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HealthInfo Canterbury

What can I do if I am thinking about suicide?

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

Tell someone how you're feeling

suicide young peopleYou 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's 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's free to contact these helplines. The people you'll talk to have a lot of experience talking to young people and 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 in Canterbury that specialise in helping young people who feel like they aren't coping. Try one of these:

After you've asked for help

If you're feeling suicidal, it's important that you see a doctor. This could be your GP in their rooms, an emergency doctor at the hospital Emergency Department or 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're at a high risk of self harm, they might suggest you go to hospital for a short time. While you're 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'll regularly see a doctor and a counsellor.

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

Your GP 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 aren't 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 young people are feeling very unhappy, therapy for the 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/family members in your care. This is because when a whānau/family works together to help a young person get better, they can often help more than if you work with the doctor and counsellor by yourself.

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

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Child Adolescent and Family Service, Canterbury DHB. Last reviewed October 2020.


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Review key: HISUI-53221