How To Identify and Prevent Suicidal Thoughts

How To Identify and Prevent Suicidal Thoughts

What are suicidal thoughts?

Suicidal Thoughts are the most severe mental health symptoms of an underlying problem. People experiencing suicidal thoughts want to end their lives or hurt themselves at some point when pain is unbearable, especially during time when they feel stress, depression, or mental or physical health challenges. Intense emotional pain can trigger such thoughts. If you find yourself, or closed or loved one expresses suicidal intent or has suicidal thoughts, it is a serious situation. It doesn’t mean you’re a loser or weak; it only signifies there is more pain or sadness in your life that you can’t cope up.

Suicide : death caused by self-directed injurious behaviour with intent to die .
A suicide attempt : non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behaviour with intent to die.
Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering, or planning suicide.

International Suicide Statistics

  • Over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year.
  • The global suicide rate is 16 per 100,000 population.
  • On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds.
  • 1.8% of worldwide deaths are suicides.
  • Suicide is the 3rd cause of death in 15-20 yr old.
  • Global suicide rates have increased by 60% in the past 45 years.
  • 79% of global suicides occur in middle and low-income countries.

You have the power to say this is not how the story ends


Data : World Health Organization

Suicide Warning | Signs | Symptoms | Suicidal Thoughts include:

Suicide Warning Signs, Symptoms, or Suicidal Thoughts include

There is no typical behavior pattern for someone thinking for suicide, there are emotional, verbal, and behaviour clues you can observe easily. Treatment is effective at the end in many cases, but the first step is to speak up with your closed ones whom you trust most and ask for help. Firstly, prevention involves being able to recognize the warning signs of suicide.

1. Talking about suicide

Example: I wish I were dead, I am a loser, I am alone, Nobody likes me, I am a burden, I will kill myself, I don’t have a future, I hadn’t been born.

2. Dramatic mood swings

Rapid changes in mood, minor daily mood changes include Bipolar disorder, Dysthymia, Personality disorders, Major depressive disorder (MDD), Cyclothymic disorder.

3. Sleeping or eating too much or too little

People with depression have trouble sleeping, whereas others experiencing depression sleep too much. Depression can cause a loss of appetite, but in some people, it can cause overeating, which is not suitable for mental health.

4. Social withdrawal and isolation

Avoiding people and activities you usually enjoy. Chronic social isolation increases the risk of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

5. Acting anxious or agitated

Someone who is agitated has been shaken up by something — disturbing news, upset. Sign of Agitated: angry outbursts, disruptive or impulsive behaviour, excessive talking or movement, difficulty sitting still, problems with focusing or having a conversation, pacing, or shuffling the feet.

6. The sudden sense of calm

A sudden sense of calm and happiness after being too depressed can sign that the person has decided to end his or her life.

7. Mentioning strong feelings of guilt and shame

Major depressive disorder (MDD): experiencing moral emotions related to self-blame, such as guilt and shame

8. Looking for a way to kill themselves 

Researching for different suicide ways. Visiting pawnshop, searching gun, knife, etc. to end their life.

9. Increased drug and alcohol use

The abuse of alcohol or drugs is second to depression as the most frequent risk factor for suicidal behaviour.

10. Giving away favourite belongings

When a depressed individual start giving their loved or favorite belongings or promising them to friends and family members. When asked, they provide a reason that they won’t need it anymore, etc.

The person who commits suicide dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand… why? — Clark

Suicide Circumstances

Suicide Circumstances

Source: center for disease control and prevention


A suicidal crisis is almost always temporary.

What causes suicidal thoughts?

1. Failure in academic or job performance

Many students cannot accept failure; they think this is the final test of their life; high expectations are not met. It also includes: Low or no support from parents, fear of society, instant shock.

2. Relationship problems or Breakup

Every loss in a relationship hurts. Negative thoughts come that your heart will never recover; it creates a great deal of emotional turmoil.

3. History of substance abuse

Harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances is a major risk factor for suicide such as : Alcohol, Cannabis, Opium, Blue Lotus, Cocaine, Tobacco.

4. Death of a loved one:

The death of a spouse or other loved one tops the list of the most stressful things.

5. A history of sexual abuse

Being the victim of sexual abuse, especially as a child, increases the risk of committing suicide.

International Suicide Rates

(per 100,000 population/per year)

International Suicide Rates


“Suicidal thoughts aren’t permanent – things do improve. You can find your motivation to live again.”

Suicide Prevention and Control

Suicidal thoughts can be dangerous, scary, and overwhelming. Family and friends may notice an early sign, symptoms through a person’s behaviour that shows the risk of attempting suicide. They can help by talking to the person and giving valuable support. 

How to Help Someone with Depression and Suicidal thoughts?

  • Call your local mental health crisis assessment team.
  • Speak From the Heart,
  • Validate & Show Openness.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or dial 911, 112 or any local emergency number.
  • Remove access to lethal methods of suicide
  • If they are in danger, Don’t leave them alone.
  • Don’t judge them.
I want to know what’s going on for you…”
“…what you’re thinking about, or how you’re feeling”

Check here for Suicide Prevention Helpline numbers country wise.

How to Stop Suicidal Thoughts?

If you have the warning signs, rough time going on or negative thoughts are regularly coming. Take a step back and separate your emotions from your actions for the moment. There are ways to overcome suicidal thoughts that can move you away from hurting yourself and towards recovery.

Take these immediate actions to Overcome Suicidal Thoughts.

1. Speak with your family, friends, or close one

Tell them exactly what you are telling yourself. If you have a suicide plan, explain it to them. If it is difficult for you, then try writing it down in a note and handle it to a person you trust more. 

2. Promise not to do anything right now

Even though you’re in a lot of pain right now, you have to promise that I will wait and look for help and distance your thoughts and actions. 

3. Set a deadline

Create a timetable for change, even if things seems to be unbearable, try to follow it regularly.

Example: Give two months more for a change.

3. Avoid drugs and alcohol

Stop using non-prescription drugs or alcohol when you feel hopeless or thinking about suicide.

4. Make your home safe

Remove things you could use to hurt yourself, such as blade, pills, knives, razors, or firearms. Fill your room with motivational quotes, books. Watch motivating movies or Web Series.

5. Make time for things gives you joy and avoid being alone

Even if a few things please you, force yourself to do what you enjoy a lot. Think about your interests, join a club, or get a pet.

6. Build your support network.

Surround yourself with positive influences and people who make you feel good about yourself. 

7. Make a recovery plan 

Write down what helps you feel better about yourself or what helps you feel distressed. 

8. Take Nutrition, do Exercise and sleep well

Eating a balanced diet and sleeping for at least 7–8 hours per day.

9. Never skip an appointment

It’s important to attend all your therapy sessions and other appointments on time.

10. Define your dream and goals

Think about your dream – future life. Create specific goals around each one of your dreams. Take action, pursue, and achieve them.

READ NOW: Most Powerful, Motivational, and Positive Quotes To Suicide Prevention

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Sauhard Lashkari
A graduate in Computer Science from the KNIT, Sultanpur. Sauhard holds a 4-year experience in blogging. Being a passionate blogger/content writer too, Sauhard is an active volunteer in Make-A-Wish NGO and member of Toastmasters International.
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