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Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about ending one’s own life. Suicidal ideation ranges in severity from infrequent, fleeting wishes to be dead or thoughts that life is not worth living to persistent contemplation of killing oneself. The latter type of suicidal ideation is referred to as active suicidal ideation. Severe active suicidal ideation includes specific plans that include how an individual would kill himself or herself and an intention to act on these thoughts. In rare cases, command hallucinations to kill oneself are present. This entry discusses the rates of suicidal ideation in the United States, its prevalence in special populations, risk and protective factors, assessment of suicidal ideation, and treatment.

A total of 2% to 10% of adults in the U.S. general population report ...

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