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Treatment For Suicidal Thoughts

In 2021, Kentucky ranked as the 20th highest rate of suicide in the country with 816 individuals dying by suicide. Between 2021 and 2022, 185,000 adults had serious thoughts of suicide in Kentucky. If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, know that you are not alone. 

It’s never too late to seek healing when you’re dealing with suicidal thoughts. At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, our crisis care includes 24/7 admission, guaranteeing you have a place to go when you need it most. We always strive to solve unmet needs in the community. Our treatment program for suicidal thoughts is just one such way that we do that.

What We Treat: Suicidal Thoughts

Suicide as a whole has three different tiers: suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and suicide itself. Let’s talk about what the differences are between these three.
  • Suicide is when someone dies from an injury caused by oneself.
  • Suicide attempts occur when someone chooses to harm themselves with the intention of dying, but the person survives.
  • Suicidal thoughts or ideation are when someone is considering dying by suicide, which includes plans or ponderings.
These overwhelming thoughts may make someone feel trapped in their difficult circumstances. It can make them feel like the only way out is by ceasing to exist. Professional help can prevent suicide from occurring. At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, we are here for you.

Coping With Thoughts of Suicide

You should never try to cope with thoughts of suicide alone. Whether you speak with friends and loved ones or a mental health professional, a support network is key in managing suicidal thoughts. 

A mental health professional or counselor can guide you through your recovery and teach you coping skills that make managing thoughts easier. Friends and family can provide care and support and allow you to get your thoughts off of your chest. When you create a judgment-free support network of people to reach out to, you can lessen the emotions and pain with time. 

How We Treat Suicidal Thoughts at SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky

At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, treatment for suicidal thoughts includes psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. We will work with you and your physicians to determine the best care plan based on your current needs, previous treatment, and any assessments you’ve done. 

Our mental health services offer inpatient and outpatient programming for those experiencing suicidal ideation. During both inpatient and outpatient, we offer a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). CBT helps you identify specific challenges in your life and teaches you the skills necessary to cope with those challenges. These may include relaxation and other coping skills. DBT helps you change unhealthy thoughts into healthy ones and may consist of mindfulness and emotional regulation.

Inpatient Treatment at SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky

If you're experiencing suicidal thoughts, inpatient programming is often the best first step. It can help stabilize you and keep you safe by putting you in an environment surrounded by healing, away from any potential triggers at home. 

SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky offers inpatient mental health and crisis care for people of all ages, from children to older adults. Usually, patients will stay at our facility for 7 to 14 days. 

Outpatient Treatment at SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky

After attending inpatient care, you will move to partial hospitalization (PHP) or intensive outpatient (IOP) depending on your needs. SUN Kentucky does not offer traditional once-weekly outpatient treatment. During PHP and IOP, you will attend therapy groups during the day and return home at night.

PHP is a highly intensive outpatient treatment option. It is best for individuals who require consistent care but no longer need inpatient treatment. Our program runs Monday through Friday from 9 AM until 2:30 PM for both teens and adults. You will also participate in art or recreational therapy three days a week.

Following PHP, many people will attend IOP. This level of care is for those who need more care than a weekly traditional outpatient provides. Our IOP runs Monday through Friday for adults from 9 AM until 12:00 PM, while teens have IOP from 9 AM until 2:30 PM. We also offer an evening IOP option 3 days a week. This program is from 5:30 PM until 8:30 PM and works for individuals who work or are otherwise unable to attend treatment during the day.

helping someone with suicidal thoughts
treatment for suicidal thoughts sun kentucky

Suicidal Thoughts: What Causes Them?

There are many reasons someone might experience thoughts of suicide. One of the most common causes of suicidal ideation is depression, but not everyone with depression will have suicidal thoughts. Additionally, not everyone with these thoughts will have depression. In some cases, people might feel they are in a situation that seems impossible to escape and believe suicide is their only way out. 

Risk Factors for Suicidal Thoughts

Several risk factors can contribute to someone considering death by suicide. These factors may be individual, relationship-based, communal, or societal. Individual risk factors are related to your personal history and biology. Relationship-based factors look at those closest to you, such as your friends, family members, or romantic partners, and how they impact your mental health. Communal factors are ones you regularly interact with in your community but are unrelated to your close family and friends. Finally, societal factors are the factors that exist within your culture and society as a whole. Below is a chart with some examples of each type of risk factor. 

suicidal thoughts what causes them


History of depressionAbusive partnerDiscriminationStigma
Chronic painSocial isolationCommunity violenceEasy access to methods of suicide
Job lossBullyingLack of access to healthcareMedia’s portrayal of suicide
Adverse childhood experiencesFamily history of suicideLocal clusters of suicideCultural beliefs


The chart above is not an exhaustive list of risk factors for each category, and more risk factors are possible, such as previous suicide attempts, legal concerns, loss of a loved one, and unemployment. Even where someone lives, such as rural vs urban, can be a part of one's risk factors for suicidal thoughts. Note that while having many of these risk factors can increase one's chances, they do not guarantee that the person will consider dying by suicide.    

Helping Someone With Suicidal Thoughts

If you believe your loved one may be having suicidal thoughts, it is essential to stay calm when discussing your concerns. Note that discussing suicide with someone will not give them the idea to attempt it. If they’re already considering it, talking about it won’t innately make it worse. Address any warning signs or risk factors you’ve noticed and ask them if they have considered suicide. If they discuss their emotions with you, listen to them without judgment. You should never debate or lecture them on whether suicide is right or wrong. Instead, offer alternatives and hope. 

If someone you care about asks you to keep their thoughts a secret, don’t promise to do so. Instead, seek support and offer them places they can go to get help. If they get upset that you won’t keep their secret, remind them how grateful you are that they confided in you and that you want to help them not feel this way. After your initial conversation, continue to follow up with them. Something as simple as a message or discussion can let them know you care. 

Does Removing Methods of Suicide From the Home Really Help?

It is vital to remove easy-to-access methods of suicide. The act of removing these methods is known as lethal means safety and is an evidence-based method to prevent suicide. When someone is considering suicide, they may impulsively act on this thought. However, when they don’t have easy access, there is more time and space between the suicidal thoughts and a lethal method. This extra time can lead to your loved one reconsidering and seeking help.

Spotting the Warning Signs Before a Suicide Attempt

If you’re concerned about losing a loved one to suicide, we’re here to help you spot the warning signs. Suicide attempts don’t come out of the blue, but if you’re not looking for the signs you can miss them.

People who are considering suicide may become isolated and express feelings of hopelessness. Increased symptoms of anxiety, anger, and mood swings are also common. They may talk or post on social media about wanting to die or make plans for suicide, which could include looking for ways to access lethal methods.

Youths may have the above signs before they attempt to die by suicide, but they can also express different warning signs. These may include changes in social connections, sleep, or other out-of-character behaviors. 

Methods of Suicide

People who die by suicide may use several methods. Some methods are frequently found in men, while others are more common in women. The differences may be due to the cultural expectations of each gender, leading men to choose more violent and lethal methods, while women may be likely to select less extreme ones as a way to ask for help.

Men are more likely to use the following methods:

  • Firearms
  • Hanging
  • Suffocation
  • Jumping

While women are more likely to use these methods:

  • Poisoning
  • Bleeding out from a cut
  • Drowning
  • Hanging

While these are the most common methods of dying by suicide for each specific gender, they’re not the only ways suicide can happen. If you can think of it, there is likely someone who has utilized it as a means of suicide.

Treatment Is Available for Suicidal Thoughts in Erlanger, KY

It's important to know that individuals who have suicidal thoughts are not alone. Numerous strategies and approaches can intervene and prevent someone from dying by suicide. Having an open conversation about suicide can save someone's life and guide them towards getting proper treatment. 

FAQs About Suicidal Thoughts

What counts as suicidal ideation?

Suicidal ideation is any thoughts you might have that involve harming yourself to die. They may be passive thoughts, or they could be associated with a plan. 

Does having suicidal thoughts mean you have depression?

Not necessarily. While the majority of people who have thoughts of suicide also have depression or another mental health condition, it is not always the case. Thoughts of suicide may be associated with situational circumstances in their personal life that are not associated with depression. 

How can I help a suicidal person?

First, talk with your loved one with care and without judgment. Discuss with your loved one in a calm manner the concerns you have, and do not lecture them about whether suicide is right or wrong. Talking about suicide will not put the idea into their heads if they are not already considering it. Remove any objects they could use to harm themselves, and offer suggestions of places they can go for help. Remember to follow up with them afterward, as this can show them you care and are willing to be there for them.

Treatment for Suicidal Thoughts in Kentucky

At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, we solve unmet needs in Erlanger, KY. Our no-cost care assessment connects you to a representative who will work with you to design your personalized treatment plan. To learn more about our treatment for suicidal thoughts, call us today at 859-429-5188.


SUN Behavioral Kentucky

820 Dolwick Drive
Erlanger, Kentucky 41018

Hours of Operation:

Open 24 hours

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