What Not To Say To Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Be Alive Anymore

When it comes to suicide, we often operate from crisis mode. A lion’s share of the education around suicide prevention assumes that someone is actively harming themselves or on the verge of making a deadly decision.

The reality is that suicidality exists on a spectrum. There’s an under-discussed gray area where people are struggling with their mental health to the point where they just don’t want to deal with it anymore; they don’t have a plan in place, but they don’t feel very invested in living, either. And more people live in that gray area than you might think.

This is called passive suicidal ideation. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of people who experienced suicidal ideation in a given month during the pandemic more than doubled since 2018. However ― given that many people don’t openly own up to these thoughts or don’t believe their detachment from being alive falls into the “suicidal” category ― it’s likely the number of people with suicidal ideations could be higher.

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