Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicidal Ideation involves thinking about, considering, or planning suicide, or of being dead. Suicidal Intent involves having a plan for how to kill oneself and intending to carry out that plan. The psychology of the suicide is rooted in depression and a person who commits suicide may see his or her actions as a solution to a severe physical or psychological dilemma.
A person might have persistent thoughts of suicide and yet never attempt suicide and a person may attempt suicide after only briefly experiencing suicidal ideation. Personality and individual differences, social aspects, negative life events and cognitive factors and are key contributors to suicidal behaviour. Most people struggling with suicidal thoughts and behaviours do not receive treatment. People are most driven to suicide when they view their current situation as being completely hopeless and feel as if they have no way to change things for the better.
A cry for help
Because we cannot see what a person is feeling on the inside, it isn’t always easy to identify when someone is having suicidal thoughts. However, there may be some outward warning signs that a person may be contemplating suicide. It is important to note that most suicides occur with no warning.
Avoiding social interactions with others
An extremely depressed person may suddenly become very calm and happy
Comments such as I want to die, I wish I was dead and I wish I was never born
Eating too little or eating too much, resulting in significant weight gain or weight loss
Engaging in reckless behaviours, including excessive alcohol or drug consumption
Engaging in risky activities with a lack of concern about the consequences
Expressing rage or intentions to seek revenge
Making a will or giving away personal possessions
Notes expressing how much they will miss their family and friends
Preoccupation with death
Researching methods of suicide
Searching for a means of doing personal harm, such as buying a gun
Showing signs of anxiousness or agitation
Sleeping too much or too little
Talking about being a burden to others
Talking about feeling hopeless
Talking about having no reason to go on living
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
Talking and acting in a way that suggests their life has no sense of purpose
The psychotherapy model considers hopelessness to be the strongest contributing factor to suicidal ideation and a large part of crisis intervention and post crisis counselling aims to restore hope. Another aim of the therapist is to help the client to feel connected and valued and to assist them in developing the skills to regulate and tolerate their emotions. The therapist will form an alliance with the client and together they will work on the client fully understanding their own condition.