Suicide and self-harm 

My friend has been depressed and has started talking about ending it all. What can I do?

If you feel your friend is in immediate danger, call 111 or contact your local District Health Board Mental Health Crisis Team (CATT).

It may help your friend if they can to talk to you or someone else about how they are feeling. 

You or your friend could call Lifeline’s Suicide Crisis Helpline (0508 TAUTOKO or 0508 828 865). It is available 24 hours, 7 days to provide help, support and information to people at risk and their friends and families. You will also find advice on their website.

Alternatively you could call or text 1737 to talk to someone. 1737 Need to Talk? is a government funded helpline that is available 24 hours, 7 days.

You or your friend could also try one of the helplines listed on our Depression page. You might also encourage your friend to get in touch with a local depression support group.

Some resources that you or your friend may find useful include:

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Where can I get help to deal with my grief over someone who died by suicide?

In some parts of New Zealand Victim Support has bereavement support services, providing ongoing practical and emotional support, information and liason with other services.

You can also try one of the many counselling services available - for example Skylight’s Waves programme), as well as organisations who can help someone feeling suicidal

You can visit the Ministry of Health website, After a suicide, for more information about helping the bereaved deal with their grief, including practical information such as the funeral arrangements.  

You might also find it helpful to join a support group. You can look for a support group on the Family Services directory.

You might be interested in starting up a support group. The Mental Health Foundation has a handbook, Support groups for suicide loss, which was written specifically for people wanting to start up a support group.

You can also find general information about bereavement on our Bereavement & grief page.

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What counselling is available for children dealing with the suicide of a family member?

Specialist helplines for children and young people include:

  • 0800 What’s Up for help via phone or online chat;
  • Kidsline - call 0800 54 37 54 which is available 24hours, 7 days, or call between 4 and 9pm to talk to a trained year 12-13 Buddy;
  • Youthline - call 0800 376 633, text 234 or use online chat.

Some of the options discussed elsewhere on this page might also be appropriate for your child. You can also read about grief counselling for children on our Bereavement & grief page.

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I think someone I know is harming themselves. What can I do?

Some people may hurt themselves as a way of dealing with overwhelming emotional pain or anxiety - though some don’t know why they do it. Self-harm can include cutting or burning the skin, pulling out hair or eyelashes, hitting yourself, or taking an overdose of medication.

It may help the person to talk about how they are feeling. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you about it, you could suggest someone they can talk to - see next question.

More information about how to help someone is on the Mental Health Foundation website.

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I have been feeling the urge to harm myself. Where can I go for help?

You may find it helpful to talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust, for example your family doctor, minister of your church or school counsellor (if you are at school).

You could also call one of the telephone helplines listed on our Depression page.

For more specialised help you could seek professional counselling. Most counsellors will have some experience in helping people recover from the urge to harm themselves, and some are specialists. Your local CAB can help you locate counsellors in your area, or you can talk to your GP about finding a suitable counsellor.

More about finding ways to cope is on the Mental Health Foundation website.