Fort Wellness Counseling

How to Help Yourself - And Others - with Suicidal Ideation

suicidal ideation

September is Suicide Awareness Month. And while many people think that suicidal ideation (suicidal thoughts or ideas) is rare and unusual, it’s not. In fact, 1 in 5 people have suicidal thoughts. Not only that, but 1 in 14 people self-harm, and 1 in 15 people attempt suicide.

There is a common perception that talking about suicide increases suicidal tendencies. However, the opposite is true. Acknowledging and talking about suicide actually reduces one’s risk of suicide and leads to improvements in mental health. Therefore, it’s important to know the warning signs of suicide, as well as how to help yourself and others.

What Is Suicidal Ideation?

Generally, suicidal Ideation is a broad term describing a range of intrusive thoughts, contemplations, and preoccupations with death, dying, and suicide. Suicidal ideations vary in magnitude and characteristics, and they can range from brief thoughts of death to well-established plans for ending one’s life. But regardless of the gravity, all suicidal ideations are considered serious and require treatment.

Warning Signs

Knowing the warning signs of suicidal ideation is the first step. Therefore, be on the lookout for the following:

  • Temperament changes
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Self-harm or threats of self-injury
  • Use or abuse of drugs & alcohol
  • Talking or writing about death or dying
  • Saying their goodbyes
  • Giving away important items
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Loss of interest in things they once enjoyed

How to Help Others with Suicidal Ideation

If you know someone who is struggling with suicidal ideation, urge them to talk to you about their feelings. Doing so might feel uncomfortable or unnatural – this is normal. However, it can help to…

  • Let them know that you care about them & that they aren’t alone.
  • Ask about their reasons for dying & listen intently to their answers.
  • Remind them of the people they care about & those who care about them.
  • Reassure them that they won’t feel like this forever.
  • Ask them if they have a plan for ending their life.
  • Encourage them to seek help & make sure someone is with them if they’re in immediate danger.
  • Follow up with any commitments you agree to.
  • Remove lethal means from their home.
  • Help them get professional help & seek mental health support for yourself.
  • Empathize with them – recognize that this isn’t a choice.

How to Help Yourself

If you have struggled with suicidal ideation in the past, you should…

  • Make a mental note of two or three people safe and supportive people whom you can share those thoughts with.
  • Don’t stop any therapy or medications simply because you feel better.
  • Take care of yourself in the best way you can – this includes self-care activities, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and doing things that uplift you.

And if you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts right now:

  • Tell your friends. Talk about it. Don’t isolate yourself.
  • Tell your therapist and/or psychiatrist – set up an appointment if you don’t already have one.
  • If you’re in a crisis, call or text 988 or visit the emergency room.

Depression Therapists in Fort Worth, Texas

Depression is a significant risk factor for suicidal ideation. Therefore, it’s important to seek treatment for depressive signs and symptoms. At Fort Wellness Counseling, our skilled depression therapists help people make real changes and achieve a higher quality of life through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), talk therapy, self-help techniques, medication, and more.

So, if you or a loved one is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, schedule an appointment with our team today.  Lastly, it goes without saying, that if you or a loved one are not safe and in immediate danger, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. Below are some additional helpful mental health resources.  

Mental Health Resources

  • Suicide and Crisis Line – Call or Text 988
  • National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line – Text START to 741-741
  • LGBT National Hotline – (888) 843-4564
  • The Trevor Project – (866) 488-7386
  • U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline – (800) 799-7233

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