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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can i pick up on suicidal signs from a loved one?

    My brother has tried and threatened to commit suicide a few times before. How can I become suicide aware to pick up the signs early before it is too late?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Dr Toni Metelerkamp

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Toni works with adults and couples, and specialises in diagnosing and treating anxiety (panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder), phobias, substance and gambling, addictions, suicide and … View Profile

    Picking up suicidal signs can be difficult because everyone is different and the changes may be subtle, at least at first. People who are feeling suicidal may:
    ·       change the way they relate to loved ones by withdrawing, being aggressive or generally losing        interest in relationships that were once important to them
    ·       become less interested in their appearance, and personal hygiene
    ·       loose interest in work or school and as a result do less well in these areas
    ·       appear depressed (lethargic, unmotivated and have a bleak on the future) or they might suddenly appear very upbeat, with no apparent reason, after a period of what looks like depression
    ·       engage in impulsive or risky behaviour (including self harming)
    ·       use alcohol and/or other drugs at levels that are higher than usual and/or at unhealthy levels
    ·        give away their belongings, talk about their will and/or funeral arrangements
    ·       may directly talk about feeling that things would be easier for themselves or others if they were dead
    Tell the person you are concerned for them and ask how you can help. If you are still concerned after talking to them, call 1300 651 251 for support relating to suicide.

  • Brigitte Safrana

    Counsellor, Hypnotherapist

    I created Surfing The Blues and Surfing The Baby Blues Counselling & Hypnotherapy services in order to help individuals and couples restore balance in their … View Profile

    One of the tell tale unmistakable suicide sign is a noticeable change of mood from depressed, angry, sad or other stress sings to a sudden “at peace” mood and behaviour. It often means that the person has made their decision and is ready to act. The best is to tackle the issue openly stating your concerns and mentionning the word suicide, ie: “ I am concerned about you, your sudden change of mood, have you decided to kill yourself?”, If the answer is yes, then ask if your brother has organized the details of how and when.  Establish a dialogue as to why and try to agree to a time frame where he is not going to do anything like 24h for example. Once you have bought time successfully, call a professional ( Life Line, police) and ask for advice. 
    Good luck and I hope your brother gets better.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I agree with what the various health professionals have written though my perspective is different.

    I have experienced suicidal ideation but, thanks to help from MH professionals and my hard work, not for a number of years.

    One thing that my clinical psychologist has impressed on me (and to some extent I am paraphrasing Brigitte here) is this:

    If somebody is experiencing suicidal ideation *and* has worked out/has obtained access to the things needed for carrying out a suicide plan then the *only* thing that matters is that they are in a safe place.

    Should that ever apply to your brother that means take him to (or get in touch with) the A&E of your nearest hospital - the professionals there will be able to help.

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