mental health, therapy, counseling and psychology terms glossary

Suicidal Ideations

Suicidal Ideations (or suicidal thoughts) refers to thinking about or planning suicide – the act of ending one’s own life. It is not uncommon for people to experience suicidal thoughts when they are faced with times of extreme stress, serious injury or illness, or mental struggles such as Depression.

When a person feels trapped, hopeless, or is having immense emotional or physical pain, thoughts of ending life as a way out can occur. There are biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors that can increase the risk of suicide – these factors coupled with adverse life events and a belief there is no other way out can lead to suicidal ideations.

Passive Suicidal Ideation is when a person sometimes wishes they were dead but do not have any actual plans to commit suicide. However, when the thoughts turn to actual intent to kill oneself and include plans as to how to carry it out, that is called Active Suicidal Ideation.

Therapy can be very helpful for an individual with suicidal thoughts. Hopeless feelings can be improved when viewed from different perspectives and a therapist can offer those insights. Support from friends, family, and groups can be helpful for continued connection and encouragement both during and after therapy.

Please know that the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day to discuss any immediate concerns about suicide. If you or someone you know may be at risk, do not hesitate to call them at (800) 273-8255 – or by calling using the new national phone short dialing code: 988.

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