6 Things You Can Expect From Treatment for Suicidal Ideation

by | Jan 24, 2024

Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s super important: suicidal ideation. It’s one of those things that’s tough to discuss but incredibly important. In this blog, we’re going to unpack all the ins and outs of what it means to get help for suicidal thoughts.


We’ll cover everything from that first big step of reaching out for help to how personalized treatment plans work, the role of therapy and counseling, and even how meds fit into the picture. Plus, we’ll chat about the support from groups and communities and touch on TMS therapy and other alternate treatment options. 


Whether you’re looking for info for yourself or trying to help someone else, this blog is going to give you a solid understanding of what’s involved in treating suicidal ideation. It’s all about offering clarity and hope and showing that there are ways through this. So, let’s get started and tackle this head-on together.

Understanding suicidal ideation

Suicidal ideation is when someone has thoughts about suicide, which can range from thinking about it to actually planning how they might do it. It’s pretty serious and something we always need to take seriously, whether it’s a patient or someone we know.

There are two main kinds of suicidal ideation. First, there’s what we call passive ideation. This is more about wishing you weren’t alive or wishing to go to sleep and not wake up. It’s not necessarily about taking steps to end your life; it’s more about a deep desire to escape from pain or distress. 

Then, there’s active ideation. This is more severe — it’s when someone is thinking about how they might end their life, and they might even start making plans or preparations.

The reasons behind suicidal thoughts are really complex. It could be mental health issues like depression or anxiety, but it’s not always. Sometimes, it’s about life situations — overwhelming stress, trauma, a big loss, or chronic pain can all push someone towards these thoughts. It’s like they’re in a tunnel and can’t see any way out.

Spotting suicidal ideation means listening for certain cues — talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, looking for ways to end their life, or feeling trapped. If someone’s talking like this, we need to take it seriously, even if they don’t have a specific plan to commit suicide.

The key thing here is getting help. Therapy, support groups, medication, TMS therapy -– there are lots of ways to tackle it. And being there for someone, making sure they know they’re not alone and have options, sometimes makes all the difference. Remember, it’s about creating a space where they feel safe to talk and share what they’re going through.

Embarking on the path to treatment is a brave choice, one you might want to know what to expect from. Let’s dive into that now.

6 things you can expect from treatment

6 things you can expect from treatment

1. Comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis

If you’re seeking treatment for suicidal ideation, the first thing you’ll go through is a thorough evaluation. Think of it like taking your car in when something feels off. You want a complete check-up to figure out what’s going on, right? These are the steps you’ll take:

Initial consultation

This is where you sit down with a mental health professional who will ask about your current situation. They’ll want to know what you’re experiencing, your thoughts about suicide, any plans you might have, and your history with these thoughts.

Mental health assessment

This part is like a deep dive into your mental health. They’ll ask a bunch of questions to get a full picture -– things about your mood, any symptoms of depression or anxiety, your sleep patterns, and how you’re coping with daily life. It’s not only about your suicidal thoughts; they’re trying to understand everything that’s contributing to how you’re feeling.

Physical examination

Sometimes, they might suggest a physical exam or even some lab tests to rule out any physical health issues that might be affecting your mental health, like thyroid problems.

Discussing your history

They’ll also want to know about your personal history. This includes any past mental health issues, family history of mental illness, any trauma you’ve experienced, and stuff like your support system, your work, and your relationships. 

Risk assessment

A big part of this evaluation is assessing the risk — like, how immediate and serious is the risk of you acting on your suicidal thoughts? This helps them figure out the right level of care, whether it’s outpatient therapy, medication, or in more urgent situations, hospitalization for close monitoring and safety.

Creating a treatment plan

Based on all this info, they’ll work with you to create a treatment plan. This could include therapy, possibly medication, strategies for crisis management, and maybe connecting you with support groups or other resources.

Remember, the goal of this thorough evaluation is to get a clear, comprehensive understanding of what’s going on so that you can get the most effective treatment. It’s about figuring out the best way to help you through this tough time and get you back on track.

2. Personalized treatment plan

Alright, let’s break down how a personalized treatment plan works when you’re dealing with something like suicidal ideation. Think of it as getting a custom-made suit instead of one off-the-rack. It’s tailored for you, fitting your specific needs and situation.


First, everything we talked about in the evaluation — your symptoms, history, risk factors -– that’s the groundwork. It’s like gathering all the ingredients before you start cooking. Based on this, a treatment plan is crafted that’s unique to you. 

Therapy options

One of the main parts of your plan will likely be therapy. But it’s not a one-type-fits-all. You might get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which helps rewire how you think and react to situations, or maybe something like Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) if you need tools to manage intense emotions. The type of therapy chosen is based on what will work best for your specific symptoms and style.


If meds are part of your plan, it’s not random. The choice of medication depends on factors like your particular symptoms, any other meds you’re on, and even your family history. It’s all about what will work best for you, with the least side effects.

Lifestyle changes

Treatment isn’t only about therapy and meds. It’s also about lifestyle tweaks, like improving your sleep and diet and maybe adding some exercise. These aren’t generic recommendations; they are tailored advice that fits into your life and helps boost your mental health.

Regular check-ins and adjustments

A personalized plan is never set in stone. It’s more like a work in progress. You’ll have regular check-ins with your doctor or therapist to see how you’re doing and make any necessary adjustments. It’s like fine-tuning as you go along.

Crisis plan

Especially with suicidal ideation, part of your personalized plan will include a crisis strategy. What to do, who to call, how to stay safe -– all tailored to provide you with immediate support in crisis situations.

Psychotherapy and counseling

3. Psychotherapy and counseling

Alright, let’s talk about how psychotherapy or counseling fits into treating suicidal ideation. It’s like having a dedicated guide to help you navigate through a thick forest.  It’s invaluable.

Understanding and addressing root causes 

The first big thing therapy does is help dig into what’s driving your suicidal thoughts. It’s like detective work to figure out the root causes — depression, anxiety, trauma, or a mix of things. Your therapist helps you unpack these layers, understand them, and work through them.

Developing coping strategies

Therapy is all about equipping you with tools to manage those tough moments. It’s like learning first aid for your mental health. This could be techniques to handle overwhelming emotions, strategies to break down negative thought patterns, or ways to cope with stress that don’t lead you down a dark path.

Creating a safe place to talk

One of the most powerful things about therapy is simply having a safe, non-judgmental space to talk about your thoughts and feelings. It’s like having a pressure valve -– a way to release some of the tension in a supportive environment.

So, in short, psychotherapy or counseling is a crucial part of treating suicidal ideation. It’s not merely about talking — it’s a comprehensive approach to understanding, managing, and reducing these thoughts and building a stronger, more resilient you.

4. Medication management

Alright, let’s chat about the role of medication management in treating suicidal ideation. Think of it like using specific tools to fix a complex machine — in this case, the brain’s chemistry.

Targeting the underlying causes 

Often, suicidal thoughts stem from underlying issues like depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. Medications are key in managing these conditions. It’s like using the right kind of fuel to keep a car running smoothly.

Finding the right medication

This part can be a bit of trial and error. Different people react differently to medications. A psychiatrist might start you on antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or antipsychotics, depending on your specific symptoms and diagnosis. It’s like finding the right key to fit a lock. They’ll monitor how you respond and make adjustments as needed.

Managing side effects

Medications sometimes have side effects — things like nausea, weight gain, or sleepiness. A big part of medication management is balancing the benefits of the medication against any side effects you might experience. Your psychiatrist will work with you to minimize these as much as possible.

Regular check-ins

You’ll have regular appointments to discuss how the medication is affecting you, both in terms of your mood and any side effects. This is super important for keeping things on track. It’s like regular maintenance checks to ensure everything is working as it should.

Coordination with therapy

Medication is often most effective when combined with therapy. It’s like using both a belt and suspenders -– you get more comprehensive support. Your psychiatrist and therapist will often coordinate to provide integrated care.

In essence, medication management is about using pharmaceuticals as a tool to help stabilize and improve your mental health, especially when it comes to reducing suicidal thoughts. It’s a careful balancing act, done under the close supervision of a psychiatrist, to help you find your way back to feeling more like yourself.

Support groups and community resources

5. Support groups and community resources

Hey, so let’s talk about the role of support groups and community resources when you’re dealing with something heavy like suicidal ideation. Think of them as part of your support network, kind of like having a team behind you when you’re going through a tough time.

Shared experiences

One of the big things about support groups is that they put you in a room (or a virtual space) with people who “get it.” They’ve been where you are or are right there with you. It’s incredibly validating and comforting to know you’re not alone in what you’re feeling. It’s like finding people who speak your language in a foreign country.

Different perspectives and strategies

In these groups, you’ll hear how others cope with their struggles, which may give you new ideas and strategies that you might not have considered. It’s a bit like crowd-sourcing solutions for a problem -– you get a bunch of different viewpoints and tips.

A safe place to share

Support groups provide a safe, non-judgmental environment where you can open up about your feelings and experiences. It’s a place where it’s okay to be vulnerable and honest, without the fear of being judged. It’s like having a safety net.

Building connections

These groups help you build a support network of people who understand what you’re going through. These connections are invaluable, especially on the tougher days. It’s about creating a community, however small, that’s there for you.

Resources and information

Apart from emotional support, these groups often provide access to additional resources and information. This could be about treatment options, coping strategies, or even practical help like finding a therapist or navigating healthcare services. It’s like having a directory of helpful tools at your disposal.

Reducing stigma and isolation

By participating in these groups, you’re also playing a part in breaking down the stigma around mental health and suicidal thoughts. It’s empowering to be part of a community that’s all about supporting each other and promoting understanding.

6. Alternative treatment options

Let’s explore some alternative options beyond the usual stuff for tackling suicidal ideation. Sometimes, you need a different approach, right?

TMS therapy

This one’s pretty cool. TMS, or Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, is like a tech-savvy way to deal with depression, which often underlies suicidal thoughts. It’s non-invasive and uses magnetic pulses to pep up the brain areas involved in mood regulation. Think of it as a gentle jumpstart for your brain.

Mindfulness or meditation

These are all about living in the now and getting a new perspective on your thoughts. It’s training your brain to not get trapped in negative thinking. A lot of folks find it really helpful for easing anxiety and lifting their mood.


This old-school method involves tiny needles at specific body points. It’s thought to kickstart the body’s natural healing abilities and can be pretty relaxing. Some people swear by it for mood improvement.

Yoga and exercise

Yoga and exercise

Rolling out a yoga mat or hitting the gym often does wonders. It’s not only about physical health; these activities release all those good brain chemicals that boost your mood.

Diet and nutrition

What you eat matters big time. Certain foods can actually influence your brain’s health and your overall mood. It’s like picking premium fuel for your car.

Herbal supplements and vitamins

Some people find particular supplements or vitamins help balance their mood. Just remember to chat with your doctor before starting these, especially if you’re on other meds.

All these options are great, but they usually work best alongside therapies like counseling or medication, especially for something as serious as suicidal ideation. It’s about finding the right combo that clicks for you, under the guidance of a professional. It’s like putting together a team of superheroes where each one brings a unique power to the fight.

TMS therapy at Brain Health Center

If you or someone you know is grappling with suicidal ideation, remember that help is available, and you’re not alone in this journey. 

At Brain Health Center, we’re committed to providing compassionate, effective treatment for those struggling with suicidal thoughts, and we believe that financial barriers shouldn’t stand in the way of getting the help you need. That’s why we offer suicidal ideation treatment completely free of charge.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to support you with a range of treatment options tailored to your individual needs. 

Whether it’s exploring therapy, considering TMS therapy, or simply seeking a space to talk and be heard, we’re here to help guide you through these challenging times toward a path of recovery and hope.

Contact us today to get started.