Is it normal to have thoughts of suicide?

Thoughts of suicide happen... too many - all across the lifespan. They are a sign of unbearable pain: emotional and psychological. Often, they can creep into minds of those who feel they just don't belong, or that they are a burden. The reality of people close to them who love and value them is lost. Death by suicide comes to be seen as a solution - not a problem. In that context, thoughts of suicide are not normal. But these thoughts may be shared with others - very often with someone already close: a friend, family member, a trusted teacher, or care provider. When they are shared, we must be ready to: listen and accept; offer hope and support; provide guidance to find the kind of help that's really needed (good - professional - help).

Start here (and don't stop!):

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

The QPR Institute:


Ms. Marcia Starkman
Advanced Practice Nursing
I remember a poster I saw years ago, in a clinician's office. It said, "Suicide. Keep it a question. It's not really the answer." This is so true.
When a person is overwhelmed with physical or emotional pain, or anything that in their opinion, is insurmountable (debt, loss of a loved one or relationship or job, chronic illness), they entertain thoughts of escape. "How can I escape this? Is there a way out?" Some see suicide as an escape, and the solution to their difficulties.
In my career as a psychiatric nurse, I have met many people who survived serious suicide attempts, who almost died. After their rescue, they expressed gratitude that they had not been successful at suicide, and had the opportunity to try and live their lives again, in a different way, and with help and support.
There are caring people and behavioral health facilities all around. There are excellent antidepressant medications that miraculously help depressed people live good and meaningful lives. Many personal difficulties and stressors are temporary. Suicide is permanent. Everyone thinks about it in a fleeting moment when things seem insurmountable. Thinking about suicide is OK. Carrying it out is NOT. So, ASK for the help you need!
Keep it a question. It's not really the answer.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Having thoughts of suicide, unfortunately, is somewhat common, but it is not normal and is the brain’s warning signal to get help now! Suicide is the second leading cause of death for teenagers (car accidents being first). If you are having thoughts of self-harm or considering killing yourself, or even just wishing that you didn’t exist, seek help from a mental health professional immediately--be it a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or counselor--to help you develop stress management strategies and to see if you could benefit from medication. (Of the four types, only a psychiatrist, an MD, can prescribe psychoactive medications.)  

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.