Geisinger Behavioral Health Centers

Moosic’s trusted suicidal ideation disorder treatment center

When someone has persistent thoughts about ending their own life, it’s referred to as suicidal ideation. These thoughts, ranging in intensity and duration, can severely disrupt a person’s ability to function and thrive.

If you’re considering suicide, call 911 or contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by texting or dialing 988.

And when you’re ready for non-emergency treatment, you can receive clinically excellent care at Geisinger Behavioral Health Center Northeast, where we specialize in suicidal ideation treatment for adolescents ages 13 to 17 (coming fall of 2024) and adults ages 18 and older.

Understanding suicidal ideation

Always take suicidal ideation seriously. While having suicidal thoughts doesn’t necessarily mean that a person genuinely desires to end their life, it clearly shows that they are in deep emotional pain. People in a suicidal state think differently and may struggle to make rational decisions or consider alternative solutions.

Therefore, pay attention to warning signs. When someone openly expresses thoughts of suicide, it can be a plea for help, and it should never be taken lightly. Engaging in a sincere conversation with them is crucial. By helping them receive the support they need, you can potentially save a life.

Signs and symptoms of suicidal ideation

Many people having suicidal thoughts are reluctant to openly discuss their pain. So paying close attention to the warning signs can be crucial for early intervention and support.

These indicators may vary from person to person, but verbal signs can include:

  • Expressing thoughts of wanting to die or end their life
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped or being a burden to others
  • Making statements like “I can’t take it anymore” or “Everyone would be better off without me”
  • Mentioning specific plans or methods for suicide
  • Preoccupation with death

Behavioral changes may include:

  • Withdrawing from social activities, hobbies or relationships
  • Increased substance abuse or engaging in risky behaviors
  • Self-harm
  • Giving away possessions as if preparing for death
  • Displaying sudden calmness or relief after a period of intense distress

Emotional and psychological symptoms of suicidal ideation can include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness or despair
  • Overwhelming guilt, shame or self-blame
  • Increased irritability, agitation or anger
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Changes in sleep patterns (insomnia or excessive sleeping)
  • Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, making decisions or with memory

Physical symptoms of suicidal thoughts may include:

  • Noticeable changes in appetite, weight or appearance
  • Complaints of unexplained physical pain or discomfort
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Sudden neglect of personal hygiene or self-care

Approach any signs of suicidal ideation with compassion, take them seriously and seek professional help as soon as possible. If you believe that someone is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to contact emergency services.

Effects of suicidal ideation

Potential effects of suicidal ideation include:

  • Emotional distress.
  • Impaired functioning. Concentration, decision making and work or school performance may become challenging.
  • Social isolation. You may isolate yourself from friends, family and social activities due to feelings of guilt or shame or a belief that others wouldn’t understand.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns that can contribute to fatigue, irritability and a decreased ability to cope with stress.
  • Physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, muscle tension and changes in appetite.
  • Increased risk for self-harm, including deliberate self-injury and abusing substances as a coping mechanism.
  • Strained relationships.
  • Long-term mental health consequences. If left untreated, chronic suicidal ideation can contribute to the development of co-occurring mental health concerns, such as depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Seek professional help as soon as possible when experiencing suicidal ideation. Mental health professionals can provide appropriate support, assessment and treatment to address the underlying causes and reduce the impact of suicidal ideation on your life.

Helping a loved one

Helping a loved one with suicidal ideation can be challenging, but you can take steps to support them, including:

  • Take it seriously. Suicidal thoughts should never be ignored or dismissed.
  • Educate yourself about suicide, mental health and treatment resources available in your area.
  • Be a good listener. Create a safe space for your loved one to express their feelings.
  • Express your concern. Let your loved one know that you’re worried about their well-being. Share your observations about their behavior and the specific things that have caused you concern.
  • Encourage professional help and offer to assist them in finding a facility that specializes in treating suicidal ideation.
  • Offer practical support. Help your loved one with practical tasks that may feel overwhelming, including finding treatment resources and driving them to medical appointments.
  • Encourage development of a support network of trusted friends, family members and support groups.
  • Remove immediate dangers such as firearms, medications and sharp objects from their immediate surroundings.
  • Stay connected and follow up.
  • Take care of yourself. Remember to prioritize your own well-being and seek support for yourself, whether through therapy, support groups or trusted friends.

Treatment for suicidal ideation

Several approaches and interventions can be helpful. The appropriate treatment will depend on the person’s specific needs and the recommendations of mental health professionals. Treatment for suicidal ideation can include:

  • Psychotherapy: Different forms of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and motivational interviewing, can help people address underlying concerns, develop coping strategies and manage emotions.
  • Medication: Medication may be prescribed, especially if patients have an underlying mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.
  • Safety planning: Safety planning involves working collaboratively with a mental health professional to manage suicidal thoughts and prevent self-harm.
  • Inpatient treatment: When there’s an immediate risk to the person’s safety or intensive focus is desired, hospitalization in an inpatient facility can be helpful. These settings provide monitoring, support and stabilization.
  • Support groups: Support groups provide a platform to share experiences, learn from others and gain perspective.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal ideation, seek professional help as soon as possible.

Getting care at our inpatient treatment center

Receiving care at a suicidal ideation inpatient treatment center can be a critical step toward healing. Features of treatment at Geisinger Behavioral Health include:

  • Assessments and admissions: We’ll complete an assessment over the phone, making it fast and simple for you to begin receiving care.
  • 24/7 monitoring and safety: Our center provides round-the-clock monitoring to ensure your safety. We have protocols in place and trained staff to manage and respond to any emergencies that may arise.
  • Individual and group therapy: We offer individual sessions with trained therapists who specialize in treating suicidal ideation. We offer three daily sessions of group therapy, providing opportunities for peer support, sharing experiences and learning coping skills.
  • Medication management: If medication is part of your treatment plan, you’ll have daily access to professionals who can monitor your medication and dosage.
  • Collaborative treatment team: Our center features a multidisciplinary team with psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, nurses and other mental health professionals.
  • Structured environment: Geisinger offers a structured environment featuring daily routines, therapeutic activities and support.
  • Aftercare planning: Before discharge, we’ll collaborate with you to develop an aftercare plan, which may include recommendations for outpatient therapy, support groups and other resources to promote your ongoing healing.

Remember, reaching out for help is a brave step toward healing, and you don’t have to face it alone.

Geisinger staff members are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer your questions and conduct an assessment

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Geisinger Behavioral Health Center Northeast.