Suicidal thoughts or acts are commonly brought about by inner turmoil and a lack of continuity with daily rhythms of life. Have you recently been through a traumatic event (collective or personal), have turmoil in your home, or are you going through a life transition that is new and scary? Experiences like that can leave someone stressed with thoughts about wanting to no longer live.
Thoughts and feelings of suicide are to be taken seriously at all costs, and should never be framed as being dramatic or as a burden. Suicide outranks murder in terms of deaths per year. In 2020 alone 12.2 million adults had serious thoughts of suicide. Out of that 12.2 million, 1.2 million attempted suicide. Out of the 1.2 million persons who attempted suicide 920,000 made plans for suicide while 283,000 made no plans for suicide. This shows us that those who create a plan are more likely to attempt and possibly complete suicide, as well as shows that those who do not have a plan are still at risk for attempts of suicide.
WARNING SIGNS TO WATCH FOR
Warning signs often precede suicidal thoughts and plans. Individuals even working with a therapist or in close relationships with others may have the thoughts, plans, and means to kill oneself. It is regular for a person facing such hardships to not disclose directly to a counselor or loved one about what they are going through.
If you feel concerned or recognize signs in a loved one, ask them directly “are you having thoughts about ending your life?” It is a myth that you will give them the idea, and asking directly can provide a huge relief for your loved one to talk about how they are feeling. With this in mind, it is important to be aware of clues that are typical for a suicidal person:
- Giving items away
- Putting their life in order
- Withdrawing from daily/social activities
- Preoccupation with death
- Recent loss of a loved one
- Feelings of hopelessness/worthlessness
- Increase of consumption/intake of drugs and alcohol
- Psychotic behavior
- Verbal hints such as “‘I am of no use to anyone anymore’”
- Living alone
If what I have described to you resonates with you, I would highly encourage you to engage with these following steps.
Call A Suicide/Crisis Hotline
Help is available to you and you are able to speak with someone today. Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988 available 24 hours a day in English and Spanish.
Reach Out to A Trusted Person In Your Life
Reach out to a trusted ally or relationship in your life, and disclose frankly what you are going through. You do not have to face such despair alone. This person may not be trained on how to respond or what to do. The important thing is that you are able to reach out to a trusted person in your vulnerability to create a connection that is lasting and healing. Leaning on the resources that you do have relationally will strengthen your resolve to receive the care you need.
Connect With A Mental Health Professional
Mental Health Workers are responsible and equipped to bring about real aid and help to any person who is facing suicidal thoughts/plans. We are eager to collaborate with you in creating a safe space for you to be heard, and to receive the care you need in terms of your safety. Call us or make an appointment at Heartland Therapy Connection if you need help. We believe your life is worth an abundance and you deserve to receive the care you need.
Be prepared to receive a suicide assessment with your therapist when you meet with them after disclosing your thoughts of suicide. Typical assessments for suicide ideation are CAMS and the Beck Scale for Suicide Ideation. Assessments will be a means for the therapist to see the risk level you are at. After that then an appropriate intervention will be easier to develop with your welfare in mind.
If you have further questions or curiosities about suicidal thoughts and what it’s like to meet with a therapist please refer to our following articles:
Kanel, K. (2019). A Guide To Crisis Intervention. (6th Edition). Cengage Learning Inc. Pg. 71