If life is in danger

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Fortem Australia during business hours



If you are in immediate danger of self harm or suicide,
please call 000.

Who is this for?

If you have been experiencing thoughts of suicide, this toolkit is designed to help keep you safe and find support in times of distress.

A sense of struggling to cope can sometimes be compounded by feelings of overwhelm and helplessness. This may be as a result of loss, grief, or trauma, or a culmination of day-to-day stressors which have accumulated over time. At times, one or all of these factors can lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

If this is the case for you, having a safety plan in place can be a useful guide for support in times of distress. A plan can give you concrete strategies to focus on the here and now, help keep you safe, and reduce the intensity of suicidal thoughts.

Focusing on things that are within your control allows you to manage emotional distress, and connect with yourself and your loved ones.

Keeping yourself safe from suicide image1

Steps to Safety from Suicide

1. Identify warning signs of suicide (p3)

2. Contact a crisis line (p4)

3. Remove /dispose of any items that are part of a suicide plan – if this feels unsafe, ask a loved one to do this for you

4. Capture your reasons on paper for times of distress and vulnerability (p5)

5. List people or things that can distract you or help you cope in moments of distress (p5)

  • Reach out to people you trust, and contact family and friends with whom you feel safe

  • Equip people to support you by sharing the crisis lines (p4) and letting them know that you will call them in times of distress.

  • Arrange continued professional support (regular appointments with a counsellor or psychologist – Fortem can help you with this – p4)


Warning Signs

  • feeling hopeless or helpless
  • feeling overwhelmed by responsibility, guilt, or shame
  • acting differently to your ‘usual’ self
  • sleeping poorly or finding it difficult to wake drastic changes in your eating or appetite
  • feeling disinterested in the things that usually bring you joy
  • finding it difficult to think about or plan for the future
  • leaning heavily on drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behaviours (e.g. gambling, online gaming, sexualised behaviours) to ease pain or stress
  • withdrawing from your friends or family feeling isolated, invisible, or misunderstood

Making a simple safety plan can help to keep you safe
when experiencing suicidal thoughts


Speak with your GP and build a mental health care plan.

For crisis help, Lifeline Australia provides one-on-one support with trained mental health professionals at any time of the day or night. Call 13 11 14.

Alternatively, you can reach the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, or speak to a counsellor on one of the numbers listed below.

If it is an emergency, please call 000

ACT1800 629 354 – Mental Health Triage Service
NSW1800 011 511 – Mental Health Line
VIC1300 651 251 – Suicide Help Line
QLD13 43 25 84 – 13 HEALTH
SA13 14 65 – Mental Health Assessment & Crisis Intervention
WA – Mental Health Emergency Response Line
1800 676 822 (PEEL)
1300 555 788 (Metro)

TAS1800 332 388 – Mental Health Services Helpline
NT1800 682 288 – Mental Health Line

First responders and their families can arrange an appointment with a psychologist at Fortem by calling 1300 33 95 94.

Keeping yourself safe from suicide image2

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Safety Tools to Reduce the Risk of Suicide

Suicidal thoughts can be a side effect of intense, overwhelming, or chronic pain – whether physical, emotional, or both. They can also arise due to depressive feelings of burden, hopelessness, or guilt. As humans, it is natural to want an end to pain for
ourselves and others. Thankfully, it is also in our makeup to protect ourselves from danger. This is where the safety plan comes in.

Thoughts of ending your life can be frightening, and it can be hard to remember that
they will pass. But they do not have to rule you, and a thought does not equal an action. By having simple safety mechanisms in place – just as we have a railing to support us when climbing the stairs – you can support yourself to move beyond the thoughts and connect to the things that matter to you, and to the people in your life.

You won’t need the railing all the time, but it’s there to support you when you need it.

Making a simple safety plan can help to keep you safe
when experiencing suicidal thoughts

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