Research indicates that survivors of sexual assault are more likely to experience issues such as Major Depressive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Severe stress and anxiety induce intrusive suicidal thoughts and contemplation of suicide. According to statistics, over ⅓ of women who have experienced sexual trauma have thoughts about suicide. But, survivors can be anyone.
Passive Suicidal Ideation is thinking about suicide or self harm, but with no plan to complete the act. Example: Having intrusive, unwanted thoughts about killing yourself with prescription medication, but not having the medication or not planning to get the medication.
Active Suicidal Ideation is thinking about suicide or self harm, with an actual plan to complete the act. Example: Someone has the prescription medication and plans to take them at 6:00 pm after work on a Thursday.
The most present mental symptom connected to suicidal thoughts is the intrusive thought. Your brain is always thinking and sending thoughts about different things, however intrusive thoughts are harsh. They are severe enough to make someone aware and scared of what they’re thinking. An example of an intrusive thought is thinking, “I wonder what would happen if I drove off of this bridge I’m crossing.” Generally, we stomp these thoughts. But sometimes, because of the way our brains like to “solve problems,” these thoughts don’t dissipate. The good news is, if these thoughts freak you out, then it means you’re in a healthy state, even if you have them often. But, what of the opposite? Looking for clues that include:
- Feeling as though everything is hopeless/doesn’t have meaning
- Experiencing significant changes in eating and sleeping habits (not wanting to get out of bed)
- Feeling alone and isolated
- Having suicidal thoughts
These combined thoughts could be warning signs. If you’re confused or if you know of someone who might be displaying some “red flags,” it’s best to seek help. This could be as simple as contacting LaFASA’s Helpline through chat, text, or voice. Our support specialists are not counselors, but can help in NON-EMERGENCY situations and offer relevant resources. You can call your parish’s sexual assault center (find it here). They can help to answer any questions or help you to get counseling or therapy. If you or you know of a loved one that is truly in a “scary” place, contact Suicide Hotline Prevention.
What can we do as a friend or “bystander” when it comes to awareness and prevention? VeryWell Mind has written an excellent piece about it. (Read below.)
In the majority of cases, people who are feeling suicidal are dealing with conditions that will pass in time if only they can get the help that they need. In the meantime, there is much that friends and family members can do to help people who are depressed or contemplating suicide (continued here).
To contact the Helpline, text 225-351-SAFE (7233) 7 days a week from or access the online chat by going to LaFASA.org. For those who wish the phone-in option, the number is 888-995-7273. The phone in option is 24/7 and available in English or Spanish. ALL assistance is free, confidential, and anonymous.