top of page

What Is Suicidal Ideation and How Can Therapy Help?

Suicidal ideation is a serious mental health concern that demands attention and support. While suicidal behavior disorder is identified in those who have attempted suicide within the last 24 months, it's essential to acknowledge that not all individuals with suicidal thoughts meet this criterion.

Various factors contribute to the emergence of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, including depression, anxiety disorders, trauma, substance abuse, and impulse control issues. Additionally, specific mental health diagnoses, such as anorexia nervosa, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can heighten susceptibility to suicidal ideation.

Recognizing warning signs is pivotal in identifying individuals at risk of suicidal behavior. The mnemonic "Is Path Warm" provides a helpful framework:

  • I - Ideation: Frequent thoughts of death or suicide.

  • S - Substance Abuse: Increased use or misuse of drugs or alcohol.

  • P - Purposelessness: Feeling a lack of purpose or meaning in life.

  • A - Anxiety: Experiencing excessive worry, agitation, or restlessness.

  • T - Trapped: Feeling like there's no way out of current circumstances.

  • H - Hopelessness: Feeling hopeless about the future.

  • W - Withdrawal: Withdrawing from friends, family, or activities.

  • A - Anger: Expressing rage or seeking revenge.

  • R - Recklessness: Engaging in risky activities without considering consequences.

  • M - Mood Changes: Sudden changes in mood, such as extreme highs or lows.

It's vital for individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts to seek professional help and support. As a licensed mental health counselor, I provide a safe and confidential space for individuals to explore their thoughts and feelings, develop coping strategies, and work towards healing and recovery.

While experiencing suicidal thoughts isn't uncommon, assessing their immediacy and impulsivity is crucial in determining risk levels. Factors like intensity, frequency, duration, specific plans, access to means, and social support all play roles in gauging risk.

For those with impulsive suicidal thoughts, immediate intervention is imperative. This may involve removing access to means, connecting individuals with mental health professionals or crisis hotlines, and addressing underlying issues contributing to distress.

Therapy is a collaborative effort involving not just the individual but also parents, family members, teachers, and the broader community. By fostering open communication and involving these stakeholders, we create a supportive network empowering individuals to navigate challenges and work towards healing.

In therapy, I utilize a strengths-based approach, focusing on clients' unique gifts and strengths to develop tailored coping strategies. By enhancing self-efficacy and resilience, we empower individuals to overcome challenges and lead fulfilling lives.

In extreme emergencies, time is of the essence. If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 or go to the nearest emergency room for immediate assistance.

For those ready to embark on a journey towards feeling better, contact me at or call 561-903-TALK (8255) to schedule an appointment. Take the first step towards healing and recovery – your well-being matters, and I'm here to support you every step of the way.

Learn more by reading Veronica's articles:

bottom of page