Suicidal Ideation- Prevalence, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Coping

What is suicidal ideation?

Commonly, suicidal ideation means having suicidal thoughts. It includes thinking and planning to take your life. It can result into dangerous thought patterns.

However, just having such thoughts not always result into suicide. The ones who are suicidal go towards the drastic measures. Only 5% are the completer of suicide.


Mainly, there are two types of suicidal ideation:

  • Passive Suicidal Ideation
  • Active Suicidal Ideation

1. Passive suicidal ideation

It happens when someone is so tired of living that they wish they were dead. However, they have no plan to kill themselves i.e., to commit suicide. This is a moderate condition but still something to worry about.

2. Active suicidal ideation

On the contrary, the Active type is where along with wishing to be dead, the person has a plan in mind. They might also imagine cutting their vein with a knife, jumping off a cliff, or shooting themselves. It is a severe form of Suicidal Ideation that needs to be checked immediately.


According to a recent research, this is the data collected:

It was estimated that more than 10 million of adults have reported having suicidal thoughts in 2019.
On the basis of different age groups excluding teenagers the data about Suicidal Thoughts states:
  • 7.4% people of age 18 to 25
  • 4.0% people of age 26 to 49
  • 2.7% people of age 50 or above
In another estimation, about 3 million people planned about different ways to attempt suicide i.e., had Active Suicidal Thoughts in last year.
On the basis of different age groups excluding teenagers the data of Active Suicidal Thoughts states:
  • 2.5% people of age 18 to 25
  • 1.35% people of age 26 to 49
  • 0.6% people of age 50 or above

Furthermore, Teen age suicides are increasing day-by-day and leaving all other age groups behind. Suicide among teenagers has now become the second-most cause of their death followed by accidents and injuries.


Attention seeking and real suicidal ideation needs to be evaluated by knowing that the person has some plan for suicide. Suicidal ideation can be evaluated by asking a verbal question i.e. did you ever felt that after this entire problem life is not worth living. Along with this, a formal assessment tool can also be used to tap the presence of any suicidal thoughts.

Moreover, these symptoms in a person can show that the person has suicidal thoughts:

  • One has started to isolate himself/herself from their loved ones
  • Someone always talks about hopelessness and feels trapped
  • Who talks so much about death and involves the word ‘suicide’ also
  • Gives away the things once he/she loved the most
  • Has mood swings and irritability
  • Uses inappropriate and dangerous drugs
  • Acting as if he is talking to you for the last time and saying goodbye


There can be a number of causes for suicide ideation. Such thoughts strike you often when one is feeling purposeless and hopeless. He/she often thinks like their life is not working the way they planned and that everything is messed up. They often complain that there is no way to make things right and organized now. Mostly, these thoughts prevail in those people who have any history of psychological disorder. Or even those currently dealing with mental illness.

Some common causes of Suicidal Ideation can be:

  • Relationship problems
  • Work pressure
  • Financial instability
  • An issue with one’s Physical health
  • An already happened mental disorder

It has also been observed that LGBT suffer more societal pressure that leads them to finish themselves.


For treatment of Suicidal Ideation, one must see a therapist. However, many people always try to act normal and are not ready to visit a psychologist. For them, their loved ones will have to do this job for them.

It can be as:

  • Psychotherapy– It is also known as talk therapy. During this, they can talk to someone who cares about how things are going bad. Catharsis of bad feelings will help them feel better.
  • Family therapy and education– Family is basic unit of human interaction. Involve the loved ones in the treatment. Make them feels special and loved.
  • Changing Routine– Change their routine of everyday. Ask them to have morning walk, and do something else than their routine. Try out something new such as a trip or adventure. Change their environment.
  • Medications– Medicines can also be used to treat this condition. However, be aware that many of them are addictive. A high dose of them might prove bad in future.

A crisis session would be arranged if the person has some thoughts like killing themselves. Family would be informed so that they take care of the person and stay with them by keeping him/her out of range of every harmful thing such as knife, medicines, rope, finial, belch etc. 


To cope with such suicidal thoughts, you can do following things to prevent them and keep yourself healthy:

  • Identify Suicidal Though triggers- Check what triggers you into such thoughts and try as much as you can to avoid them.
  • Remember that such Feelings Are Temporary- Don’t let these feelings take you a prompt action. Avoid them knowing that they will fade away after some time.
  • Take Care of Yourself- Comfort yourself from something you love to do. Change your routine and try out new things. For example, painting, writing, listening calming music etc.
  • Build a Community of Supportive people- Be with people who sound encouraging. Be with supportive people and avoid toxic ones. Clean your circle.
  • Get Active and Relax- Do some relaxing exercises. Take morning walks, do yoga and meditation. Keep yourself active and eat healthy and refreshing.
  • A Word from Very Well- Do not hesitate to visit a therapist if you’re feeling worst. Help yourself to overcome this condition and stay safe.

Have you ever felt like this? Want to add something. Comment below!

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Madeeha Qadeer

A creative graphic designer with a tint of fun. She is good with her words too. She is a unique author of Blogsy.

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