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 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.


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. 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.


Beyond Blue

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

Where to get help

The best place to start is by speaking to your GP or health practitioner. They will be able to assess your individual situation and recommend the best next steps for your recovery.

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~.

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.

For more support and information

Beyond Blue

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Make the most of your cover 

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

24/7 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.

Telehealth services

Access mental health services from the comfort of your own home. Medibank members with eligible extras can access psychology or counselling consultations face-to-face or through telehealth, with benefits payable towards Medibank recognised Counsellors only.#

Mental Health Waiver

With the Mental Health Waiver, eligible hospital members with Restricted psychiatric services can upgrade to a cover with Included psychiatric services and choose to have the standard two-month waiting period waived. Members can use the Mental Health Waiver once in their lifetime.

Looking for more?
Learn more about using your cover and exclusive services to support you and your family. View all services.

Further reading


Depression or just a bit down? Here’s how to tell the difference and what you can do to improve your mental wellbeing.                     

Father and son spending time together talking.

How to have a conversation about suicide

Talking to someone you love about suicide isn't easy, but it could save their life. Here are some tips from Beyond Blue about how to approach it.

Self-harm and self-injury                                                         

Self-harm is usually a way to deal with negative feelings or distress that can become a habit. But help and support are available.

Seeking help: the basics                                 

Where to go for help to navigate a mental health issue. 

Looking for something else?

Visit our Medibank Better Minds homepage to find more tools and services.

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 annual limits apply.  Counsellors must be registered with Australian Counselling Association, Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia, Australian Traditional Medicine Society.   

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).