What Does Suicidal Ideation Mean?

A suicidal ideation is simply a thought about taking your own life. Passive suicidal ideations are simply the thoughts without the action

What Does Suicidal Ideation Mean?

Suicidal ideation(s) is likely a term you’ve heard before in the mental health community, but what does it mean? What are the causes of such thoughts? Suicide is the second leading cause of death in people aged 10-34, and in 2017, claimed 47,000 lives in the US alone. Suicide is no laughing matter, and when suicidal ideations occur, it can only be a matter of time before self-harm is inflicted or tragedy occurs. Keep reading to learn more about suicidal ideations and what to do if you or someone else experiences such thoughts.


What is It?


A suicidal ideation is simply a thought about taking your own life. Passive suicidal ideations are simply the thoughts without the action; wanting to die but not suicidal. Active suicidal ideations include plans to complete suicide along with the thoughts. Active and passive are both impactful, but active suicidal ideations carry a real risk with them, as they often include a thought-out plan to follow through with the act.


Suicidal ideations of any kind should be taken very seriously. Whether a person is vocal about it or seems to exhibit the symptoms, steps should be taken to provide help and guidance to anyone you think may be having such thoughts. The last thing you want is for someone to follow through on their ideas, leaving tragedy in their wake.


What Causes It?


Suicidal thoughts can be triggered by numerous events or conditions, including:


●     Depression or other mental health conditions.

●     Trauma

●     Substance abuse

●     Crises

●     Mounting pressure at work, home, in relationships, etc.


Suicidal thoughts don’t necessarily indicate that someone is suffering from mental health problems. In fact, sometimes a breakup from a long-term relationship can drive people to feel like there’s no other way to end the pain. Mounting financial problems, pressure to perform a certain way at work, or even drugs and alcohol can be driving factors behind a person thinking about suicide and/or following through with it.


What are the Signs That Someone is Having Ideations?


Some of the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideations can be difficult to spot, while others are out in the open. Things like talking about, drawing, or writing about death, or an overall obsession with death itself, should be clear warning signs that something isn’t right.


Giving away possessions can also be an indicator of suicidal ideations. Not necessarily charitable giving, but when someone gives away their most prized possessions on a whim. They may even say things like “You’ll get better use out of this” or “I won’t need this where I’m going.”


Some suicidal individuals choose to isolate themselves from friends and loved ones for weeks or even months/years before attempting suicide. Isolation that lasts weeks or months should be taken seriously, so be sure to check up on loved ones that you feel may be isolating themselves.


If you yourself are experiencing such thoughts, you’ll want to reach out to a trusted friend, doctor, or other person as soon as possible. You can also call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to talk to someone right away.


What Should I Do?


If a loved one confesses their desire to complete suicide, or that they’ve been having suicidal thoughts, you’ll want to get help right away. One of the most important things to remember is to not leave a suicidal person alone for any reason! Stay with them, make a call, and get someone to help. Don’t leave them alone, even for a few minutes. Those few minutes could literally mean the difference between life and death.


 Contact mental health resources in your area to offer help to your friend or loved one. If there are any instruments by which the person could harm themselves in the room, take either the objects or your loved one to a different room once someone arrives to assist you.


Is There a Cure?


Why there isn’t necessarily a “cure” for suicidal ideations, they can be addressed via mental health resources like counseling, medication, or alternative treatments. It’s been suggested that substances like CBD oil have a positive impact on mental health for conditions such as depression and anxiety, but you’ll want to know the CBD facts before considering such alternative medicine.


Getting yourself or your loved one help for their suicidal ideations is our duty as family members, friends, and colleagues. With suicide on the rise as one of the leading causes of death in the United States today, especially among young adults, it’s important that this issue is addressed with all seriousness and respect.


Unfrotunately, our nation and the world is plagued with stigma regarding suicide and mental health; statements such as “suicide is selfish and cowardly” or “He/she just wanted the easy way out” are incredibly damaging to the cause and don’t serve anyone in the end. Suicide is not a selfish act, but rather one perpetrated under ideas such as “everyone will be better off without me anyway”.


The Take-Away


If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal ideations, they should be taken seriously and immediately brought to the attention of a trusted friend or relative. Contact mental health resources in your area, and, most importantly, never leave a suicidal person alone. Be sure to stay with the victim until help arrives. Remove any harmful objects from the area, and keep a close eye on your loved one until you get the help you need.

Updated Date: 22 August 2019, 06:44

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