There is no question that suicidal thoughts and behaviors of any kind are serious, and impact both individuals and those closest to them. Suicidal ideation ranges from passive thoughts or statements such as, “I should have never been born,” or “I wish I weren’t alive,” to more active thoughts of killing oneself; the most active and imminently dangerous form involves a plan, access to means by which to carry out the plan, and the intention to carry out the plan. However, all types of suicidal thoughts and actions, including passive statements or thoughts, require immediate assessment by a professional. If there is any question as to a person’s immediate safety, call emergency responders or a suicide hotline, such as: (800)-273-TALK.
Suicidality may present differently and for different reasons among individuals; people with acute depression may be at risk briefly during a single mood episode, or, people may experience chronic suicidality and/or have made multiple attempts. Evidence-based treatment of suicidal behavior begins with an immediate risk assessment, and then a comprehensive clinical assessment. The gold standard of treatment for suicidal behavior in adolescents and adults is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Other modalities with supporting data include individual psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT).
For all individuals, treatment of suicidal ideation or behavior involves not only resolving the suicidality, but also helping the person to build and maintain a “life worth living.”