What is Suicidal Ideation?

Suicide continues to be a growing presence in our society. People who want to end their lives typically do so because they don’t feel they have any other choice. They feel desperation, an overwhelming, constant emotional pain, and a belief that their life has no worth. People die by suicide because of a variety of reasons. Severe depression, psychosis (e.g., delusion or hallucination prompts self-destructive tendencies), substance abuse, and terminal illness are some of the common reasons why people may wish to end their lives.

There are many causes for suicidal ideation, including our genes and biological make-up, environmental factors, childhood developmental issues, and trauma. Suicide claims more lives than homicide and war every year.

Warning Signs

There are several signs that a person may be considering or planning suicide, including:

  • Self-hatred
  • Hopelessness
  • Pushing loved ones away
  • Social and personal isolation
  • Not feeling as though they belong
  • Feeling like a burden to others
  • Past attempts to end their life
  • Any talk of suicidal ideation, plans, or intent
  • Sudden change in mood for the better
  • Risk-taking behaviour
  • Lack of emotional regulation (e.g., sudden outbursts of anger)

If you know someone who may be at risk for suicide, call 911 or your local emergency response centre immediately.


If you, or someone you know, is experiencing suicidal ideation or has a plan to end their lives, it’s important to get immediate emergency assistance.

Treatment for suicidal ideation often involves treating the underlying issues, such as mental illness, through psychotherapy. An Encompas Care Manager can find you or your loved ones a mental health professional who has expertise in treating the associated causes of suicide, such as depression. Your therapist can help you identify the causes of your suicidal ideation, and give you tools for managing the overwhelming challenges you’re facing. They can also work with families to help support a loved one struggling with suicidal ideation.


Lickerman, A. (2010). The six reasons people attempt suicide. Psychology Today.
Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201004/the-six-reasons-people-attempt-suicide

Canadian Mental Health Association. (2020). Suicide.