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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Where can i get help for my suicidal friend?

    I have a friend who has threatened to commit suicide a few times before, I find it so emotionally draining to continuously have to be on the watch for signs of it happening again. Is there someone who I can get to assist so that the burden is not on me?
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    Therese Sheedy

    Psychologist

    Therese Sheedy is a registered psychologist and Director of Exploring Mindful Moements previously known as Future Directions: Counselling, Consultancy and Training in Melbourne. Therese brings … View Profile

    Getting help for a friend who is suicidal is absolutely one of the hardest but most important things you can do.  Depending on how old the friend is, it might be good to find someone in their family who you trust and they listen to.  Let them know what is going on and together work out a time that you can both sit down with your friend and talk about things. 
    You can start with how worried you are about them and how you want to help.  Then you need to let them talk about what's going on for them.  If they do talk try not to dismiss what they say, but look for how you can find some ways to work things through with help.  You need to also let them know that they need professional help and that while you can be with them as they get the help they need, you can't actually be the one they turn to all the time, as you aren't trained to know what to do or say, plus it is difficult for you to try to cope with this as well. Let them know you want them to be around, to continue to share more good times with you and other friends.
    It is essential that you talk about this as compassionately as you can as you don't want them to just shut down and not talk to anyone.  Have a list of support services that are close to you.  GPs are a good place to start. If they don't want to go to their family doctor, that's ok, go to a bulk billing clinic where they don't know them.  All GPs will have a list of local psychologists/counsellors they refer to for support.  Lifeline 131114 is available 24/7 and BeyondBlue is another good place to go to online.  Keep your friend connected to others, people who are feeling suicidal tend to withdraw from friends or social activities.  Keep away from drugs and alcohol as they influence poor decision making.  Try to get an agreement that if they are feeling really bad that they will call Lifeline and talk to someone.  Don't tackle this on your own, get help for yourself as well.

  • I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    Therese has given lots of great suggestions here. I would just like to add that if you are in Victoria there is a telephone counselling service called Suicide Line, which is available 24/7 not just for people who feel suicidal, but for concerned family and friends as well. They can be contacted on 1300 651 251. They also have information online at http://suicideline.org.au 

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