Want to talk to someone now? Emergency and support lines

Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)

Lifeline: 13 11 14
Mensline: 1300 789 978
beyondblue: 1300 224 636
Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
Rurallink: 1800 522 002

Signs and symptoms of a mental health issue 

When someone you know is going through a tough time, it can be worrying for yourself and others involved and sometimes you might not know what to look out for.

Here are some common signs and symptoms:

  • a noticeable change in their usual behaviour1
  • if you have noticed they are feeling down for some time and they don’t seem to be getting any better2
  • lack of energy and motivation to do everyday things2
  • withdrawal from friends and activities2
  • emotional outbursts3
  • significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping2
  • increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • major changes in eating habits2
  • working longer hours.

If you are concerned about a friend or someone close to you simply talking and listening can make a difference. If this doesn’t make a difference it is important to support them to access professional support or visit their GP.

Possible signs someone might be thinking about suicide

Most individuals but not all, who consider taking their own life may give warning signs or signals.4 If someone you know is showing one or more of these signs it is important for them to seek professional support.5 Below are some of the signs and symptoms that you might recognise. However, it is important to remember that everyone is different and there is no way to predict how someone will act.4


  • hopelessness
  • helplessness
  • loneliness
  • disconnection
  • worthlessness
  • powerlessness
  • desperation
  • irritability
  • shame
  • rejection
  • sadness
  • isolation
  • anger
  • exhaustion
  • trapped.


  • prior suicidal behaviour
  • increase in alcohol or other drug use
  • withdrawal from family and friends
  • quitting activities which were previously important
  • putting affairs in order
  • writing suicide notes or goodbye letters to loved ones
  • self-harm
  • uncharacteristic risk-taking or recklessness
  • fighting and/or breaking the law
  • unexplained crying
  • emotional outbursts, mood swings
  • increased irritability.

Conversational signs4

  • helplessness: “Nothing I do makes a bit of difference, it’s beyond my control and no one can help me.”
  • talking about suicide or death
  • planning for suicide
  • feeling trapped: “I can’t see any way out of this mess.”
  • feeling like a burden: “They’d be better off without me.”
  • lack of belonging: “I just don’t fit in anywhere.”
  • hopeless: “What is the point? Things are never going to get any better.”
  • guilt: “It’s my fault, I’m to blame.”
  • escape: “I just can’t take this anymore.”
  • alone: “I’m on my own… no one cares about me; no one would even notice if I was gone.”
  • damaged: “I’ve been irreparably damaged… I’ll never be the same again."

Physical change4

  • major changes to sleeping patterns; usually too little, though maybe too much
  • loss of energy
  • loss of interest in personal hygiene or appearance
  • loss of interest in sex
  • sudden and extreme changes in eating habits; either a loss of appetite or an increase in appetite
  • noticeable weight gain or loss
  • chronic illness and pain.12

Content last updated: 7 August 2017

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