How to identify suicidal vocabulary?

Posted on June 28, 2018

Many of us are prone to the hindsight bias, in which we think about how the outcome would be different if we did something differently. It is possible to identify suicidal ideation based on the words used by the person. Most people who are suicidal do not drop many hints, but we can pick up those ideas from their manner of speech. This important because contrary to popular belief that talking to people about suicide will make it come true, talking about suicide actually plays a huge role in suicide prevention.

Researchers (Ellis & Rutherford, 2008) discovered three co-occurring cognitive barriers present in people who are suicidal:
1. Cognitive Rigidity
2. Dichotomous Thinking
3. Difficulty solving problems

The three barriers occur as a vicious cycle. According to Al-Mosaiwi and Johnstone's study in 2018, people who are suicidal use different vocabularies from those with other mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety.

There are 19 common words to be attentive towards: Absolutely, All, Always, Complete, Completely, Constant, Constantly, Definitely, Entire, Ever, Every, Everyone, Everything, Full, Must, Never, Nothing, Totally, and Whole.

With reference to an excerpt from Psychology Today,

If you are considering suicide:

Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.
If you are in the company of someone who is actively contemplating suicide:

Get help from a trained professional as quickly as possible. The person may need to be hospitalized until the suicidal crisis has passed.

Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) to reach a trained counselor. Use that same number and press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.

Category(s):Suicide Prevention

Source material from Psychology Today