What are Suicidal Thoughts?
- Wishing you could disappear.
- Wishing you would die from an illness or accident.
- To think that you could commit suicide.
- To think about how to commit suicide.
- To plan for suicide, for example through preparation, letters, places, methods.
- Trying an act of suicide.
- To carry out a suicide act without being sure you want to die. Like playing “Russian roulette.”
- To make a suicide attempt in which you were entirely committed to dying.
Who gets Suicidal Thoughts?
Having some kind of thought about wanting to die or committing suicide is very common. Often in connection with crises or phases of life with major changes, for example in adolescence. But for most people, those thoughts aren’t related to a pervasive will to die. Those who have serious thoughts of suicide often think of suicide, they think longer about this and the thoughts are associated with a strong sense of not being able to cope with living.
For the vast majority, suicidal thoughts come when you see no way out of a situation. For some, it’s the combination of alcohol abuse and the end of relationships. For someone else, it’s several years of anxiety and a strong conviction that they in particular cannot be helped. Being suicidal has nothing to do with “mental weakness.” The research shows that it can affect people from different occupational groups, ethnic backgrounds and genders.
Serious suicidality is of course both dangerous and acute. About 1,500 people commit suicide every year in Sweden. Experts in the field of suicide agree that most people would’ve had a good life if suicide had been prevented.
Healthcare professionals who work with people with suicidal tendencies have countless examples of people who have been seriously suicidal, perhaps made several suicide attempts, but who today are grateful that they survived and now have a good life.
Many of those who commit suicide have also suffered from a mental illness for some time. The types of mental illness that involve a particularly high risk factor are substance abuse, psychotic illness and bipolar disorder.
For the person affected, see what is described at the beginning of this page.
It can be difficult to detect if a person is suicidal. Often, there are other signs that may make you ask the person straight out.
Being interested in death and suicide can be signs, for example, by browsing pages about suicide. For other general signs of mental illness, see the other sections. Secrecy and evasion can also be distinctive.
Before a suicidal act, it seems as if the person is feeling better for a while. They may have less anxiety, be more alert and more social. This is because the person is temporarily relieved of anxiety since it will soon end.
One should be observant about whether the person is saying goodbye to the world in different ways, by contacting people who meant something to them, writing farewell letters, giving things away or writing wills.
When Should You Seek Care?
If anyone starts or is about to begin an act of suicide, call 112 immediately. This also applies to those who are suicidal. Paramedics are used to take care of people who calls after they have, for example, taken a large number of pills and they provide good and non-judgmental help.
If you (or someone close to you) have/has a lot of suicidal thoughts, you should quickly seek help from your doctor or go to the emergency room.
Suicidal thoughts are one of the most common reasons for someone seeking help from a psychiatric clinic. You don’t have to be afraid that suicidal thoughts automatically mean that you’re hospitalized or have to take medicine. The important thing is that you and the staff during the visit can find a plan that you feel provide a possibility to be able to continue living. You can also call MIND, the suicide helpline, for support and advice. They’re staffed around the clock.
Many who have previously been suicidal, but no longer are, describe how difficult it is to talk to others about their suicidal thoughts. At the same time, it’s incredibly important. Both to be able to get help and to reduce the isolation it means to be alone with such difficult thoughts while dealing with daily life’s major and minor problems.
If you can’t tell your partner/father/mother, tell someone else!