On Suicide: Depression Causes & What to Do If You’re Feeling Suicidal

Credit: Thrive Nigeria

They have been an exponential increase in the rate of suicide and suicidal behavior all over the world. So in this article, We will be discussing extensively why people exhibit suicidal behavior and how to avoid suicidal thoughts.

Before then, we need to know what suicide and suicidal behavior are all about.

What is Suicide and suicidal behavior explained?

Suicide is defined as the act of intentionally taking one’s own life. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, causing about 43,000 American deaths each year; this is according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Research of the World Health Organization published by Spectator Index ranked suicide per 100,000 per country.

Although there is no single reason why someone would want to take his or her own life, suicidal thoughts are quite common and many people experience it.

There some risk factors which predisposes people to suicidal thoughts. Someone may likely attempt suicide if they have mental health disorder, stress, depression.

It is reported that about 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a mental health disorder.

The top risk factor for suicide is depression, although they are other mental health disorders that can contribute to suicide including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Other common causes of suicide include sexual abuse, drug abuse, emotional breakdown as well as financial problems. Also, men and people above 45 years of age are at a higher risk for suicide.

Quick facts about suicidal thoughts

• Most individuals who have suicidal thoughts do not carry them through to the later.

• The most common causes of suicidal thought are depression, anxiety, substance, and sexual abuse.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Suicidal Behavior

A person who is experiencing suicidal thoughts might show the following signs and should be watched closely.

• feeling hopeless and trapped

• feeling lonely and isolated

• Having mood swings

• Talking about revenge, guilt or shame

• Feeling anxious or agitated

• Talk about being a burden to others

• Feeling as if there is no reason to live again

• Abusing alcohols or drugs

• Thinking of suicide as a solution

• Avoiding social interactions

Causes for Increased Suicide Risk

Suicidal thoughts often occur when a person feels they are no longer able to cope with an overwhelming situation.

Different situations could lead to suicidal ideation. But the most common situations that might cause suicidal thoughts are sexual abuse, grief, financial problems, rejection, remorse, unemployment, and a relationship breakup.

There are many factors that increase the risk of suicide. These factors are grouped into three major categories viz-a-viz biopsychosocial, environmental, and sociocultural.


Biopsychosocial causes are implicated in most suicides and attempted suicides cases recorded. These causes include mental health disorder such as;

• schizophrenia

• depression

• bipolar disorder

• personality disorders

• anxiety disorders

• substance abuse

• a family history of suicide

• childhood abuse or trauma

• previous history of suicide

• having a chronic disease

Environmental Issues

Most environmental factors that cause an increased risk for suicide often occur due to a stressful life event. This may include

• Loss of a person or job

• Social loss such has breakup in a relationship

• Exposure to suicide

• Being a victim of physical abuse, bullying, and harassment

Sociocultural Issues

Sociocultural causes of suicide are also on the increase.

The feeling of being neglected or not being accepted by others. Feelings of isolation can be caused by gender identity, religious belief, and sexual orientation. Other include;

• Difficulty seeking help or support or help

• Lack of access to substance abuse treatment or mental health

• Exposure to a suicidal behavior

• Exposure to a belief system that encourages suicide as a solution

How to prevent suicide? What to do if you’re feeling suicidal

To help prevent suicidal thoughts, one should do the following;

• Talk to someone – You can start by seeking professional help and support from loved ones. This makes it easier for you to overcome any challenges that are causing suicidal thoughts or behavior.

• Take medications as directed by your physician – Never try to change your dosage or stop taking your medications unless directed by your health care provider.  If you are experiencing negative side effects of your current medications, speak with your physician.

• Beware of warning signs – Watch out for possible triggers for suicidal feelings. This will help you recognize the signs of danger early an decide what steps to take on time.

• Eliminate access suicidal materials – Get rid of suicidal materials like firearms, knives, or dangerous medications if you worry that you might act on suicidal thoughts.

How to Treat people who are at risk for suicide

Treatment for risk of suicide will depend on the underlying cause of your suicidal thoughts and behavior. Most at times, treatment consists of talk therapy and medications.

Talk Therapy

Talk therapy also known as psychotherapy could be one of the possible treatment methods for lowering the risk of suicide.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that is often used for people who are having thoughts of suicide.

The CBT actually teaches you how to work through stressful life events and emotions that may contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior.

The treatment also helps you replace negative beliefs and thoughts with positive ones and regain a sense of

satisfaction and control in your life.


Medications could also be prescribed to ease symptoms caused by certain physical and mental health conditions. Taking care of the underlying cause of symptoms can help reduce the frequency of suicidal thoughts.

Lifestyle Modifications

In addition to CBT and medications, you can also reduce your risk for suicide by making certain changes to your lifestyle. These include;

• Avoiding alcohol and drugs – Avoiding alcohol and some illicit drugs is critical, as these substances can increase the frequency of suicidal thoughts.

• Regular Exercise – Exercising regularly at least three times per week could also be of help. Physical activity stimulates the production of certain brain chemicals that make you feel happier and relaxed.

• Quality Sleep – Have a good rest could also go a long way is taking care of suicidal thought. It is important to get at least 6-8 hours of quality sleep each night. If you have any sleep disorder, talk to your doctor.

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