Suicidality & Self-harm

Suicidality

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.

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.”

 

Self-harm

Intentional self-injurious behavior, or self-harm, refers to a range of behaviors in which a person directly and deliberately causes harm to him or herself. The most common methods include superficial cutting, burning, scratching, or picking one’s skin, or banging one’s head. Although it is a common misunderstanding that self-injury is a form of suicidal behavior, in most cases it is not. The majority of people who intentionally self-injure reporting using the behavior to cope with very painful emotions, and report feeling relief from acute distress and/or emotional numbness. Individuals of all ages and genders may engage in self-injury.