Suicidal Thought Triggers and Coping Strategies

suicidal thought

Suicidal thoughts are very normal. Many people consider suicide during stressful periods. According to a national survey, 13% of adults in the United States had considered suicide, with 4.6 percent having attempted suicide.

It’s fortunate that most people who are thinking about suicide don’t go through with it. However, over 500,000 persons are taken to hospital emergency rooms in the United States each year for suicide attempts, with over 33,000 “succeeding.”

Suicide is responsible for twice as many deaths as HIV/AIDS. Guns are used in more than half of all completed suicides.

Suicidal behavior is not a distinct psychological condition. It can, however, be the outcome of or a symptom of a deeper psychiatric problem, most commonly a mood illness.

Suicide attempts are more common in patients with significant depression during major depressive episodes than between episodes, which is reasonable. According to estimates, over 60% of those who commit suicide have a mental illness.

Suicide is currently one of the leading causes of death all around the world. Every year, it is estimated that one million people die from it, with over 36,000 of them in the United States alone. Another 25 million people around the world, including 600,000 in the United States, attempt suicide but fail; these efforts are known as parasuicides.

Exact suicide statistics are tough to get. Many researchers believe that estimates are frequently underestimated. As a result, suicide is difficult to distinguish from car accidents, drug overdoses, drownings, and other situations.

Many of what appear to be “accidents” may have been faked. Furthermore, because suicide is considered as a sin in our culture, family and friends are typically hesitant to admit that their beloved ones have committed suicide.

What Trigger Suicide

Suicides are often tied to recent events or circumstances in a person’s life. Although these situations may not be the primary cause of suicide, they may serve as a trigger. Stressful conditions, mood disorders, alcohol, other drug use, and mental problems are the most prominent triggers.

Stressful Situation

Researchers discovered that suicide-related suicide victims experienced more stressful incidents in the recent past than non-suicide attempters. However, the causes that lead to suicide may not have to be as severe as those that lead to war.

Losing a loved one due to divorce, death, or rejection; losing a job; and natural disasters such as hurricanes and other natural disasters, even in the case of very young children, are all examples of immediate stress that can lead to suicide.

Individuals may seek suicide as a result of long-term stress rather than recent stress. Social isolation, major sickness, a hostile environment, and work-related stress are all common stressors.

Social Isolation

Suicide may be committed by persons who have loving family members or supportive societies. Those who lack these social supports, however, are more vulnerable to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Researchers discovered that those who lack feelings or “belongingness,” believe they are not supported by social support, live in isolation, and have a constant conflict with others are more likely to engage in suicide conduct.

Serious Illness

Patients who suffer from severe pain or handicap may consider suicide because they believe death is inevitable. Some people may believe that the challenges and suffering caused by their sickness are too much for them to bear.

According to studies, up to one-third of persons who commit suicide had poor physical health during the month before they commit suicide.

Abusive Environment

Victims of a violent or harsh environment who have little or no possibility of escaping frequently commit suicide. For instance, suicide has been attempted by prisoners of war, prisoners of concentration camps, abusive spouses, and children of mistreated prisoners.

These individuals, like others suffering from serious illnesses, may have believed that they would never be able to withstand any more pain and that there was no hope of their situation improving.

Workplace Stress

Certain employment might contribute to emotions of dissatisfaction or strain, which can result in suicide attempts. According to the study, psychologists and psychiatrists, as well as nurses, doctors, dentists, lawyers, farmers, police officers, and inexperienced laborers, had unusually high rates of suicide.

The findings do not imply that workplace stress is a direct cause of suicide attempts. Perhaps in their attempts to commit suicide, unskilled people are reacting to financial stress rather than work-related stress.

Similarly, rather than reacting to the stress of their jobs, suicide-prone psychologists and psychiatrists may be suffering from long-standing emotional disorders that sparked their interest in their professions in the first place.

Mood Changes

Suicide attempts are common after mood swings. It may not be significant enough to justify a mental disease diagnosis, but it is a notable shift from the person’s previous mood. The most typical change is an increase in sorrow.

Increases in anxiety, tension, wrath, and embarrassment are all common side effects. “Psychache,” a feeling of mental suffering that is insurmountable to the individual, maybe the most important factor in the suicide rate.

An examination of the lives of 88 people indicated that those who scored higher on the “Psychological Pain Assessment Scale” were actually more likely to attempt suicide than others.

Changes in thought habits may precede suicide attempts. The person may become consumed by their difficulties, lose sight of the bigger picture, and see suicide as the only way to solve their problems.

They may develop a sense of hopelessness, doubting that their current condition and/or mood will improve. Certain clinicians believe that despair is the most common sign of suicidal intent, and they look for signs of hopelessness while assessing the risk of suicide.

Alcohol and Drugs Use

According to studies, those who drink alcohol before attempting suicide make up to 70% of suicide attempts. According to autopsies, around a quarter of them were legally drunk. It’s possible that drinking alcohol reduces their fear of suicide, assists in the release of hidden anger, and weakens their judgment and problem-solving abilities.

Other medicines have been demonstrated in studies to have a relation to suicide. Kurt Cobain’s bodily fluids, for example, contained a high level of heroin when he committed suicide in 1994.

The Contagion of Suicide

It’s not rare for people, particularly teens, to attempt suicide after seeing or hearing about someone else who has done so.

Maybe these people have been dealing with big troubles and the suicide of the other person provides a solution, or maybe they’ve been considering suicide and the other person’s suicide looks to provide them the required permission or persuade them to do it.

One suicide act, for whatever reason, serves as an example for others. Suicides by family members and friends, celebrities, and other highly-publicized suicides, as well as suicides by colleagues or coworkers, are all common reasons.

Family Members and Friends

Suicide attempts are more likely after recent suicide attempts by friends or family members. However, the loss of a loved one, especially when it is self-inflicted, is a huge life-altering event, and thoughts of suicide or attempts might be linked to that loss or the experience of loss.

In reality, these losses often have a long-term impact on the lives of those who are left behind, including an increased risk of suicide. However, when researchers consider the above factors, they find an elevated risk of suicide among close friends and family of those who have recently committed suicide.


According to research, suicides by celebrities, politicians, and other well-known people are frequently followed by unexpected increases in suicides in the United States. For example, the suicide rate increased by 12% in the week after the death of Marilyn Monroe in 1963.

Other Highly Publicized Cases

Suicides with unusual features frequently receive a lot of media attention. The media’s focus on these topics may lead to more suicides. In the year following the well-known political-motivated suicide by self-burning in England, for example, 82 additional people committed suicide by self-burning, with the same disastrous results.

The bulk of them had emotional problems, according to the investigation results, and none of them had political objectives like the well-publicized suicide. People who emulated suicides seemed to be dealing with their own problems in a way that was triggered by the suicides they’d seen and read about.

Some doctors believe that more ethical reporting can help lessen the terrible negative effects of highly publicized suicides. The media’s coverage of Kurt Cobain’s murder revealed an attentive reporting style.

“Don’t take this!” was the subject of MTV’s coverage on the night of the suicide. Hundreds more teenagers phoned MTV, as well as other television and radio stations, in the days after Cobain’s murder, irritated, worried, scared, and suicidal.

A few stations replied by broadcasting the phone numbers for suicide prevention centers and hosting discussions with suicide specialists who provided therapy and guidance to individuals who called. Perhaps as a result of these efforts, the suicide rate in Seattle, Cobain’s hometown, and other cities stayed stable over the next few weeks.

Colleagues and Coworkers

Suicide attempts may result from the attention generated by word-of-mouth suicides in a college or workplace, or in a small village. A suicide attempt by a new recruit at a United States Navy training school, for example, was followed by another in around two weeks, as well as a suicide attempt within the organization.

To prevent what was threatening to become a suicide epidemic, the school implemented a suicide education program for personnel as well as group therapy sessions for recruits who were close to suicide victims.

Following the suicide of a student, several schools with children of various ages now implement these types of programs. Psychologists often refer to these post-suicide interventions as postvention.

Coping with a Suicidal Crisis

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, it needs to be addressed right away. What exactly do you do? The first and most crucial thing to remember is that you should seek assistance from someone who has dealt with similar issues before. Help is available at all times of the day.

Whether you are the one experiencing suicidal thoughts or are aware that someone you know is suicidal, taking the help of experts can give you a new fruitful life.

If You’re Having Suicidal Thoughts

What can you do if you are the one struggling with suicidal thoughts? These five steps can assist you:

Promise yourself not to do anything right now

If you’re in a depressive state, make a promise to yourself to keep a distance between your suicidal thoughts and any suicidal action. Others’ encouragement will help you stick to your commitment.

Suicidal thoughts are most often associated with mental health issues (such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, or the effects of alcohol or drugs that can be successfully treated, or with issues (such as breaking up, fighting with family or friends, or financial worries) that have solutions. After you’ve addressed these concerns, you should feel a lot better.

Avoid using alcohol or drugs

If you are depressed or have suicidal thoughts, it is critical that you avoid alcohol or recreational drugs. They can impair your judgment and lead you to make snap decisions. Furthermore, they can magnify the intensity of your suicidal thoughts.

Make your environment safe

Make an effort to avoid being alone or thinking about things that make you unhappy. Remove anything that could cause you to harm yourself, or go somewhere you know you’ll be safe.

Remember there is always hope

Stress and emotional trauma can impair our ability to solve problems. Whatever the source of your pain is at the moment, Things will change and improve if you give yourself some time and seek help. They will usually improve. Request assistance.

Even if you’ve tried to talk about your feelings with someone else who didn’t seem to understand, try again. Many people, including those who work on suicide hotlines, are willing to listen to your complaints with kindness and understanding. They are able to comprehend your condition and help many patients like you.

Don’t keep your suicidal feelings to yourself

While discussing suicidal thoughts can be difficult, it is critical to share your thoughts, feelings, and any suicide plans you have developed. You can confide in someone you know and trust (a friend or relative member, clergy member, or therapist for instance.). It can also be beneficial to speak with someone who has experience assisting those who are considering suicide.

Tell the truth about what you’ve been feeling, and thinking. Speaking with someone can help you see things from a different angle. It is very likely that you will develop or discover solutions to certain problems. Sharing your story and thoughts will help you realize that your stress is temporary and that things will improve. Seeking help will be a huge relief for you.

If Someone Else is Emotionally Distressed or Expressing Suicidal Thoughts

What can you do if someone expresses suicidal thoughts to you or appears to be emotionally distressed? You can help save lives by making the person your top priority and asking them to be attentive, listen, and seek assistance. These steps may be useful:

Start a conversation so they can share their feelings

If you’re concerned about someone else, you could start a conversation by saying something like “Are you all right? “I’ve been concerned about how you’ve been acting” or “You don’t seem like yourself these days.” Can we talk about this?” Your goal is to demonstrate that you are concerned and eager to help.

If you are concerned that a friend is considering suicide, it is critical that you bring it up. It is possible to avoid discussing suicide because you are afraid that bringing it up will encourage suicide. This is not the case.

A person who is seriously considering suicide has had suicidal thoughts for some time. The refusal to discuss suicidal thoughts can have a devastating impact because it prevents someone suffering from suicide from considering the situation objectively and gaining access to life-saving assistance.

Be aware that just because someone denies having suicidal thoughts or plans does not mean they are not in danger; however, if you believe your friend needs help with their mental health, don’t be afraid to advocate for it.

If you’re unsure what to do after a conversation, you can call a suicide hotline, explain the situation, and ask for help.

Listen—calmly, empathetically, and without judgment.

It is critical to allow your friend to speak freely and without fear of being judged or labeled a victim. It is critical not to ignore what your friend has shared, and to avoid arguing or making a negative comment such as “It’s not worth putting yourself in danger because of this.”

If you know your friend is thinking about suicide, try not to appear scared or overwhelmed by the conversation.

If the conversation is personal to you, you can offer to help by bringing hope to the table. Listening to and validating the power of emotions can help people move beyond their thoughts.

It is also possible to help your friend understand that, while the inner pain may appear to be endless, the intense emotions she or he is experiencing right now will be fine in the future. The majority of the problems we face in our lives are only temporary. Suicide is an unrecoverable solution to a temporary problem.

Ask for assistance

If you suspect someone is thinking about suicide, your goal should be to assist in getting the person to professional help as soon as possible. Meanwhile, you would stay with the person in a secure location with limited access to possibly deadly objects.

If your friend shared any information about suicide plans, you should be able to share it with everyone involved in the emergency intervention. In this case, seeking assistance is more important than privacy.

Even if you have sworn to keep the information private, your primary concern should be to assist in keeping your friend safe and receiving the necessary support.


It was once a strange and elusive issue, unacknowledged by the general public and rarely investigated by experts. Suicide is currently the focus of public attention. Over the last 40 years, investigators have learned a lot about this life-or-death issue.

Suicide has received more attention in the sociocultural model than in any other model. For example, sociocultural theorists emphasized the importance of stress and societal change, as well as religious and national affiliation, marital status, race, gender, and mass media. Psychological and biological researchers’ knowledge is limited.

Although sociocultural factors gain insight into the general background and triggers of suicide, they rarely allow us to predict whether or not a given person will attempt suicide.

Researchers do not fully understand why some people commit suicide while others in similar situations find better ways to deal with their problems. If clinicians are to truly explain and understand suicide, psychological and biological insights must catch up to sociocultural insights.

Suicide treatment presents a number of difficulties. Clinicians have yet to develop specific, effective treatments for suicidal patients. While suicide prevention programs reflect the clinical profession’s commitment to assisting those suffering from mental illnesses, it is unclear how much these programs actually reduce the overall risk or rate of suicide.

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