When someone has intrusive thoughts about suicide, it is known as suicidal ideation. The thoughts of suicide may be fleeting, or they may become all-consuming, impacting a person’s ability to function in their daily life.
Experiencing suicidal ideation does not mean that a person will act on those thoughts, though the line between thoughts and actions may be crossed at any time.
At East Tennessee Behavioral Health, located in Knoxville, Tennessee, we provide inpatient and outpatient suicidal ideation treatment for adolescents age 13 and older and adults age 18 and older. Our team believes that if someone is experiencing thoughts of suicide, they should seek professional treatment immediately.
If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or believe that you may be a danger to yourself, please call 911 or contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Understanding Suicidal Ideation
Suicidal ideation refers to ongoing thoughts about wanting to take your own life.
The National Library of Medicine notes that there are two types of suicidal ideation — passive and active. Passive suicidal ideation typically means that a person might want to die but does not have a plan or intent. Active suicidal ideation usually means that a person has a suicide plan or intent to take their own life.
Regardless of whether a person is experiencing passive or active suicidal ideation, the thoughts can become overpowering and have the potential to escalate quickly.
When someone talks about suicide, there are many times when others think that they are not being serious or that they are looking for attention. It is important to understand that this is rarely the case. If someone says that they are having thoughts of suicide, it should open the door to a serious conversation about seeking professional treatment.
Suicidal Ideation Statistics
Because suicidal ideation is not something people are always willing to talk about, it can be difficult to gather statistics on the exact number of individuals who are struggling with chronic suicidal thoughts. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, in 2020, approximately 12.2 million Americans reported having suicidal ideation. Of that 12.2 million, an estimated 3.2 million stated that they made a suicide plan, and 1.2 million attempted to take their own life.
The statistics on deaths by suicide are staggering. According to the CDC, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., with an average of one person dying by suicide every 11 minutes.
While experiencing suicidal ideation doesn’t necessarily mean that a person will engage in suicidal behavior, the risk that they might should be taken very seriously.
Signs & Symptoms of Suicidal Ideation
Suicidal ideation is not a clinical behavioral health disorder, but there are signs and symptoms that could show that a person may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. Examples of suicidal ideation signs and symptoms can include the following:
- Difficulty performing at work or school
- Low self-esteem
- Making comments about death or suicide
- Changes in physical appearance
- Impulsive behaviors
- Using drugs or alcohol
- Acting recklessly
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
Additionally, suicidal ideation itself can be a symptom of a number of different mental health disorders. This is another reason why seeking care at a suicidal ideation treatment center like East Tennessee Behavioral Health is extremely important.
Benefits of Getting Suicidal Ideation Treatment
By receiving treatment for suicidal ideation, people have the opportunity to learn different techniques that can help them control their negative thought patterns.
Because suicidal ideation can also be a symptom of mental illness, getting care at a comprehensive treatment place gives patients the chance to work with professionals who can help determine if they are suffering from a behavioral health disorder. If they are, they can then receive treatment to address not only the suicidal thoughts, but also any other symptoms they may be experiencing.
At our inpatient treatment center in Knoxville, Tennessee, we offer different types of services that can help patients begin healing. Depending on a person’s treatment plan, they may participate in or receive the following:
- Medication management services
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Recreational therapy
In addition to inpatient treatment, we also offer outpatient treatment in our partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP). These programs are available for adults age 18 and older and can be beneficial for patients who may not need the round-the-clock care provided in an inpatient treatment setting.
Finding the Right Suicidal Ideation Treatment Center
When you’re looking for a suicidal ideation treatment center, you want to make sure that you have a full understanding of what services a facility offers, what their treatment approach is, and what you can expect during your time in treatment.
There are various questions that can be helpful to ask when choosing a suicidal ideation treatment place, including:
- What levels of care are offered?
- Who will you work with while in treatment?
- What therapies does the staff use when providing treatment?
- Can your family be a part of the treatment process?
- What is included in the admissions process?
- Will you get an individualized treatment plan?
- What happens when your time in treatment comes to an end?
The team at our suicidal ideation treatment center in Knoxville is ready to answer any questions you may have about our programming or the services we offer. We encourage you to call us for more information. A member of our team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at East Tennessee Behavioral Health.