Warning signs of suicide

Sep 9, 2019 | Blog Articles

When you’re weighed down by depression, chronic pain, anxiety or despair, it seems hard to believe that a better life is possible. But it is. Petrea writes about suicidal thoughts and what helps.

It started with just a few thoughts. Over time, my anxiety increased. I became more depressed and isolated. I gave up my favourite activities including sport, saw less and less of my friends, relied more on alcohol and had difficulty sleeping unless I was drunk. Even then, my sleep was not refreshing, and the depression was overwhelming as soon as I woke up.”

Eating was a struggle. Life had lost all flavour and interest for me. I felt like I was only going through the motions of my life and my ‘keeping up a front’ for everyone else just seemed too hard to continue. I felt they’d be better off without me. — Steve, aged 35

Steve describes so well how we can implode with the chaotic thoughts that lead us into the dark place of contemplating suicide. If you’ve ever thought about suicide then you’ll likely be familiar with the deep sense of hopelessness, of feeling trapped with no relief in sight, or of the unending exhaustion that can accompany such inner turmoil.

I’m sharing Steve’s story in the hope that it resonates and encourages people to seek help. Fortunately, Steve reached out for help – and he found the right resources to manage his inner turmoil more effectively, a skilled counsellor to walk beside him on his journey to recovery and the tools, skills and strategies that helped him find his path to a better life.


I watched my brother Brenden struggle with his mental health throughout his teen years and beyond. However, the devastating consequences our family experienced when he finally succeeded in taking his own life continue to echo down the decades for all of us that knew and loved him dearly.

I understand isolation, fear and despair as my diagnosis of leukaemia came just after Brenden’s suicide. I plummeted into a very dark place myself feeling enormous grief for Brenden.


People who have thought about suicide say the most important thing to them is family, friends and colleagues who listen, show they care, and offer support. Always take someone’s words seriously if they tell you they feel suicidal. Always take yourself seriously if you are thinking about suicide – and reach out for help.

When you’re weighed down by depression, chronic pain, anxiety or despair, it seems hard to believe that a better life is possible. But it is.


Suicide is so final, so irrevocable. It leaves a trail of broken hearts, unanswered questions, shattered dreams and decades of grief for the people left behind. They struggle to understand how their loved-one could possibly think that they’d be better off without them alive. Nothing could be further from the truth.

There is help for people feeling suicidal. There is help for people made grief-stricken through a loved-one’s suicide. We need safe, nurturing spaces, free of judgement, where people can unravel themselves a little and find practical skills, tools and strategies to begin the journey towards healing and peace.

Reach out. You will find a listening heart.


A person who is thinking about suicide normally provides some early signs or warnings. These are just some of the things to look out for in others, but by no means is this list exhaustive:

  • Dramatic behavioural changes and mood swings
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Engaging in risky or harmful activities
  • Thinking that people would be better off without them
  • Losing interest in their appearance
  • A sense of hopelessness or despair
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Frequently talking about death
  • Putting affairs in order or making funeral arrangements


If you think someone might be having suicidal thoughts, you should ask that person directly in a non-judgemental way, whether they are thinking of taking their own life. Asking a person about suicidal thoughts will allow them the chance to talk about their problems and show them that somebody cares. Listen with undivided attention. Suicidal thoughts are often a plea for help and a desperate attempt to escape from problems and distressing feelings.

If you think there’s a high risk of a person dying by suicide before they can get the appropriate professional help, call the person’s doctor, a mental health crisis service or phone 000 and say that the person’s life is at risk. Do not leave them alone, unless you are concerned for your own safety.

If the person agrees, you could go together to the local hospital emergency department. The person’s doctor or acute care team can provide a range of options for treating and managing mental health issues. The emergency department at their local hospital will also be able to help them.


  • Lifeline — 13 11 14
  • Kids Helpline — 1800 551 800
  • Suicide Call Back Service — 1300 659 467
  • MensLine Australia — 1300 78 99 78


Quest for Life if not a crisis centre. If you need immediate help, see the Crisis contacts above.

It’s common to feel as though you’ll never be happy or hopeful again. But with support and self-help tools, strategies and skills, most people who’ve felt suicidal go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.

At Quest, we provide people with a safe environment where they can utter the unutterable. We offer tools and strategies to heal the past, build a better future and restore hope through our Residential Programs

Funding Options for Residential Programs


Quest subsidises all privately or self-funded places to ensure the cost of our programs remains affordable to individuals. This allows us to reduce the fee from $4,400 to $2,800.

$2,200 Shared room (Early bird* $2,100 – must be paid 30 days in advance)
$2,800 Single room (Early bird* $2,700 – must be paid 30 days in advance)

Fees effective 1 July 2023.

Subsidies and Financial Help

Through generous grants, donations and fundraising, additional subsidies and financial help is available for a range of circumstances and anyone experiencing financial stress will be considered. We review each case individually and we do not means test. All applications are conducted via phone with a friendly member of the Programs intake team.


Quest is a registered NDIS Provider. Residential Programs can be funded through plan-managed and self-managed NDIS plans.


We work with Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) White Card or Gold Card holders to make applications to the DVA Health Approvals Board.

Worker’s Comp Insurance

Residential programs can be covered by workers compensation insurance on a case-by-case basis.

Call our Programs Advisers Today
1300 941 488