also notice a feeling of hopelessness, inability to see a future or believing you are a burden to others.

If you notice any of these warning signs it’s important to seek help right away. However, each person and situation is unique so be guided by your instincts. If you’re struggling, but you don’t identify with any of these warning signs, it’s still a good idea to speak to your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. 

Why am I feeling like this?

There is no one cause of suicidal thoughts or feelings. The reasons that people take their own lives are often extremely complex.

According to Beyond Blue some common risk factors can include: 

  • history of substance abuse
  • history of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD or bipolar
  • relationship problems
  • legal or disciplinary problems
  • grief following the death of someone close to you
  • exposure to cruel or bullying behaviour
  • physical illness or disability.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s not your fault that you feel this way and, while it may feel all-consuming, these thoughts are not permanent. With the right help and support recovery is possible. 

What should I do if I'm feeling suicidal?

If you or someone you care about are in immediate danger, call 000. If you need urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467. You can also download the Beyond Now app.

If you are not in immediate danger, see your doctor as soon as possible. Also talking to someone about how you feel can be incredibly helpful. Choose someone that you trust and feel comfortable with whether that’s a family member, teacher, friend or other health professional.

It can feel incredibly difficult but try to be direct and talk honestly about how you are feeling and the help you need. You might find that the person you confide in has an emotional reaction and that’s ok; it’s important to accept that people react in different ways. Just keep talking through it and ask them to help you find support whether that’s in person, online or over the phone.

If you’re not sure who to talk to you can also call the Medibank Mental Health Phone Support line on 1800 644 325 to speak to a qualified mental health professional 24 hours a day 7 days a week~.

Beyond Blue also offer a support service open 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 1300 22 4636.

Your GP can also offer you face-to-face support and advise on the best next steps for you.

The most important thing to remember is you are not alone and that the support of others can help you on your journey to recovery. 

Beyond Blue

Learn more about anxiety, depression, suicide prevention and ways to support your mental health.

Online resources and support

There are resources and services you can access online, including: 

Beyond Blue has a 24/7 national support line where you can talk with a trained mental health professional who will listen, provide information and advice, and point you in the right direction to seek further help on 1300 22 4636.

The Beyond Now app is a suicide safety planning app that helps you stay safe if you're experiencing suicidal thoughts, feelings, distress or crisis.

Lifeline for crisis support and suicide prevention services with an online live chat. You can also call them 24 hours a day on 13 11 14. 

SANE Australia provides peer support, counselling, information and referrals to adults who identify as having a complex mental health issue, complex trauma or high levels of psychological distress. They also provide support to the family or friends who care about them. Their team of counsellors is available on 1800 18 7263  or email or web chat from 10am to 10pm Monday to Friday AEST. You can also join the community through the moderated SANE Forums 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Our team of mental health professionals are here to support you on our 24/7 Mental Health Phone Support line. It’s available to Medibank members with hospital cover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 644 325~.

How to support someone I am worried about

If you’re worried about someone you think is having suicidal thoughts or is a suicide risk, the most important thing you can do is to listen, show you care and offer support.

Asking how someone is feeling and asking directly about suicide could be the first step in helping them, so don’t be afraid to have the conversation.

Ruok.org.au suggests that you prepare to have the conversation by making sure you have the time and headspace to listen to your loved one. You should also prepare yourself to hear “No, I’m not ok” and be ready to offer any support they should need.

There are many ways to ask someone if they’re ok but listening with an open mind, encouraging them to act and to get support and regularly checking in after the conversation are all important to supporting your loved one.

It can be a frightening or overwhelming conversation to have but it could change someone’s life.

If at any point you feel like someone’s life is in danger, seek immediate help. Contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for crisis support and call 000 if you believe that someone’s life is in danger.

 


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Medibank health support and services

As an eligible Medibank member, you get more than just health insurance. You get extra support, when you need it most. 

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Mental Health Phone Support

Members with Hospital cover~ can talk with a mental health professional over the phone in relation to any mental health or emotional concern, 24 hours a day 7 days a week on 1800 644 325.

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New telehealth services

Medibank members with eligible extras can now access telehealth services - including psychology, physiotherapy, dietetics, occupational therapy, podiatry, exercise physiology and speech therapy - and claim for services undertaken from 14 April 2020 until further notice.  Medibank members can also access counselling telehealth services undertaken from 15 October 2020 until further notice, with benefits payable towards Medibank recognised Counsellors only.#

Medibank has a wide range of health and wellbeing services to support eligible members with their mental health.

Further reading

man talking to son

How to have a conversation about suicide

Talking to someone you love about suicide isn't easy, but it could save their life. beyondblue shares their tips on how to approach it.

Fellas, let's talk about mental health

Everyone has good days and bad days, especially at work, but a build-up of stress may impact your mental health. Check out these tips for dealing with stress on the job.

Looking for something else?

Visit our Mental Health homepage to find more tools and advice.

Talk to us about your cover and accessing services

Contact Medibank when and how it suits you: online 24/7, in-store, by phone or through the My Medibank app.

Things you need to know

~    OSHC members should call the Student Health and Support Line on 1800 887 283.

#    Check your cover summary to see if these services are included on your extras cover and if any waiting periods or annual limits apply.

While we hope you find this information helpful, please note that it is general in nature. It is not health advice, and is not tailored to meet your individual health needs. You should always consult a trusted health professional before making decisions about your health care. While we have prepared the information carefully, we can’t guarantee that it is accurate, complete or up-to-date. And while we may mention goods or services provided by others, we aren’t specifically endorsing them and can’t accept responsibility for them. For these reasons we are unable to accept responsibility for any loss that may be sustained from acting on this information (subject to applicable consumer guarantees). 

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