Passive suicidal ideation includes thoughts of death and the desire to die, but it does not come with plans to act upon these thoughts. While this may sound safer than active suicidal ideation, where there is a plan of action in place, it is just as dangerous of a thought pattern. For this reason, passive suicide ideation should be taken seriously and be addressed immediately. Keep reading to learn how to recognize passive suicidal ideation and what can be done to stop suicidal thoughts.

*NOTE: If you or someone you know is experiencing active suicidal behaviors, call 911 immediately. 

Mental illness and suicide are difficult topics to talk about. However, given that mental illness is common, and suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, it is important that the conversation is left open for discussion. Suicidal ideation, or thoughts of suicide, can present in either passive or active forms with the difference revolving around intent.

Suicide in Florida

Passive Suicidal Ideation

Suicide ranks 10th for causes of death in the United States. But in Florida, suicide rates are even more concerning. While suicide can affect anyone, the Florida Department of Health reports that in 2019, it was the second leading cause of death for those aged 10-34. For those aged 34-54, it was the fourth leading cause of death, and for 45-54, it was the fifth-highest cause of death. Further, according to Mental Health America, Florida ranked in the top three states for suicidal ideation in 2020, indicating a need for mental health resources.

Because it has been found that passive suicide ideation is an important precursor to active suicide ideation and suicide itself, any observable focus on death should be cause for concern.

The Difference Between Passive vs Active Suicidal Ideation

Passive suicidal ideation includes an inactive death wish. Examples of passive suicidal thoughts include a wish to die of illness or by accident. These wishes could be stated outright during conversation or thought to oneself.

Alternatively, active suicidal ideation involves a plan to carry out death or self-harm. People with active suicide ideation have probably researched ways to die and have chosen a plan. While passive suicidal ideation is less developed, it is a red flag. This is because intent between passive and active ideation can shift unpredictably and quickly.

Causes of Suicidal Ideation

Causes of Suicidal Ideation

Life can present phases of immense overwhelm. The coronavirus pandemic is an example of a situation that caused tremendous personal strain on local and global levels. Other examples of stressful events include the death of a loved one and financial troubles. Sometimes, these events lead to feelings of despair that are intense enough to trigger suicidal ideation.

In other cases, wIshing to die can be a symptom of mental illnesses that cause a chemical imbalance in the brain. Examples of mental health disorders that often include suicidal thoughts include:

Not surprisingly, substance abuse or addiction can be a major accelerant to depression and thoughts of death. This is due to the roller coaster of emotional and chemical fluctuations that come with drug and alcohol use. If you or someone you know is dealing with ideas surrounding death, it’s important to reduce or quit any drug or alcohol use.

It’s also important to take a look at any medications being taken, especially when new medication and sudden suicidal thoughts coincide. Unfortunately, depression and suicidal ideation are potential side effects of numerous prescription and non-prescription drugs.

Signs of Suicidal Thoughts

Indeed, if you are experiencing active or passive suicidal ideation you are likely aware of these thoughts. However, detecting them in others is a bit more difficult. In general, any sudden change in behavior is a cause of concern. This includes things like:

  • Talking about feelings of hopelessness
  • Isolating or withdrawing from activities
  • Increase in substance use
  • Online searches of methods of self-harm
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbyes

If someone is expressing passive suicidal thoughts, it is essential to keep the discussion on the table and to seek professional help.  

It’s OK to Talk About Suicide

Suicide is a difficult subject to discuss. However, if people can discuss feelings surrounding death and depression without fear of judgment, then it will be easier to discuss what kind of treatment for suicidal ideation is available. One of the most important messages to convey regarding thoughts of death is that it’s ok to ask for help. If you’re experiencing passive suicidal ideation, many treatment methods can alleviate your symptoms.

Passive Suicidal Ideation Treatment

Passive Suicidal Ideation Treatment

With the right resources, suicide is preventable. The treatment for passive thoughts of death depends on the underlying cause. However, in most cases therapy, a change in medication, or a combination of the two, can greatly reduce or eliminate suicidal ideation. A trained mental health professional can work with you to show you how to stop having suicidal thoughts and to establish coping mechanisms for times that you do. In general, therapy sessions can suit your schedule and include both outpatient and inpatient options.

However, inpatient or emergency treatment is warranted if the condition moves from passive to active suicidal ideation. At The Blackberry Center in Central Florida, we not only offer inpatient and outpatient mental health services but also crisis stabilization. In this way, we can help those in acute crisis who require immediate assistance in a safe and supportive environment.

Mental Health Help and Addiction Treatment Near Orlando, Florida

To overcome suicidal urges, it is vital to build a support network of both family or friends and mental health professionals. At The Blackberry Center in St. Cloud, Florida, we are an accredited Florida mental health facility that is versed in treating both addiction and mental health conditions. To learn more about our treatment options, contact our admissions specialists at 888-512-9802 or use our confidential online form. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide we can get you admitted on the same day you call, and we accept walk-ins.

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