Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life, while suicide ideation is the thought or planning of suicide or self-harm. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds, and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
The underlying cause of these actions, obsessions, and attempts is usually clinical depression, but other factors may be contributing including:
- Relationship issues
- Physical health issues
- Job loss
- Inability to concentrate
- Panic attacks
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
Symptoms & signs that someone may be having suicidal thoughts
- Changes in demeanour or in everyday activities (lack of sleep, excessive sleep, under or overeating)
- Lack of a motivation to resume normal living patterns (avoiding friends, family, social gatherings, absenteeism at work)
- Changes in how the person cares for themselves (lack of personal hygiene)
- Self-destructive behaviours (increased or excessive alcohol or drug use, driving recklessly, taking unnecessary risks)
- Obsession with death or violence
- Saying goodbye to others like they’ll never see them again
- Preparations for suicide (getting their affairs in order, giving away some of their personal possessions, or obtaining prescriptions or purchasing a gun)
- Talking about suicide
Some (but not all) people often send clues that they are thinking about suicide and all these signals should be taken seriously. Continuing treatment and monitoring are required for people who are thinking about suicide especially if they have attempted suicide before.
When is it time to get help?
Thoughts of suicide or attempting suicide are two things that should not be taken lightly. If you or a loved one are having these thoughts, please seek treatment immediately. A licensed counsellor can help and recommend the correct types of therapy.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, this is an emergency – please call 911 or proceed to your nearest emergency room.
For immediate help outside of our office hours, throughout Alberta, please call 211 or one of the following distress lines:
- Edmonton and area: 780 482 HELP (4357)
- Calgary and area: 403 266 HELP (4357)
- Rural Distress Line (Alberta wide) 1-800-232-7288
Treatment methods for dealing with suicidal thoughts
There are several effective treatment methods for dealing with the cause of suicidal thoughts. Your therapist will discuss with you the best options for your individual circumstance, depending on what’s causing you to think about or consider suicide. Some treatment methods that are typically successful in treating depression and other mental health issues include:
- Behavioural therapy tends to view human beings and behaviour with the assumption that humans are a product of their sociocultural conditioning and environment, looking at the current problems and the factors influencing them and emphasizes behaviour changes more than the underlying unconscious processes.
- Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach to treatment that focuses on how people’s thoughts, emotions, and beliefs influence their behaviour and how they perceive themselves.
- Person centered therapy differs from more traditional therapeutic approaches in the belief that, while the therapist has expertise in many areas, the client is the expert on themselves and their lived experiences. People are essentially trustworthy and have a vast potential for understanding themselves while also being able to ultimately resolve their own problems when guided properly.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is an approach that works to help the brain process information, memories, sounds, and feelings in a way that makes them be seen in a new and less distressing way.
What will I get out of treatment with Insight Psychological?
We can help you discover what is causing you to think about suicide. Once we’ve uncovered the cause, we can begin treatment. You can alleviate these symptoms. If you have experienced any of the symptoms of suicidal thoughts, it is advisable to set up an appointment with a psychologist as soon as possible. Please contact us to book an appointment.
 Mental Health Commission of Canada (2013). Making the case for investing in mental health in Canada.