When to Seek Help for Suicidal Thoughts and Ideation

When to Seek Help for Suicidal Thoughts and Ideation

Suicidal ThoughtsSuicidal thoughts are distressing, and may be accompanied by other factors that increase the chance of one actually going through with a suicide plan such as:

  • Depression
  • Mental illness
  • Alcohol
  • Substance abuse

The question that many people have, however, is when does a suicidal thought become serious? After all, many people have reported that they have thought about ending their life in passing as that would make a certain situation “easier”, but then common sense kicks in and the thought is dismissed. So how can you find the distinction between a suicidal thought and when someone is actually feeling suicidal? There are usually two categories to help professionals determine how serious one’s intent is to commit suicide:

  • Passive suicidal ideation which involves someone wanting to die, but not having a plan to end their life
  • Active suicidal ideation which involves someone wanting to die and having an actual plan to end their life

Regardless of what category you may find yourself or a loved one in, both require immediate medical and professional help. The threat of suicide, or the thought of suicide, isn’t to be taken lightly. There are a number of reasons why suicidal thoughts may occur, many of which can be treated. Some of the leading causes include:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Unexpected and sudden life changes that have a negative impact on one’s life
  • Mental illness (depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.)
  • Illegal drug use (cocaine, LSD, methamphetamine)
  • Anxiety disorders (obsessive compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder)
  • Side effects to medications (Prozac, Paxil, Singulair)

There are a number of symptoms that can help you identify if someone is suffering from suicidal ideation as well. If you have a friend or family member who has seemed “down” or moody for two weeks or more, they may be suffering from depression. If you know of a child or a teen who seems to be more irritable than usual, this may be how they are expressing depression rather than appearing sad. Those who have sleep disturbances and express feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and who seem unable to take pleasure in anything in life is also a very common symptom of one who has suicidal ideation. Be on the look out for:

  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Inattentiveness and poor performance
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Use of drugs and alcohol

If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please contact us at the Western Sydney Suicide Prevention & Support Network for further help and resources. You are not alone.