Having thoughts about, or an unusual preoccupation with, suicide is defined as suicidal ideation. Suicidal ideation can vary from fleeting thoughts of suicide to detailed planning and unsuccessful attempts. Suicidal ideation often goes hand in hand with depression, although a person may also begin to have thoughts of suicide when they have trouble managing an overwhelming situation, like the loss of a loved one or a job, a break-up, feelings of remorse or rejection, or sexual abuse.
While many people who experience suicidal ideation never make a suicide attempt, enough do that it is considered a dangerous condition. Treatment with a mental health professional is one of the best ways to prevent suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, get help right away (call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 800-273-8255).