The reality of suicide is a difficult conversation, but starting it is so important for prevention. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 24.1 Suicide and suicidal ideation are often the result of untreated mental health conditions. Opening the door for dialogue is the first step toward ensuring people receive the help they need.
Suicidal ideation can affect anyone, no matter your age, gender, or other factors. However, the isolating nature of these thoughts can make it feel like you’re the only one dealing with them. Although it seems like they may never end while they occur, you can learn how to cope with suicidal ideation.
What is suicidal ideation?
Suicidal ideation refers to thoughts of or plans for suicide. These thoughts range in severity from fleeting considerations of death to a fully formed plan with intent. Someone who experiences suicidal ideation may not physically harm themselves, but more than one-third of adolescents with these thoughts attempt suicide.2
What causes thoughts of suicide?
Suicidal ideation typically happens when you feel you have no hope for the future or way out of an overwhelming circumstance. Suicide may seem like a solution when there seems to be no possible solution for a complex life situation.
Suicidal thoughts can also be symptoms of a mental health condition such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Learning to overcome suicidal ideation when you also have a mental health disorder requires a more comprehensive, intentional approach.
Ways to Cope with Suicidal Ideation
Dealing with suicidal ideation is not easy. The thoughts can be so loud they block out anyone’s attempt to offer support or care, but there is hope. Read on for ways to cope with suicidal ideation.
Reach out for help
Though it may not be easy, reaching out for help is the most important thing you can do to overcome suicidal ideation. It’s hard to let someone know you’re struggling, but it keeps you from going through it alone. Talk with a friend, family member, or healthcare professional and tell them you need help. Seeking treatment for suicidal ideation is a life-saving step.
Try to stay in the moment
Overwhelming hopelessness about the future is a primary contributor to suicidal ideation. Suicide seems like a solution when you feel there is no way out of your circumstances. Try to cut down on thoughts of the future and stay in the present because you can only handle the moment right in front of you.
Develop a safety plan
A safety plan is a collaborative effort between you and a healthcare provider to develop a list of coping strategies to use during difficult times. Your safety plan is an individualized approach to symptom relief and a crucial part of suicide prevention.
Finding help for mental health
You shouldn’t handle your mental health struggles or learn how to cope with suicidal ideation alone. Treatment facilities like Lifeskills South Florida are available to support you through these challenging times. Trying to deal with your difficulties alone can lead to dangerous outcomes. Please reach out to us at 954-953-1742 to learn more about our programs and find the one that’s right for you.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Treatment for Suicidal Ideation, Self-Harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youths.
- Annual Research Review. (2017). Suicide among youth – epidemiology, (potential) etiology, and treatment.