Signals and risk factors

There are observable warning signs of a suicidal crisis needing immediate attention and other situations where help is needed.

Observable and strong signs of a suicidal crisis needing immediate attention

If someone is:

  • threatening to hurt or kill themselves
  • looking for the means (gun, pills, rope etc) to kill themselves
  • talking or writing about death, dying or suicide.

Action: Call 000. Do not leave the person alone.

Indication of suicide where professional help is needed

Someone showing signs of :

  • hopelessness
  • persistent crying
  • loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
  • rage, anger, seeking revenge
  • acting reckless/engaging in risky activities
  • feeling trapped (like there is no way out)
  • increasing alcohol or drug use
  • withdrawing from friends, family or society
  • anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep/sleeping all the time
  • giving away possessions
  • dramatic changes in mood, or
  • no reason for living, no sense of purpose in life.

Action: Seek help for someone by contacting your GP or call Open Arms on 1800 011 046

Risk factors for suicide

There is no typical profile for a person who might consider suicide. Most suicidal thoughts and behaviours occur as a result of a build up of a complex web of circumstances. However, there are a number of key factors we can be aware of and try to manage to reduce the risk of suicide, and protect those at risk.

  • risk factors

    Causal risk factors

    Causal factors for suicide include different mental illnesses or symptoms of being mentally unwell.
  • women drinking beer

    Circumstantial risk factors

    Circumstantial factors may not be significant, but when combined with causal factors they increase the potential risk of suicide.
  • someone else affected

    Protective factors

    There are many factors in our lives that can help to protect us and others against suicide.