Life has its ups and downs, and during the darker times, it's not uncommon to have distressing thoughts. But what if those thoughts take a more severe turn and you find yourself grappling with suicidal ideation? In this blog, we will explore what suicidal ideation is and, most importantly, how to recognize when it's time to seek help for yourself or others.
Suicidal ideation involves thoughts of death, self-harm, or ending one's life. It exists on a spectrum, from fleeting, occasional thoughts to persistent, intrusive ones. It is typically persistent, with thoughts and intensity waxing and waning.
There are two types of suicidal ideation:
Not everyone with suicidal ideation acts on it, but it’s important to get help as soon as possible to prevent suicide. Understanding that these thoughts are often a sign of deep emotional pain is the first step in addressing them.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, it is always better to be safe than sorry. However, the symptoms below are very clear indicators that it is crucial to get help as soon as possible:
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal ideation, it’s important to prevent them from acting on it as soon as possible.
Talk to Someone You Trust: Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or confidant can provide emotional support and encourage you to seek professional help. Enlist someone to drive you to the ER, stay on the phone with you, or help you find resources.
Seek Professional Help: Reach out to a mental health professional. They can provide a safe space for discussion and develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. In an immediate emergency, go to the ER - they can handle mental health crises as well as physical ones!
Hotlines and Crisis Services: National crisis hotlines are available 24/7. They offer immediate support and resources for individuals in crisis. View our list of crisis contacts here.
Safety Planning: Collaborate with a therapist or counselor to create a safety plan that outlines steps to follow during a crisis. This plan can be a vital tool in managing suicidal thoughts.
Many people think that when they go to a professional for help with suicidal ideation, they will be committed to an institution and lose their autonomy for a long period of time. Seeking help does not necessarily lead to immediate hospitalization. Mental health professionals aim to provide the least restrictive, most effective treatment. This often involves outpatient therapy, counseling, and the development of coping strategies to manage suicidal ideation. If hospitalization is determined to be necessary, you will be an active participant in your treatment, and the goal will be to release you as soon as possible.
Suicidal ideation is a serious matter that should never be ignored. If you or someone you know is struggling with these thoughts, professional help is available and can make a profound difference in one's life. Medens Health is here to provide ongoing support to individuals in their journey to recovery after the initial crisis has passed. Reach out to us by phone or text at (833) 624-5400, send us a message using our online contact form, or to register as a new patient get started here.
The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.
If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.