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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What types of behaviors would someone show when they are suicidal?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Lifeline is a national charity delivering 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services to all Australians. Lifeline connects people to a broad range of national … View Profile

    Look for changed behaviours, or out of character behaviours – that suggest a person is not coping with whatever challenges they are experiencing.
    Some of the behaviours that may give an indication that a person is suicidal include:
    •    Previous suicide attempts
    •    Being moody, sad and withdrawn
    •    Talking of feeling hopeless, helpless or worthless
    •    Taking less care of themselves and their appearance
    •    Difficulty concentrating and/ or sleeping
    •    Losing interest in things previously enjoyed
    •    Finding it hard to concentrate
    •    Being more irritable or agitated
    •    Talking or joking about suicide
    •    Expressing thoughts about death through drawings, stories, songs, etc.
    •    Saying goodbye to others and/or giving away possessions
    •    Engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviour
    •    Increasing alcohol/drug use

  • 1


    Damien Haines

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Damien Haines is a registered Clinical Psychologist who brings a warm and empathetic approach to therapy. He emphasises engagement in the world and encourages clients … View Profile

    I thin the only thing I would add to the above is talking about feeling numb/detatched/unfeeling/cold. While the list above may indicate that someone has suicidal ideation, it may also mean that they just need help with getting back on track. Either way encouragement and engagement with the world will be helpful.

  • 2


    I am a registered psychologist with many years of counselling experience in the field of relationships and fertility issues. In particular my focus is on … View Profile

    The person with suicidal ideation might be withdrawn or talk about death in a calm detached way. They might seem almost calm and if they have been depressed it might appear as if they are feeling better. This is especially with men who wont talk about their plan if they have one but once they have a plan they become calm.
    Look for signs of them speaking about ending it all or getting off the merry go round or feeling that life is too hard or they have no purpose.
    Ask if they are alright and give encouragement that you are there for themThey might have ideation thoughts about death with no plan and then  feel relieved that someone has noticed.
    Encourage them to go and talk to their GP and keep telling them that there is help and they are not alone.

  • 1


    Anna Crichton

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Founded in 1996, Anna E Crichton & Partners Clinical Psychology provides psychological assessments and counselling with individual adults as well as psychological reports. With offices … View Profile

    A profoundly depressed person, at risk of self harm, usually shows the following signs/symtpoms:
    *  depressed mood, possibly irritability and tearfulness (be mindful of the so-called “smiling depression”.  Not everybody who is at risk of self-harm with appear sad and tearful)
    *  withdrawal from others
    *  diminished or  loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
    *  possibly dropping hints about the “futility of life” (hopelessness and senseof no future is deemed to be one of the strongest indicators of potential for self harm)
    *  possibly confiding in somebody about their intent to self-harm
    *  becoming indecisive
    *  difficulty thinking, concentrating or attending/listening
    *  significant changes in weight (loss or gain)
    *  difficulty falling asleep, early morning waking, or disturbed sleep
    *  being unable to perform activities of daily living, including work, interacting with others self-care, caring for the significant others

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