If you have serious thoughts of self-harm, or know someone who does, please seek help immediately.

  • You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-SUICIDE
  • Text HOME to 741741
  • Click here to chat online with someone at the Lifeline
  • Call 911
  • Go to your nearest emergency room

If a loved one is considering self-harm, do not leave them alone until they have gotten help from a professional.

What is Suicidality

The American Psychological Association defines suicidality as “the risk of suicide, usually indicated by suicidal ideation or intent, especially as evident in the presence of a well-elaborated suicidal plan.” It can also be defined to include suicidal thoughts, plans, gestures, or attempts.

Understanding Suicidality

According to the National Center of Health Statistics most recent data, suicide ranks as the 2nd leading cause of death among 15-34-year-olds. Overall, the U.S. suicide rate is at the highest it has ever been in the last 50 years.

It is important to understand that those that contemplate suicide don’t really want to die. They want to escape or put an end to the pain that they feel. These intense, constant feelings and thoughts can lead someone to truly see completing suicide as the only viable option. It is the community of caring people and professionals job to help by listening to, loving, and leading suicidal individuals in a way that shows real compassion, hope, and alternatives to their complex problems.

A Touchy Subject

Suicidality is often difficult to discuss. Those that experience suicidal thoughts or have attempted suicide can feel hopeless and lonely. They also often worry about how people might react if it was known what is really going on inside the person’s head. The people connected to an individual who is suicidal frequently do not know what to say or how-to best help. They could feel responsible for keeping the person alive and worry that talking about suicidality will make it worse. Fear, anxiety, and a general uneasiness can be prevalent for both individuals.

The truth is that talking about suicidality and bringing it out of the shadows is best for everyone. Facing the topic of suicidality helps to destigmatize it and make it more approachable for us all. Further, there is no evidence that talking to someone about it will make them more suicidal, and the person dealing with such thoughts will likely feel less lonely.

Listen to these stories from suicide attempt survivors to better understand.

How to Help