What is Suicidal Ideation?
Suicidal Ideation or suicidal thoughts has been diagnosed as an individual being completely preoccupied with the idea of suicide. The individual may more often than not think deeply about committing suicide or ponder what life would be like without their presence. Individuals have also been known to replay the suicidal act out in their heads throughout the day.
There are two variations of suicidal ideation, this first is:
Active suicide: This means that the individual is not only thinking about the act of suicide but ultimately has the intent of following through, including how they will go about it.
Passive suicide: Individuals are classed as having passive suicide if they wish they were dead but don’t have plans to commit.
How does the suicidal ideation scale differ from suicidal Ideation?
Suicidal ideation scale (SIDAS) has been designed to screen and assess specific individuals currently suffering from suicidal thoughts and determine the severity of these thoughts.
Suicide is a large and growing public health problem within the United States of America. The mental health condition does not discriminate; it affects all and every age. It is now the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34, the fourth leading cause among people ages 34-54, and the fifth leading cause among people ages 45-54.
Suicidal ideation scale consists of five sections, each targeting an attribute of suicidal thoughts:
- Frequency of suicidal thoughts
- Controllability of said thoughts and actions
- Closeness to attempt
- Level of distress associated with suicidal
- Impact said thoughts are having on the individual’s daily life
These five sections are then measured on a 10-point scale, reflecting individuals who have severe suicidal thoughts and attempts.
What are causes suicidal Ideation
Suicidal Ideation is generally associated with a variety of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, and many more. However, it has been recorded that many life events and family situations can ultimately be the start of an individual progressing to have suicidal thoughts.
Many factors can contribute to suicidal ideation. Often these thoughts will take prominence in an individual’s mind when they feel as though they have lost control of their lives or no longer feel that they have a purpose. There are a variety of risk factors for suicidal ideation, including:
- Feeling isolated, lonely, hopeless
- Having any sort of mental health disorder, no matter how severe
- An attempt on one’s life in the past
- Being lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transgender
- Having to deal with chronic pain
- If an individual has experienced childhood trauma or abuse
- Abusing alcohol or drugs, no matter the severity
- If the individuals family history involves suicide
- Having a chronic physical illness such as diabetes, terminal disease, any form of cancer
Most individuals who have suicidal thoughts do not attempt their lives; however, all individuals who express their suicidal thoughts will be placed in a high-risk factor until they have undergone a complete and thorough assessment.
Management of high-risk individuals
If we believe an individual is of severe risk to themselves from the results of the suicidal ideation scale assessment, the individual will be placed into a secure and safe environment with 24-hour support from our crisis and mental health team. There will be a balance of protective and risk factors though these will heavily vary depending on the individual.
Suicidal ideation protective factors
A protective factor is an attribute or characteristic that reduces the individual’s likelihood of attempting or completely committing suicide. Protective factors are resources, skills, and individual strengths that can help suicidal individuals effectively deal with triggering events, individuals, or environments. Proactive factors can be placed into two categories, personal or external-environmental.
Personal protective factors can include:
- Enhancing social skills such as anger management, decision making, etc
- Enhanced connections to supportive family and friends
- Becoming more optimistic for the future
- Medical compliance and an understanding of the importance of wellness and health
- Learning to control impulses
- A sense of control over their lives and setting goals
- Reasons for living
- Resiliency for when situations or life may not be looking as positive
External-environmental protective factors can include:
- A stable, safe, and positive environment
- Strong relationships with trusted friends, family members, and medical professionals
- Restricted access to lethal means, which will include alcohol and drugs
- The opportunity to participate in community projects and activities
- Life responsibilities, duties, and deadlines
Increasing these protective factors, whether personal or external-environmental, can decrease an individual risk to commit suicide. Individuals should work on strengthening these factors as an ongoing project to increase resilience.
While protective factors can help a suicidal individual, these are not permanent solutions. Individuals who suffer from suicidal thoughts need professional medical support to maintain protection against suicidal ideation.
A final thought from Shoreline Sober Living
The suicidal ideation scale is an assessment that every individual should go through to allow the medical professionals to fully understand the severity of the individual’s suicidal thoughts/attempts.
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Here at Shoreline Sober Living, our dedicated team understands the turmoil your mind is going through. While it may be difficult for you, studies have shown that if you can talk to someone you trust, whether a medical professional or a family friend, you are less likely to attempt suicide physically.