“When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason why you held on for so long.”
— Hayley Williams

Suicide is the death that occurs when a person voluntarily and intentionally ends their own life. There are different reasons why someone might think about ending their life, but it usually happens when:

  • the emotional pain they are experiencing feels unbearable
  • they feel like they don’t belong in this world
  • they feel like they’re a burden on the people around them
  • they don’t see another way to solve their problems

According to Black Dog Institute, suicide is the number one cause of death for people aged between 15 and 44 in Australia, and for every death by suicide, it is estimated that there are 30 attempts made. 

Many factors can increase someone’s risk of suicide. These factors include: previous suicide attempts, a history of mental illness or past trauma, substance use, serious illness such as chronic pain, or legal or financial problems. Relationship risk factors include bullying, discrimination, high conflict or violent relationships and social isolation. Some minority groups also experience heightened risk. For example, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islanders, and people in the LGBTQI+ community are more likely to die by suicide.

SUICIDE IN MUSIC

It can be scary, confusing and distressing when someone you care about wants to end their life. While some suicides occur with no obvious warning, in many cases there are common suicidal warning signs, which can prompt you to start a conversation with someone you’re worried about and make a plan to keep them safe.

“People who have thought about suicide say the most important thing family, friends and colleagues can do is listen, show they care, and offer support.” – Beyond Blue

WARNING SIGNS

Warning signs are different for each person. You might notice a range of signs rather than just one or two. Here are a few common thoughts, feelings, and behaviours experienced by someone who might be thinking about suicide.

Thoughts and Feelings

  • Feeling rejected, out of place, or like you won’t be accepted
  • Feeling like a failure, a burden or a disappointment
  • Feeling depressed, anxious, trapped, angry or overwhelmed
  • Feeling worthless and alone
  • Intrusive thoughts or trauma flashbacks
  • Increased thoughts of suicide
  • Planning or thinking about ways to die

Behaviours

  • Withdrawing or isolating
  • Poor sleep or eating patterns
  • Struggling to maintain a routine or maintain hygiene/appearance
  • Fighting with people
  • Finding it hard to talk to people
  • Self-harming
  • Increased substance use
  • Recklessness or aggression
  • Giving away sentimental possessions

If you recognise these signs in someone close to you, reach out and connect with them. It could save their life.

Compassionate Conversations

Compassionate conversations about suicide can be life-changing. According to our Mental Health and Wellbeing in Music and Live Performing Arts survey, out of the music workers who have experienced suicidal thoughts, the majority (70%) said they had sought support or confided in someone about their suicidality.

Asking someone if they’re thinking about suicide won’t ‘put ideas in their head’. They will likely feel relieved at being heard and understood. But not everyone will be ready to talk openly about it. If that’s the case, don’t pressure them – it’s their personal choice to talk about it or not. Let them know you’re here for them when they’re ready. 

Check out our Suicide Prevention Training program here.

Lifeline Toolkit: Helping someone at risk of suicide

TASC STEPS

From Living Works Suicide Prevention Training*

T – Tune In: Look out for signs that someone may be thinking about suicide. Has their behavior changed? Are they not as talkative or engaged as they normally are? Do they say things like “it would be better if I weren’t here” or “I wish I could just die”? Are they having a lot more near misses or just aren’t producing like they normally do?

A – Ask: If you think someone might be suicidal, ask them directly “Are you thinking about suicide?” Don’t be afraid to do this, it shows you care and will decrease their risk because it shows someone is willing to talk about it. Make sure you ask directly and unambiguously.

S – State: If they say yes, tell them suicide is serious and permanent. Let them know that people care about them.

C – Connect: Connect them to appropriate help. Call a crisis line like Lifeline 13 11 14 or Triple Zero (000) if their life is in danger. If you can get in straight away, visit a GP or psychologist. Offer to make the appointment and accompany them if it is their wish. Even if the danger is not immediate they may need longer-term support for the issues that led to them feeling this way.

AFTER A SUICIDE LOSS

After losing someone to suicide, you might experience a wide range of feelings and thoughts that are difficult to manage and understand. It can be a confusing, upsetting and isolating experience, and it’s often necessary to have resources and supports in place to help you move through it.

Check out our resource on grief and loss.

Many people grieving the loss of someone to suicide also experience trauma. This might occur if you found the person who took their life, or if you have been affected by hearing the details of their suicide.

Check out our resource on trauma.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 487

Support After Suicide: Immediate steps

Support After Suicide: Community

Lifeline: What is suicide?

BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS

Reasons to Stay Alive

by Matt Haig

Life After Suicide

by Jennifer Ashton