Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life on purpose. Suicidal behaviour is any act that could result in a person dying caused by the behaviour, such as overdosing on drugs. Suicidal thoughts or what is often referred to as suicidal ideation are thoughts or preoccupations about how to kill oneself, which can range from having a detailed plan to a fleeting consideration that doesn’t actually include any particular plan or act of killing oneself.

People who attempt to take their own life are often wanting some relief or to get away from overwhelming feelings or situations that seem impossible to deal with or overcome. There are several facets connected to why someone may consider ending their life, including but not limited to:

  • Severe major depression
  • Aging (the elderly have one of the highest rates of suicide
  • Serious physical illness
  • Death of a loved one
  • Trauma
  • Drug and alcohol use
  • Feeling a sense of hopelessness about the future
  • Feelings of shame
  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Experiencing a lack of meaning and purpose in life

Most suicide attempts do not result in death. Many suicide attempts are done in a way that allows for some intervention. These attempts are often seen as a serious indication that someone is in need of help. Suicide impacts many, including the friends and relatives of the person who has attempted or committed suicide. Friends and family often go through a whirlwind of experiences including shock, anger, self-blame, sadness, and confusion. However, those who attempt suicide often mistakenly think that they are lessening the burden on their friends and family by killing themselves and no longer being in the world. Therapy from a caring and non-judgmental approach can offer support to the person considering suicide find other ways of coping with their overwhelming feelings and experiences.

If you are, or know of someone who is in distress, call the 24/7 distress line 780-482-HELP (4357). If you are suicidal or know of someone who is having thoughts of suicide, go to your nearest emergency room.