May 29 is Wear White To Work Day, an annual event organised by the White Wreath Association whereby employees wear something white and donate a gold coin to show support for mental illness sufferers and families of suicide victims. You can participate this next Monday by wearing something white and donating a gold coin as it's a day to open up a dialogue about suicide and raise awareness on how you can help someone who is struggling.

Knowing the warning signs

The reasons why people are struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviour are complex and can involve risk factors that includes substance abuse, mental health conditions, relationship problems, legal or disciplinary issues, loss of a family member or close friend, ongoing exposure to bullying behaviour, or physical illness or disability.

This behaviour can manifest itself into subtle non-verbal and indirect verbal cues. According to Beyond Blue, some non-verbal cues could include:

  • Social withdrawal

  • Persistent drop in mood

  • Disinterest in maintaining personal hygiene or appearance

  • Uncharacteristically reckless behaviour

  • Poor diet changes, rapid weight changes

  • Being distracted

  • Anger

  • Insomnia

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

  • Giving away sentimental or expensive possessions

Verbal cues can include:

  • Hopelessness

  • Failing to see a future

  • Believing they are a burden to others

  • Saying they feel worthless or alone

  • Talking about their death or wanting to die.

Opening up about suicidal feelings

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, talking things out in an open and safe environment can be helpful. You may first want to open up with someone you're close to and trust. They can be considered your 'support person' and can be a family member, friend, colleague, doctor, or health professional.

It's also perfectly fine to be nervous when talking to someone. Focus your thoughts on staying safe at first and getting comfortable. Some coping tools you can use during this time include:

  • Recognising your warning signs

  • Making your surroundings safe

  • Reminders of reasons to live

  • Things that can make you feel strong

  • People and places to connect with

  • Family and friends you can talk or yarn with

  • Professional support

Just remember that talking things through will help you, not hinder you. While every individual's support needs are different, these tools can help anyone in the same way. Keep in mind the following factors when trying to stay safe:

  • Remember that suicidal thoughts are just thoughts; you do not have to act on them. Your thoughts might also last just a few minutes; you might feel completely different in a few hours time.

  • Delay any decisions to end your life. Give yourself time to get the support you need.

  • Remove anything in your home that you might use to impulsively harm yourself.

  • Store crisis line phone numbers or web links in your mobile phone for easy use.

  • Avoid being alone. Try to have someone near you until your thoughts of suicide decrease.

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. They can intensify how you feel and make decision making more impulsive.

If you're worried about your own or someone else's wellbeing, there are a number of 24/7 support services available:

Any time you need support or just want to chat, Sonder is also here 24/7 with our qualified team of responders and nurses. We will be there for you whenever you need it so you'll never feel alone.


If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: White Wreath Association and Oz Help.

Image credit: White Wreath Association

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

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