Suicidal Ideation

Suicidal ideation is the medical term for thoughts about suicide. These ideas may be fleeting, or they may persist and become a structured plan. Many people who have suicidal thoughts do not die by suicide, although they may exhibit suicidal behaviour or make attempts to kill themselves. People who experience suicidal thoughts or actions may find that they do so because of conditions such as depression, severe anxiety, constant insomnia, or panic attacks.

Justin cautions patients and their loved ones to take all suicidal ideation and behaviour seriously. In case of life-threatening emergencies, please contact a crisis line or report to the closest hospital emergency room. If you have suicidal thoughts or know someone who is displaying suicidal ideation contact the practice to schedule an appointment.

Assessing suicide risk and behavior

You can have persistent thoughts of suicide and never actually try to kill yourself, but other people might attempt suicide after only briefly experiencing suicidal ideation. This is why it is essential that we take all threats of death and suicidal behaviour seriously. If someone you know does any of the following things, get help immediately:

  • They threaten to hurt or kill themselves.
  • They attempt to access the means to kill themselves.
  • They talk or write about their death.
  • Exhibit revenge-seeking behaviour.
  • They talk about feeling trapped in a situation and not seeing any way out.
  • They have no reason to live or have no purpose in life.
  • They act withdrawn from friends, school, work, family, and all other meaningful relationships.
  • They engage in risky behaviour without caution.

If you continue with therapy once the point of the crisis has passed, you will likely learn ways to resist the urges to self-harm, address the factors that led to the harmful thoughts, and formulate a plan that includes coping strategies and methods to address suicidal thoughts if they recur.