Suicidal ideation is a preoccupation with thoughts of suicide, including envisioning suicidal acts in your mind and thinking about what life would be like for family and friends if you were no longer living.
Causes and Risk Factors
Suicide is a common and complex form of death that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. Suicide not only impacts the person who loses their life, but it also devastates family and friends, leaving them with unanswered questions and unresolved guilt. People end their lives for many reasons and it is often not because of a single issue. Grief, trauma, depression, chronic pain, and drug/alchohol abuse are all risk factors for suicidal ideation. Suicide also runs in families and you may be more likely to take your own life if someone in your family has also done so.
There are usually a number of signs a person is having serious thoughts of suicide. Vocalizing that loved ones would be better off without you or wishes of not being alive, acquiring weapons and researching suicide methods, uncharacteristic engagement in risky behaviors, and treating people as if you will never see them again are all common warning signs before a suicide. Changes in mood and outlook on life may also be noticeable. It is important to not ignore warning signs.
Suicide can be prevented. If you or someone you know are showing thoughts of suicide, reach out for help by calling a helpline, contacting a mental health professional, or dialing 911 immediately.