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About suicidal ideation

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What is suicidal ideation?

Suicidal ideation means wanting to take your own life or thinking about suicide.
There are two kinds of suicidal ideation:
1. Passive suicidal ideation occurs when you wish you were dead or that you could die, but you don't actually have any plans to commit suicide
2. Active suicidal ideaton occurs when you are not only thinking about it, but having the intent to commit suicide, including planning how to do it

Prevalence

The lifetime prevalence of suicidal ideation for the general world population is about 9% and about 2% within a 12-month period.

Symptoms

1.

Isolating yourself from your loved ones

2.

Feeling hopelesss or trapped

3.

Talking about death or suicide

4.

Giving away possessions

5.

An increase in substance use or misuse

6.

Increased mood swings, anger, rage, and/ or irritability

7.

Engaging in risk-taking behaviour

8.

Accessing the means to kill yourself

9.

Acting as if you're saying goodbye to people

10.

Feeling extremely anxious

Causes

There are a variety of risk factors:
1. Having attempted suicide in the past
2. Having a mental health disorder
3. Feeling hopeless, isolated and/ or lonely
4. Having a chronic physical illness and/ or pain
5. Having a traumatic brain injury
6. Having a family history of suicide
7. Having experienced childhood abuse or trauma
8. Having access to firearms

Diagnosis

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression and are having suicidal thoughts, your doctor will likely give you a medical exam and ask you to take a questionnaire for diagnosis.
Questions includes:
1. Do you have a history of depression or mental illness?
2. How long have you been having thoughts of suicide?
3. Have you created a suicide plan?
4. Are you taking any medication - and, if so, what kind?
5. How often do you use alcohol or drugs?

Treatment

1.

Psychotherapy

2.

Family therapy and education

3.

Substance use disorder treatment

4.

Lifestyle changes

5.

Medications

Coping

Ways to help reduce suicidal thoughts:
1. Identify triggers
2. Remember feelings are temporary
3. Take care of yourself
4. Build a community of support
5. Get active
6. Relax

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