FIFO Life Part 47: Warning Signs of Suicide

FIFO Focus’ Dr John Forbes  joins Big Al as part of the REDFM series FIFO Life.

In part 47, Dr John describes the warning signs of suicide.


Unfortunately, when some people experience a lot of emotional pain and lose hope that things can change, they may consider suicide. If you know someone who is experiencing such emotional distress, it might be helpful to be aware of some of the warning signs of suicide. While you can’t be responsible for the person’s safety, don’t be afraid to talk to them if you think they might be having these thoughts.

  • A sense of hopelessness or no hope for the future.
  • Isolation or feeling alone – “No one understands me”.
  • Aggressiveness and irritability – “Leave me alone”.
  • Possessing lethal means – medication, weapons.
  • Negative view of self – “I am worthless”.
  • Drastic changes in mood and behaviour.
  • Frequently talking about death – “If I died would you miss me?”.
  • Self-harming behaviours like cutting.
  • Engaging in ‘risky’ behaviours – “I’ll try anything, I’m not afraid to die”.
  • Making funeral arrangements.
  • Giving things away (clothes, expensive gifts) – “When I am gone, I want you to have this”.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Feeling like a burden to others – “You would be better off without me”.
  • Making suicide threats – “Sometimes I feel like I just want to die”.

What to do if you have suicidal thoughts

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please give serious thought to talking to someone as soon as possible. Reach out for help – someone is always available to talk to, and there may be solutions to your situation that you haven’t considered. At the very least, reach out to someone who might be able to help you. Someone who can do some of the initial heavy-lifting, so to speak. Try to not give up hope!

Staying safe in times of distress

It’s so important that you find a way of staying safe, and give yourself some time to think about all of your options. Remember that someone who is experiencing as much emotional pain as you are is probably unable to think things through as well as they might when they aren’t so distressed. That makes it all the more important to give yourself some more time. Try to be with someone rather than sitting with your own thoughts, and avoid alcohol or drug use. Remember that when we use alcohol and /or drugs, the intention is that we “don’t” think straight, so it’s really important that we avoid them and don’t make any decisions at all while we are under their influence.

Suicide Risk Resources

There are a number of resources out there to assist you in this situation. They are listed below however even if you don’t want to call a stranger, call a friend or family member. You don’t have to go through this alone.

Suicide Call Back Service

1300 659 467 (Nationwide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week)

A telephone and online support service for those at risk of suicide, their carers, those bereaved by suicide and professionals who support suicidal clients. The Suicide Call Back Service supports callers through a series of professional counselling sessions to work through difficult emotions

MensLine Australia

1300 789 978 (Nationwide, 24 hours a day, seven days a week)

A professional telephone and online counselling, information and referral service for men, with specialist capabilities around family and relationship concerns.


13 11 14 (24 hours a day, seven days a week)

Providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.


1300 224 636 (24 hours a day, seven days a week)

The national depression initiative information line where you can chats are one-on-one with a trained mental health professional.

The content in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. We recommend consulting with a registered health practitioner or contacting us for more tailored support.

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