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Suicidal ideation (SI) is often called suicidal thoughts or ideas, is defined as a “broad term used to describe a range of contemplations, wishes, and preoccupations with death and suicide.”

There is no single cause that can explain why someone develops suicidal thoughts. However, research has found several risk factors that have been noted as increasing one’s susceptibility to suicidal ideation. In many cases, a confluence of different situations and exposure to a combination of risk factors contribute to one’s increased propensity for developing suicidal thoughts. 

Warning Signs

There are a variety of signs and symptoms associated with a teen struggling with suicidal ideation. Medical News Today list the following examples:

  • Feeling or appearing to feel trapped or hopeless
  • Feeling intolerable emotional pain
  • Being preoccupied with violence, death, or death
  • Having mood shifts, either happy or sad
  • Talking about revenge, guilt, or shame
  • Experiencing agitation or a heightened state of anxiety
  • Experiencing changes in personality, routine, or sleep patterns
  • Increasing the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Giving belongings away
  • Getting hold of a gun or substances that could end a life
  • Experiencing depression, panic attacks, or impaired concentration
  • Isolating themselves
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Loss of enjoyment in previously enjoyed activities
  • Expressing severe remorse and self-criticism
  • Talking about suicide or dying
  • Expressing regret about being alive or ever having been born

Individuals may have suicidal thoughts that can range from fleeting thoughts to planning out the way in which one wants to end his or her life. It is not uncommon for people with suicidal ideation to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves.

How To Help

The best way to help a suicidal family member is to be aware of the risk factors, recognize warning signs, and provide them with ample, professional support as soon as possible. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) provides helpful suggestions to assist someone who may be at risk of experiencing suicide ideation:

  • Ask them if they are thinking about suicide. Studies show that asking does not increase the risk.
  • Keep them safe by staying around and removing any means of committing suicide, such as knives, where possible.
  • Listen to them and be there for them.
  • Encourage them to contact someone they might turn to for support, such as a friend, family member, or spiritual mentor.

There are also a variety of easily accessible suicide prevention resources (e.g., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, the Suicide Prevention Resource Guide, and more). Early intervention, family support, and professional assistance can be invaluable to one’s safety and recovery.

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At {Upwell Advisors}, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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