Suicidal Ideation and Behavior

Suicidal Ideation (SI) is the term for when an individual experiences suicidal thoughts. Suicidal thoughts are fairly common and most individuals who experience them do not go on to make suicide attempts. Nevertheless, SI remains a risk factor for suicide, and therefore must always be taken seriously, especially in the presence of other risk factors (e.g., stressful life event, access to firearms). SI can vary in intensity, ranging from passive or fleeting thoughts to chronic preoccupation with suicide or active planning. Other suicidal behaviors may include rehearsing suicide or making non-lethal suicidal gestures.

SI is associated with various mental health conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, substance use, BPD, and PTSD. While SI has many causes and may serve a number of functions, it is often the result of hopeless thinking and/or the desire to escape from suffering.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among 15-24 year olds in the United States and can often be prevented. Two of the most significant protective factors against suicide include social connectedness and positive coping skills. An individual experiencing suicidal ideation must be evaluated for risk as well as for underlying mental health problems.

Services at BCSC that treat suicidal ideation and behavior: