Borrow my Hope: Suicide active and passive thoughts


The teal-and-purple ribbon commemorates lives lost to suicide.

When it comes to discussing suicide, we know that the conversation can be difficult and awkward. What might come as a surprise to those of you who want to reach out to others about how they’re doing is that there’s some nuance when it comes to suicidal thoughts. Specifically, I want to talk today about passive and active thoughts.
One of the biggest differences between passive and active suicidal thoughts is if a person with the thoughts also is thinking about how they would go about ending their lives.
Those with passive suicidal thoughts may have a wish to die (for instance, hoping that they don’t wake up in the morning), but they don’t have a plan to end their life. People with active suicidal thoughts do have a plan, and sometimes this plan accompanies thoughts of how they would carry out that plan and when they would do it.
For a good first-person exploration of passive and active suicidal thoughts, I highly recommend this blog post on The Mighty.
I’ve had both passive and active suicidal thoughts. Frequently for me, passive suicidal thoughts would be the early stages of something that would become more and more serious as time passed.