Preventing Suicidal Ideation

Preventing Suicidal Ideation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in the United States in 2020. Most often, it is a consequence of an insufferable major depressive episode, but it may also occur due to other mental health conditions or severe distress, such as a financial crisis, loss of a relationship, or bullying. 

Risk Factors of Suicidal Ideation

In extreme psychological distress, one can become preoccupied with the idea of suicide. This is known as suicidal ideation. It means you are consumed with thoughts about how you may end your life and what life would be like if you were not around. Some people are at a higher risk for suicidal ideation. Some of these risk factors include:

  1. Experiencing grief or bereavement
  2. Going through a traumatic situation
  3. Suffering from depression
  4. Experiencing a difficult struggle
  5. Dealing with a chronic health condition that feels hopeless
  6. Not having a strong support system
  7. Suffering from a traumatic childhood


Warning Signs of Suicidal Ideation

To prevent suicidal ideation, it is important to be aware of the warning signs so you can find the help you need. Warning signs of suicidal ideation include:

  1. Withdrawing from others and avoiding social contact
  2. Expressing to others that you wish you were not alive, had never been born, or your family would be better off without you
  3. Preparing for suicide, such as by acquiring a weapon or researching methods of suicide
  4. Getting easily anxious and irritable over minor things
  5. Wanting to give away your assets and possessions or making a will
  6. Treating people as if you may not see them again
  7. Feeling trapped in a situation
  8. Talking about being a burden to others or being in unbearable pain

The risk of completing suicide increases if one is suffering from a mental health condition, is under the influence of drugs or alcohol (increases impulsivity), or has tried to take your life before (previous suicide attempt). Please be aware of these warning signs and risk factors within yourself or others. Do not take them lightly.

How to Prevent Suicidal Ideation

Suicide is a permanent end to a temporary problem. It is a collapse under the weight that feels unbearable. If you are experiencing suicidal ideation, remind yourself that what you are going through will not stay this way forever, despite how inescapable your current situation may seem right now. Try to take it one day at a time, concentrate on getting through the next hour, and seek professional help as soon as possible. Another helpful way to move through your day is to find a way to relieve stress, such as by moving your body or by talking to a friend you trust.

If you feel at risk of suicide, help is available. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). This call is free and open 24 hours a day, every day. The service is available to anyone and all calls are confidential. The help offered is for you or someone you care about. If you are unsure of how to proceed with getting help, call 911.


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