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What Does Suicidal Ideation Mean?

Nika Ball, MOT, OTR/L, ATP, Angela Moss, PhD, RN, APRN-BC

September 20, 2021

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Question

What does suicidal ideation mean?  

Answer

Suicidal ideation is a term that is often used among clinicians to describe a person who is thinking about, considering, or planning suicide. Getting into suicidal ideation can be tricky because you cannot read someone else's mind, so you do not know necessarily if they are thinking about, considering, or planning suicide.

Therefore, knowing the risk factors and learning how to have those therapeutic conversations with somebody who you suspect might have suicidal ideation is very important, because there are signs for help. That individual's way that they may choose to reach out for help could be very subtle or it could be very direct, thereby making suicidal ideation an important concept to understand. 

 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the webinar, Suicide Awareness, Assessment and Intervention for Allied Health Professionals, presented by Nika Ball, MOT, OTR/L, ATP and Angela Moss, PhD RN, APRN-BC.


nika ball

Nika Ball, MOT, OTR/L, ATP

Nika Ball, MOT, OTR/L, ATP, is the CEU Administrator/Assistant Editor for OccupationalTherapy.com. She has been an occupational therapist for 14 years and worked in a variety of settings, including hospital, acute rehabilitation, skilled nursing facility, outpatient, and home healthcare. Ms. Ball received her Assistive Technology Professional certification from RESNA in 2017. She is an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) field advocate and is passionate about mental health awareness, advocacy, and education. Ms. Ball has participated in multiple annual AFSP fundraiser/awareness community walks for suicide prevention as team leader and participant.


angela moss

Angela Moss, PhD, RN, APRN-BC

Dr. Angela Moss, PhD, RN, APRN-BC, is Assistant Dean of Faculty Practice and Assistant Professor, Community Systems and Mental Health, at Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois. She is responsible for the development and maintenance of over 30 diverse community-based partnerships whereby faculty nurses and nurse practitioners provide primary and mental health care to vulnerable populations in communities across Chicago. Dr. Moss is a board certified, practicing Adult Nurse Practitioner, and beginning in 2009, founded a nurse-managed primary care health clinic with mental health integration for low-income foodservice workers near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Dr. Moss is passionate about mental health awareness, and is an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) community walk team leader and advocate.


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