Thoughts of Suicide

Thoughts of suicide can be very distressing and difficult to talk about. It’s important to know that having these thoughts is not uncommon, and many people experience them at some point in their lives. However, it is not something to struggle with alone. When thoughts of suicide persist, it is a sign that a person’s mental health needs attention.

Thoughts of suicide do not always mean that someone wishes to end their life. Often these thoughts are an attempt to find a solution for deep emotional or physical pain triggered by things such as trauma, loss, substance abuse, chronic illness, social isolation or mental illness.

It is important to be aware of signs that can indicate that someone may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.  These signs can include:

  • Expressing the desire to die or end one’s life: Speaking openly about suicide or wanting to escape pain.
  • Social withdrawal: Isolating from friends and family.
  • Drastic mood changes: Sudden shifts in behaviour, appearance, or demeanor.
  • Making preparations: Giving away belongings, making a will, or saying goodbye in a way that seems final. 

If you or someone you know is grappling with suicidal thoughts, it can be very important to have help and support.  It can be important to:

  • Talk openly about the thoughts of suicide with supportive family or friends or with a psychologist or other mental health care professional.
  • Spend time with family, friends and pets.
  • Engage in activities that bring peace, meaning or joy.
  • Inform your doctor or health care team about the thoughts of suicide.

If safety is an immediate concern, please call 911 or visit your local emergency room. If you or you or a loved one need to speak to someone right away there are 24 hour hotlines available in Edmonton and Alberta:

  • Alberta Health Services mental health line at 1-877-303-2642
  • Edmonton Distress Line at 780-482-4357

For more information about thoughts of suicide: