Suicide, the act of intentionally taking one’s own life, is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and claims nearly 47,000 lives annually. The rates of attempted suicide, harming oneself with the intent to die but not dying, are even higher. Suicide affects all ages, but the rates of suicide vary among different demographics. Veterans, people who live in rural communities, LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults, and workers in specific industries, like mining and construction, are examples of groups at higher risk for suicide.
Openly talking about suicide has historically been taboo, but this has changed in recent years. We now know that talking about suicide with someone at risk does not put the idea in their head or propel them into action. Instead, it usually is viewed as a preventative measure that results in them getting the help they need. If you or a loved one is having suicidal thoughts, Harmony Hills’ suicide prevention program can help. Call 855.494.0357 to learn more.
What Are Suicidal Thoughts?
Having suicidal thoughts, often referred to as suicidal ideation, means that a person is preoccupied with speculative thoughts about ending their life or feeling that everyone else and everything else would be better off if they were gone. This can involve regularly thinking about methods of suicide and imagining what life would be like if they were gone.
Different people experience suicidal thoughts differently. Some may feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with complicated feelings or life circumstances. Others may feel less like they want to die and more like they simply cannot continue living as they are. Individuals with suicidal thoughts may think or feel:
- Desperate or as if they have no other choice
- Hopeless or that there is no point in living
- Useless, unwanted, or not needed by others
- Emotionally detached or physically numb
- Fascinated by death and what comes after
- Overwhelmed by negative thoughts
- Unbearable pain they believe will not end
- Lack of hope for the future
Individuals with suicidal thoughts frequently struggle to communicate what they are experiencing. They can feel unsure who to reach out to for fear that no one else will understand, of being judged or worrying about upsetting friends and family. Therefore, everyone must understand the signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation.
Recognizing the Signs and Symptoms of Suicidal Ideation
Because we can’t read other people’s minds, identifying when someone has suicidal thoughts can be challenging. However, some outward signs and symptoms can indicate that someone is contemplating suicide, such as:
- Engaging in reckless or risk-taking behaviors, including excessive drug or alcohol consumption
- Exhibiting signs of extreme agitation or anxiousness
- Having dramatic mood swings or changes in personality
- Talking about feeling alone, trapped, or hopeless
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Significant weight gain or weight loss
- Talking about suicide or saying things like “I wish I were dead,” “I wish I’d never been born,” or “Everyone would be better off without me”
- Gathering means of committing suicide, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills
- Withdrawing from or avoiding social contact
- Giving away possessions or putting affairs in order when there is no reason to do so
- Saying goodbye to others as though they won’t be seen again
Warning signs are not always obvious, and not everyone with suicidal thoughts will acknowledge it. However, research shows that nearly half to three-quarters of people give someone a warning sign. Not everyone who threatens suicide will attempt it, but every threat needs to be taken seriously.
Learn What to Do About Suicidal Thoughts at Harmony Hills
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or know someone who is, you may feel that there is nothing you can do. However, suicide is preventable. Suicidal thoughts clearly indicate pain and suffering that qualified mental health professionals can treat in a safe and supportive environment.
At Harmony Hills, our suicide prevention program works first to stabilize symptoms and then provides individualized, compassionate, comprehensive mental health treatment to address the issues contributing to suicidal thoughts. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, know that you are not alone and that help is available. Contact Harmony Hills today at 855.494.0357 or via our online form to learn how we can help.