Passive Suicidal Ideation Warning Signs and What You Can Do

About 47,500 people die by suicide each year in the U.S., making it a significant cause of death, especially for those under 35. Young adults aged 18-25 are particularly affected as well, with over 10% reporting suicidal thoughts. Contrary to what many think, suicide usually doesn’t happen right after the first thought. There’s often a long period of passive suicidal thoughts before any action is considered. Continue reading more to learn the warning signs, how to prevent it, and what you can do.

What is Passive Suicidal Ideation?

Passive suicidal thoughts are a general desire to die without any specific plans. If these thoughts become more apparent with plans or actions, they transition into active suicidal thoughts. The critical difference is the presence of concrete plans or steps toward self-harm.

In the U.S., suicide is a significant cause of death, especially among adults under 35 and children aged 10 to 14. In 2020, there were 45,979 suicides in the United States, almost twice the number of reported homicides. Globally, over 700,000 people die by suicide each year, according to the World Health Organization. However, these numbers don’t capture the whole picture, as they exclude a crucial group—those dealing with passive suicidal thoughts who need help and support.

We Level Up Florida Mental Health Treatment Center understands the challenges of mental health disorders and suicide. We offer personalized mental health treatment programs to help you overcome depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and more. Our experienced mental health professionals provide comprehensive care in a safe and supportive setting. Call today for a hassle-free evaluation process.

What are Passive Suicidal Thoughts?

You might not be familiar with this term, but experts call it passive suicidal ideation. It means thinking about or wishing to die without taking active steps to make it happen. While it’s not as severe as being actively suicidal, if ignored, it could still lead to a tragic outcome.

Passive suicide ideation can manifest in various ways. Here are the most common passive suicidal ideation examples:

  • “I wish my car would get hit.”
  • “I’m struggling so much. I don’t want to continue.”
  • “I hope I don’t wake up tomorrow.”
  • “I sometimes wish I was never born.”
  • “They’d be better off without me.”

Simply imagining your death, even without saying it out loud, can be a form of passive suicidal ideation. The main distinction from active suicidal thoughts is the lack of a desire to act on those thoughts or make plans to make them a reality.

Suicide Prevention Hotlines

✅ If you’re facing mental health distress or concerned about a loved one needing crisis support, urgently reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.  Call or text 988. You can also chat at

✅ If you’ve tried to harm yourself and you’re injured, dial 911 or your local emergency number. Ask someone else to call for you if you’re not alone.

✅ Contact We Level Up Florida for free, no-obligation guidance from specialists who understand mental health recovery. Get in touch 24/7 at (954) 420-6627.

Passive vs Active Suicidal Ideation

Passive suicidal ideation, or frequent thoughts about death without a plan to harm oneself, is different from active suicidal ideation, which involves detailed plans.

While passive thoughts may not always lead to suicide, they should not be ignored. It can be a coping mechanism for some dealing with life challenges or a sign of a mental health disorder.

Seeking help is crucial for both passive and active suicidal thoughts, as the risk, though less immediate with passive ideation, is still present.

Causes of Passive Suicidal Ideation

Researchers don’t have a clear answer on what causes passive or active suicidal thoughts, and the impact varies from person to person. However, experts have identified risk factors that can increase the likelihood of experiencing suicidal thoughts, including but not limited to:

  • Mental Health Conditions: Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mood disorders are conditions that can contribute to suicidal ideation. These mental health challenges may increase the likelihood of experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • Trauma: Past traumatic experiences, abuse, or significant life events can contribute to passive suicidal thoughts.
  • Chronic Pain or Illness: Persistent physical health issues can impact mental health and contribute to thoughts of wanting to escape.
  • Grief and Loss: The death of a loved one or other forms of loss can trigger feelings of hopelessness and despair.
  • Isolation and Loneliness: Lack of social support or feelings of isolation can exacerbate passive suicidal ideation.
  • Substance Abuse: Alcohol or drug misuse may intensify mental health struggles and contribute to suicidal thoughts.
  • Genetic Factors: A family history of mental health issues or suicide may increase susceptibility.
  • Neurochemical Imbalances: Imbalances in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) may contribute to mood disorders and suicidal ideation.
  • Stressful Life Events: Major life changes, financial difficulties, or relationship problems can be significant stressors.
  • Existential Despair: Questioning the meaning and purpose of life can lead to feelings of hopelessness.

Individual experiences are unique, and the interplay of these factors varies from person to person. Seeking professional help and support is crucial for understanding and addressing passive suicidal ideation.

If you or someone you know is dealing with passive suicidal thoughts, help is available at We Level Up Florida. Our team of mental health treatment experts offers a personalized care plan that addresses your unique needs, focusing on the mind, body, and community. The compassionate team of licensed professionals will guide you through a healing process, fostering lasting positive changes in your life.

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Your role in suicide prevention is crucial, and if you're concerned about someone expressing passive suicidal ideations, it's essential to be mindful of what you say to offer support and comfort.
Your role in suicide prevention is crucial, and if you’re concerned about someone expressing passive suicidal ideations, it’s essential to be mindful of what you say to offer support and comfort.

Recognizing Suicidal Ideation in Others

Recognizing signs of passive suicidal ideation in friends or loved ones can be challenging, but we must provide support and help. Look out for these warning signs:

  • Expressing Hopelessness: Frequent statements conveying a sense of despair or hopelessness.
  • Sudden Improvement: Shifting from deep sadness to a calm or peaceful demeanor may indicate a resolution.
  • Withdrawal: Social isolation, avoiding friends, and disengaging from usual activities.
  • Changes in Sleep Patterns: Significant disruptions in sleeping habits, either excessive sleep or insomnia.
  • Loss of Interest: Decreased interest in previously enjoyable activities or hobbies.
  • Extreme Fatigue: Persistent lack of energy or motivation.
  • Changes in Appetite: Noticeable changes in eating habits, either overeating or loss of appetite.
  • Neglecting Personal Hygiene: Disregarding personal grooming and self-care.
  • Giving Away Possessions: Unusual behavior of giving away belongings or making final arrangements.
  • Expressions of Guilt or Shame: Frequent feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness.
  • Sudden Mood Swings: Unexplained and drastic shifts in mood.
  • Frequent Crying Spells: Episodes of uncontrollable crying without apparent cause.
  • Talking About Death: Frequent discussions or preoccupation with death, dying, or the afterlife.
  • Expressing Unbearable Pain: Verbalizing a sense of overwhelming emotional or physical pain.

It’s essential to approach these signs empathetically and encourage individuals experiencing them to seek professional help and support. If you or someone you know is in crisis, please reach out to a mental health professional or a helpline immediately.

If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, personality or mood disorders, and suicidal thoughts, prioritizing self-care is critical. Do you have questions about mental health treatment in general? Call We Level Up Florida helpline 24/7.

How to Help a Loved One Experiencing Suicidal Ideations?

Talking about suicidal thoughts can be challenging for both the person experiencing them and their loved ones. Starting the conversation is challenging because no one wants to feel responsible for making things worse. However, these talks are crucial for helping your loved one get support. When speaking to someone with suicidal thoughts, prioritize empathy and understanding over assigning blame. Let them know you’re there to help them access their required assistance.

With proper treatment, people can overcome suicidal thoughts and address the root causes behind them.

If you suspect a loved one is at risk of suicide, seek emergency help and stay with them. Have an open conversation about your concerns and encourage professional care. While you can’t force them to seek help, offer support in finding a qualified doctor or mental health provider. Utilize resources on suicide prevention and take care of yourself by seeking support from family, friends, and professionals.

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What To Do When You Have Passive Suicidal Thoughts?

Therapy, particularly dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is a highly effective option for managing and coping with suicidal ideation. DBT has demonstrated success in reducing suicide attempts and self-harm. Medication can also aid in symptom management, but it’s crucial to remember that treating symptoms doesn’t always resolve suicidal thoughts and may even provide the energy to carry out self-harm. In some cases, hospitalization or inpatient care may be necessary, especially for those in crisis or at risk, and it can be beneficial for others facing challenges with mental health. Careful monitoring is crucial, especially for those with passive suicidal ideation.

Coping Tips to Deal With Passive Suicidal Thoughts

Professional help is crucial for addressing suicidal thoughts and preventing suicide, but some things may help reduce the risk:

  • Reach Out for Support: Share your feelings with friends, family, or a mental health professional.
  • Establish Routine: Create a daily schedule to add structure and stability to your life.
  • Engage in Hobbies: Pursue activities you enjoy to divert your focus and provide a sense of purpose.
  • Physical Activity: Incorporate regular exercise into your routine for its mood-boosting effects.
  • Mindfulness and Relaxation: Practice meditation or deep breathing techniques to manage stress.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Break down tasks into achievable steps to build a sense of accomplishment.
  • Limit Isolation: Stay connected with others virtually or personally to combat loneliness.
  • Seek Professional Help: Consult a mental health professional for guidance and support.
  • Medication Management: If prescribed, take medications as directed and communicate any concerns with your healthcare provider.
  • Safety Plan: Develop a safety plan outlining steps to take during moments of crisis, including emergency contacts.

Passive Suicidal Ideation vs Active Comparison Chart

Passive suicidal thoughts mean thinking about death without specific plans, while active thoughts involve detailed plans and a clear intent to self-harm. The crucial difference is in the level of planning and intention. Active suicidal thoughts pose an immediate risk, needing urgent help, while passive thoughts, though severe, may not have specific plans for self-harm. People with passive suicidal thoughts can find recovery from evidence-based therapies and a solid support system.

AspectPassive Suicidal IdeationActive Suicidal Ideation
DefinitionDesire to die without specific plans or intent to harm oneselfDesire to die with detailed plans and intent to carry them out
ThoughtsFrequent thoughts about death and suicide without specific plansDetailed thoughts with plans, means, and intent to take action
Risk LevelLower immediate risk, but still seriousHigher immediate risk, as plans are more defined
ExpressionThoughts may be more vague and non-specificThoughts include specific plans and methods
Response UrgencyStill requires urgent attention and supportHigher immediate danger, as plans are more defined
CommunicationIndividuals may not express their thoughts openlyMay openly discuss plans and intentions with others
Help-SeekingCritical to seek professional help and supportImmediate intervention is necessary, involving professionals
InterventionIt may involve therapy, counseling, and support groupsImmediate hospitalization or intensive intervention may be needed
Potential OutcomeLower immediate risk, but it is still seriousWillingness to die with detailed plans and intent to carry them out
Both passive and active suicidal ideation require attention, support, and professional intervention. If you or someone you know is experiencing these thoughts, seek help immediately.

Passive Suicidal Ideation ADHD

For those with ADHD, passive suicidal thoughts may arise as recurring thoughts about death without specific plans. Challenges like impulsivity and difficulty in focus can contribute to these thoughts. While ADHD isn’t a direct cause, the struggles in managing emotions may make individuals more vulnerable. Seeking professional help, including therapy and support tailored to ADHD, is crucial for addressing these thoughts and enhancing overall mental health.

Other common mental health problems that can cause passive suicidal thoughts are:

  • Depression: Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Intense and excessive worry, fear, or nervousness.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Intrusive memories and emotional distress following a traumatic event.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Periods of intense mood swings between mania and depression.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): Unstable self-image, relationships, and extreme emotional experiences.
  • Substance Use Disorders: Misuse of alcohol or drugs can impact mental well-being.
  • Schizophrenia: Distorted thinking, hallucinations, and impaired reality perception.
  • Chronic Pain or Illness: Persistent physical health issues affecting mental health.
  • Eating Disorders: Distorted body image and unhealthy eating patterns.
  • Chronic Stress: Prolonged exposure to stressors without effective coping mechanisms.

These mental health problems can vary in severity, and seeking professional help is crucial for proper assessment and support.

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We Level Up Florida Mental Health Treatment for Passive Suicidal Ideations

Take any thoughts of death or suicide seriously, even passive ones. If you’re thinking about harming yourself, seek help immediately and schedule an appointment with a mental health therapist.

The most effective way to address passive suicidal ideation is through proactive intervention to prevent it from worsening. Inpatient mental health programs offer focused attention on restoring mental health. Treatment varies for each person but commonly includes psychotherapy, such as dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, to develop healthy coping skills. Medications like antidepressants may also be helpful.

Mental health experts can also create a healthy routine for you, with personalized plans involving better eating habits, regular exercise, and improved sleep while engaging in hobbies by providing new activities and goals.

We Level Up Florida mental health treatment center specializes in addressing conditions such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and more. Our focus is on providing comprehensive support to help individuals overcome passive suicidal ideations. Our dedicated professionals offer tailored treatment plans in an inpatient setting, incorporating therapies like group and cognitive-behavioral therapy and potential medication assistance. The benefits of inpatient treatment include:

  • A structured environment.
  • Continuous therapeutic support.
  • Focused attention on mental health healing.
  • The opportunity to develop effective coping strategies for long-term well-being.

Suppose mental health problems, stress or anxiety, and passive suicidal ideations are affecting you or someone you know. In that case, We Level Up Florida Mental Health Treatment Center offers personalized care with experienced professionals. Start your path to more satisfactory health by taking the first step toward healing. Contact We Level Up FL now and reclaim your life. Each call is free and confidential.

Underlying mental health issues frequently contribute to passive suicidal ideations. Seeking help is crucial. Contact We Level Up Florida for professional assistance and support on your journey to better mental health.
Underlying mental health issues frequently contribute to passive suicidal ideations. Seeking help is crucial. Contact We Level Up Florida for professional assistance and support on your journey to better mental health.

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Search We Level Up FL Passive Suicidal Ideation, Mental Health Topics, & Resources
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  2. Treatment for Suicidal Ideation, Self-Harm, and Suicide Attempts Among Youth – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  3. O’Rourke MC, Jamil RT, Siddiqui W. Suicide Screening and Prevention. [Updated 2023 Mar 6]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  4. Mann JJ, Michel CA, Auerbach RP. Improving Suicide Prevention Through Evidence-Based Strategies: A Systematic Review. Am J Psychiatry. 2021 Jul;178(7):611-624. Doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.20060864. Epub 2021 Feb 18. PMID: 33596680; PMCID: PMC9092896.
  5. Soreff SM, Basit H, Attia FN. Suicide Risk. [Updated 2023 May 29]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  6. Harmer B, Lee S, Duong TvH, et al. Suicidal Ideation. [Updated 2023 Dec 4]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from:
  7. Suicide Prevention – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Lifelines Suicide Prevention Program/ Hotline for Suicide Prevention
  8. Suicide Prevention – National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  9. Facts About Suicide – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  10. 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)