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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

What can I do if I am thinking about suicide?

He aha ngā mea e oti i a au pēnā e whakaaro ana ki te mate whakamomori?

There are several things you can do if you are having suicidal thoughts.

Tell someone how you are feeling

You might be feeling very alone but there are many people who can help you with these feelings.

Think about any caring adults in your life who you trust and might be able to talk to. These may be:

Ring a support line

Sometimes it is hard to talk to people you know. It may feel easier to pick up the phone or txt someone who really understands about suicide. It is free to contact these helplines. The people you will talk to have a lot of experience talking to rangatahi (young people). They understand your difficult feelings.

Talk to a doctor, nurse, or counsellor

There are many health professionals who can help you to get well and keep safe.

Contact a support service

There are lots of free services that specialise in helping rangatahi who feel like they are not coping. Try one of these:

After you have asked for help

If you are feeling suicidal, it is important that you see a doctor. This could be your general practice team in their rooms or an emergency doctor at the hospital's Emergency Department. It could also be a doctor experienced in mental illness (a psychiatrist). If you see a psychiatrist, they may come to your house or ask you to go to them.

If the doctor thinks you are at a high risk of self-harm, they might suggest you go to hospital for a short time. While you are there, you might be offered medication that could help you feel better. This might include antidepressants, medicines for anxiety or medicines to help you relax or sleep better. You will regularly see a doctor and a counsellor.

Even if your doctor is less worried about your safety, they are still likely to want to keep a close eye on you for a while. Generally, doctors do not prescribe medications as much for rangatahi as they do for adults. But your doctor might suggest you try a medication if they think it will help you.

Your general practice team may give you some practical ideas of things you can do to feel better. They might also refer you to a counsellor or therapist who can help you deal with the things in your life that are making you feel unhappy.

If, after a while, you are not feeling much better and are still thinking about dying, you may need to see a mental health doctor (psychiatrist) at the Child, Adolescent & Family Service.

Family therapy

When rangatahi are feeling very unhappy, therapy for the whole whānau (family) can sometimes help. You might be offered family therapy as a treatment.

Your doctor and therapist will probably try to involve your whānau members in your care. When a whānau works together to help a rangatahi get better, they can often help more than if you work with the doctor and counsellor by yourself.

You might keep seeing your general practice team, counsellor or psychiatrist for some months if you still need their help.

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On the next page: What to do if you think a young person may be suicidal

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2023.

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