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What are Suicidal Tendencies? Meaning, Signs, & How to Cope?

Saying someone has ‘suicidal tendencies’ is incorrect, as it suggests a predisposition to suicide, which is not accurate. Instead, it’s more accurate to say someone is at risk of suicide. Continue reading more to learn about the risk factors, misconceptions about suicide, and how to get help.


Who is at Risk of Suicide?

If someone is at risk of suicide, they might be having thoughts about not wanting to exist or even planning to end their life. Some people call it ”suicidal tendencies.” However, using the term “suicidal tendencies” is inaccurate, as it suggests a predisposition towards suicide, which is not a correct characterization of the complex factors involved in suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Keep reading to understand the risk factors of suicide and find tips on overcoming stress and depression.

If someone is in immediate danger of self-harm or posing a threat to others, act quickly. Call emergency services or a crisis hotline, stay with the person, and encourage them to discuss their feelings. Make safety a priority, let them know support is available, and if uncertain, seek help promptly.

Suicide Crisis Hotlines for Immediate Help

✅ 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 988lifeline.org

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

✅ Learn more about our mental health recovery programs. Begin with a free call to a behavioral health treatment advisor.

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.

Is Suicide Hereditary?

Emerging scientific evidence indicates a possible genetic connection to suicide. A 2012 analysis found that individuals with a specific gene variation, especially those with a psychiatric diagnosis, faced an increased risk of suicidal behavior.

Family studies also imply genetic factors, showing that relatives of those who attempted or died by suicide might be more vulnerable. However, the risk of suicidal thoughts involves a mix of genetics, learned behaviors, and personal situations.

It’s crucial to understand that having a family member who died by suicide doesn’t guarantee the same suicidal tendency to others. Mental health is complex and extends beyond statistical patterns.

The Most Common Suicide Risk Factors

Besides family history, various factors can contribute to suicidal behavior. Depression is a significant factor, but it’s crucial to understand that suicide usually doesn’t have a single cause.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, risk factors may include the following:

Several health conditions can raise the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. These include:

  • Mental health disorders.
  • Chronic pain or illness.
  • Substance abuse.

Environmental Factors

Outside factors that can impact a person’s risk of suicide include:

  • Access to lethal means.
  • Prolonged exposure to suicidal behaviors of others.
  • Lack of access to mental health care.
  • The stigma associated with seeking help.
  • Barriers to accessing support.
  • Isolation or lack of social support.
  • Exposure to traumatic events or violence.

Historical Risk Factors of Suicide

A person’s past experiences may increase their risk of suicide. For example:

  • Previous suicide attempts.
  • Childhood trauma or abuse.
  • Family history of suicide.
  • History of mental health disorders.
  • Chronic exposure to stressful life events.

Protective Factors

Various protective factors can assist individuals in overcoming suicidal thoughts. These include personal and environmental measures that provide support for those at a higher risk of suicidal behavior.

Protective factors against suicide include the following:

  • Strong social support.
  • Effective mental health care.
  • Problem-solving and coping skills.
  • Restricted access to lethal means.
  • Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide.
  • Healthy family and community relationships.
  • Positive connections to individuals, community, and social institutions.
  • Easy access to mental health and medical support.
  • Good interpersonal communication skills.
  • Positive self-esteem and a sense of purpose in life.

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How to Cope with Suicidal Thoughts, Depression, and Stress?

Coping well with life stress and depression is vital for preventing worsening symptoms, including suicidal thoughts. Developing healthy coping habits is critical for managing life’s challenges. Seeking support, practicing self-care like exercise and mindfulness, and having a solid support network can build a foundation for mental well-being.

Setting realistic goals and engaging in fulfilling activities contribute to resilience. Recognizing signs of depression early and using coping strategies not only eases immediate distress but also helps prevent symptoms from escalating, guiding toward recovery and mental stability.

  • Seek Professional Help: Reach out to mental health professionals, therapists, or counselors.
  • Talk to Someone: Share your feelings with friends, family, or a support system.
  • Hotlines and Helplines: Utilize suicide prevention hotlines for immediate support.
  • Medication: Consult a healthcare provider for appropriate medications if needed.
  • Therapy: Engage in individual or group therapy sessions.
Bipolar disorder is a prevalent mood disorder often associated with suicidal tendencies. Understanding how to help a loved one with this condition is essential.
Bipolar disorder is a prevalent mood disorder often associated with suicidal tendencies. Understanding how to help a loved one with this condition is essential.
  • Develop Coping Skills: Learn and practice coping mechanisms for stress and depression.
  • Establish a Routine: Create a structured daily routine to provide stability.
  • Physical Exercise: Incorporate regular exercise for mental and physical well-being.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Focus on a balanced diet, proper sleep, and avoiding substances.
  • Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness to manage thoughts and stress.
  • Set Realistic Goals: Break down tasks into achievable goals to reduce overwhelm.
  • Connect with Others: Build and maintain positive social connections.
  • Educate Yourself: Learn about mental health and strategies for improvement.
  • Express Yourself: Journaling or artistic expression can help release emotions.
  • Limit Stressors: Identify and reduce sources of stress in your life.
  • Volunteer or Help Others: Contributing to others can provide a sense of purpose.
  • Create a Safety Plan: Develop a plan for managing crises and emergencies.
  • Monitor Thoughts: Be aware of negative thought patterns and challenge them.
  • Focus on Positives: Acknowledge and celebrate small achievements.
  • Join Support Groups: Connect with others facing similar challenges for mutual support.

Tailoring these strategies to individual needs and seeking professional guidance when necessary is crucial.

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When to Seek Professional Help?

Seeking mental health support from a doctor is not a sign of weakness, as it’s a crucial first step toward improvement. If someone regularly experiences thoughts of suicide, plans to end their life, feels hopeless or depressed, experiences anxiety, or intentionally self-harms, it’s essential to consult a doctor.

In addition to offering emotional support, a mental health professional can prescribe medication and may recommend therapy.

Trained mental health professionals possess the expertise to assess individual needs, provide tailored interventions, and closely monitor progress. Their guidance can help navigate the complexities of mental health challenges, offering support and evidence-based treatments that contribute to a comprehensive and secure recovery. Establishing a therapeutic relationship with a mental health professional can significantly enhance the journey toward mental well-being and suicide prevention.

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Why Do Antidepressants Cause Suicidal Thoughts in Some People?

Most antidepressants are safe, but they come with strict warnings called black box warnings from the FDA. In some cases, people under 25 may experience an increase in suicidal thoughts, especially when starting or changing the dose. However, overall, antidepressants are more likely to reduce the risk of suicide in the long run by improving mood.

The exact reasons for this effect of antidepressants are not fully understood. Still, it may be related to the changes in mood and energy levels that can occur as the antidepressant begins to take effect. It’s essential for individuals taking antidepressants to be closely monitored, especially during the early stages of treatment, and to communicate any changes in thoughts or behaviors to their healthcare provider.

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Inpatient Mental Health Treatment for Suicidal Tendencies

Inpatient mental health treatment for cases of suicidal tendencies provides intensive care and supervision in a controlled environment. This level of care is essential when individuals are at immediate risk of self-harm or suicide.

Inpatient facilities offer structured therapeutic interventions, including counseling, medication management, and support groups. The focus is on stabilizing individuals in crisis, ensuring their safety, and providing a therapeutic space for addressing the underlying factors contributing to suicidal tendencies.

With round-the-clock monitoring and a multidisciplinary approach, inpatient treatment aims to create a supportive and therapeutic environment conducive to recovery.

Take that first step toward healing—reach out to We Level Up inpatient mental health treatment center in Florida for a free and confidential call.

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