Self-harm & suicidal behaviours

What to do if you or someone you know is experiencing self-harm or suicidal behaviours.

Self-harm is deliberate injuring of oneself. It is usually an attempt to cope with strong feelings of anger, despair, grief, or self-hatred. Self-harm is not a type of suicidal behaviour. 

Suicidal behaviours are thoughts and attempts to deliberately kill oneself.

What to do

Immediate risk of harm

If you believe someone is at immediate risk, you should call for help as soon as possible.

Off campus

  • Victoria Police & Ambulance 000 (if someone is injured, violent or armed)
  • Psychiatric Triage Services (information, assessment and referral)
    • Footscray Park, Footscray Nicholson and Werribee : 1300 657 259
    • Sunshine, Melton, St Albans, City Flinders, City Queen, City King: 1300 874 243
  • Lifeline 13 11 14 (telephone crisis counselling)

On campus

  • Student Wellbeing (business hours only)
    • Manager of Student Counselling 0425 757 310
  • Security 9919 6666 (if injured, violent or armed, and 24/7)

No immediate risk of harm

If you have concerns someone you know might be considering self-harming or having suicidal thoughts, but there is no immediate risk of harm, you should consider booking an appointment with support services.

Off campus

On campus

Supporting someone experiencing suicidal thoughts

If you or someone you know experiences self-harming or suicidal behaviours you should seek professional support.

Some things to remember:

  • If someone tells you they are suicidal, they might be reaching out for help.
  • Support the person by listening to them non-judgmentally.
  • You should not ignore the person, and you should not keep it a secret.
  • Talk to a support person or professional about your concerns.
  • Discuss the person’s options with them.
  • Encourage the person to get professional help or talk to another support person.
  • Encourage the person that these are just thoughts, they do not need to act on them.
  • Encourage the person to keep a list of things they can do, and the thoughts may go away.
  • Ask if they have any immediate plans to take their life.

Resources to help support someone thinking of self-harm or suicide:

Statistics about self-harm & suicide

 Infographic text on page

Every year around 2,000 Australian die by suicide.

Who commits suicide?

  • Males account for the majority of suicide with 77%, and women 23%.
  • Women aged 50-54 and men aged 85+ have the highest rate of suicide.

Who self-harms?

  • Hospitalisations for self-harm are 40% higher for women
  • Higher rare in women aged 15-19
  • Higher rate in men aged 15-39

Risk factors for suicide and self-harming

  • Mental illness
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • History of abuse
  • Family history of suicide or violence
  • Physical illness
  • Feeling alone

Large infographic: self-harm and suicide

Developed by Safer Community, Victoria University

Sources: AIHW, 2014; CDC, 2015; LIFE, 2007.

Self-harm & suicidal resources