Suicidal thoughts are much more common than most people would imagine. Thoughts of ending one’s life, or of killing oneself, are also known as suicidal ideation. Teen suicidal thought is often passive suicidal ideation. In other words, teens may think about suicide, but their suicidal thoughts do not progress to suicide plans or suicide attempts. Still, treatment for suicidal thoughts helps to lower the progressive risk.
Mental health professionals describe suicidal thoughts without suicidal actions as suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation ranges from thinking about or considering the idea of suicide to considering potential suicide attempts. People who experience suicidal thoughts often feel worthless, believing their life not worth living. Even though suicidal ideation is less severe than concrete suicide planning, such suicidal thoughts are a cause for concern since any progression can be deadly.
Suicidal thoughts in the form of suicidal ideation also can become a cognitive habit, an ongoing mental pattern. Depression often leads to such dysfunctional automatic thinking styles. Once suicidal ideation becomes habitual, treatment for suicidal thoughts is needed. For every person who attempts or completes suicide, many more suffer from suicidal ideation. When polled about suicidal ideation, more than 8 million US adults reported serious suicidal thoughts in a single calendar year.
Suicidal thoughts often are a result of a person trying to escape a situation that seems impossible to handle. Such people need treatment for suicidal thoughts before the actual planning begins. The occurrence of suicidal ideation implies a risk of the person becoming actively suicidal. Such an escalation can happen without warning.