5 Signs That You’re Experiencing Passive Suicidal Ideation

Suicide is a leading cause of death among college students, with approximately 1,000 suicides occurring on campuses each year. About 10% of students consider killing themselves and 1.5% engage in suicidal behavior.

These statistics prove how important it is to address suicidal ideation, even if it’s passive. It can become a slippery slope from passive to active suicidal ideation, increasing the risk of carrying out the action of suicide.

What is passive suicidal ideation?

Let’s start off by talking about what suicidal ideation is. Suicidal ideation refers to the desire or thoughts of killing oneself. It’s an example of suicidality, which is a mental health disorder symptom characterized as suicidal behavior, along with threats or attempts.

There are two types of suicidal ideation: active and passive. Active suicidal ideation includes thinking about plans of how you may end your life or thoughts of how you would prepare for death. Passive suicidal ideation is less severe than active suicidal ideation and does not include thoughts of plans. 

Passive suicidal ideation isn’t unusual, with research showing that it has a lifetime prevalence in up to 10.8% of the general population. It’s often a symptom of mental health disorders, such as depression. 

5 signs of passive suicidal ideation

Signs of passive suicidal ideation include: 

  1. Direct or indirect thoughts about suicide or no longer wanting to live
  2. Making offhand comments about dying or killing yourself
  3. Fantasizing about dying
  4. Putting yourself in harm’s way, such as driving without a seat belt 
  5. Lack of caring for your health (e.g., attending important medical appointments)

Why it’s important to address passive suicidal ideation

Passive suicidal ideation is treatable. When people are thinking about suicide, it is common to feel alone and misunderstood or that there is no hope of things getting better. Research has shown that psychotherapy can help reduce passive and active suicidal ideation. 

If you’re experiencing suicidal ideation, especially passive ideation, you may be using it as a coping mechanism in reponse to distressing situations or it may be a symptom of a mental health disorder, such as depression.

Whether it’s a fleeting thought or you’re consistently having thoughts about dying and suicide, it’s time to talk to a licensed clinical therapist.

Addressing any type of suicidal ideation through psychotherapy will help you:

  • Figure out the root cause of your suicidal thoughts
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms for situations that trigger suicidal ideation
  • Decrease the risk of active suicidal ideation

Call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 for immediate support if you’re experiencing a mental health crisis or are at risk of hurting yourself.

Lightfully U can help you address signs of passive suicidal ideation

If you’re a college student exhibiting signs of either passive or active suicidal ideation, then Lightfully U’s Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program is what you’re looking for. Learn how to develop healthy coping mechanisms and manage depression symptoms. From the comfort of your bedroom or dorm room, you can have one-on-one, family and group sessions to improve your mental health and reduce negative thought patterns.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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