3 Suicide Behaviors Nursing Care Plans

Suicide is the intentional act of killing oneself. Suicidal thoughts are common in people with depression, schizophrenia, alcohol/substance abuse and personality disorders (antisocial, borderline, and paranoid). Physical illness (chronic illness such as HIV, AIDS, recent surgery, pain) and environmental factors (unemployment, family history of depression, isolation, recent loss) can play a role in the suicide behavior.

Nursing Care Plans

The nursing care plan for suicidal patients involves providing a safe environment, initiating a no-suicide contract, creating a support system and ensuring close supervision.

Here are three (3) nursing care plans (NCP) for suicide behaviors:

  1. Risk For Suicide
  2. Ineffective Coping
  3. Hopelessness
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Ineffective Individual Coping: Inability to form a valid appraisal of the stressors, inadequate choices of practiced responses, and/or inability to use available resources.

May be related to

  • Disturbance in pattern of tension release.
  • Impulsive use of extreme solutions.
  • Inadequate coping skills.
  • Inadequate social support created by characteristics of relationship.
  • Inadequate resources available.
  • Inadequate opportunity to prepare for a stressor.
  • Personal loss or threat of rejection.
  • Poorly developed social skills.
  • Situational or maturational crises.

Possibly evidenced by

  • Abuse of chemical agents.
  • Change in usual communication pattern.
  • Decreased use of social supports.
  • Destructive behavior toward self or others.
  • Expression of anxiety, depression, fear, impatience, frustration, and/or discouragement.
  • Inability to meet basic needs.
  • Inability to meet role expectations.
  • Inability to problem solve.
  • Lack of goal-directed behavior.
  • Poor problem solving.
  • Use of forms of coping that might impede adaptive behavior.
  • Verbalization of inability to cope or inability to ask for help.

Desired Outcomes

  • Patient will refrain from using or abusing chemical agents.
  • Patient will reports adequate supportive social contacts.
  • Patient will state that he or she feels comfortable with one new coping technique after three sessions of role playing.
  • Patient will discuss with the nurse/counselor at least three situations that trigger suicidal thoughts, as well as feelings about these situation.
  • Patient will name two effective ways to handle difficult situations in the future.
  • Patient will state willingness to learn new coping strategies (through group, individual, therapy, coping skills training, cognitive-behavior skills and so on).
  • Patient will name two persons to whom he/she can talk if suicidal thoughts recur in the future.
  • Patient will state that she or he believes his/her life has value and that they have an important role to play (mother, son, huband, father, provider, friend, job-related position, etc).
  • Patient will demonstrate two behaviors in dealing with emotional pain.
  • Patient will demonstrate a reduction of self-destructive behaviors.
Nursing InterventionsRationale
Assess client’s strengths and positive coping skills (talking to others, creative outlets, social activities, problem-solving abilities).Use these to build upon and draw from in planning alternatives to self-defeating behaviors.
Assess client’s coping behaviors that are not effective and that result in negative sequelae:

  • Angry outbursts.
  • Denial.
  • Drinking.
  • Procrastination.
  • Withdrawal.
Identify areas to target teaching and planning strategies for supplanting more effective and self-enhancing behaviors.
Assess need for assertiveness training. Assertiveness skills can help client develop a sense of balance and control.When people have difficulty getting their needs met or asking for what they need, frustration and anger can build up, leading to, in some cases, ineffective outlet for stress.
Identify situations that trigger suicidal thoughts.Identify targets for learning more adaptive coping skills.
Clarify those things that are not under the person’s control. One cannot control another’s actions, likes, choices, or health status.Recognizing one’s limitations in controlling other is, paradoxically, a beginning to finding one’s strength.
Assess client’s social supports.Have client experiment with attending at least two chosen possibilities.
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See Also


You may also like the following posts and care plans:

Mental Health and Psychiatric Care Plans

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Care plans about mental health and psychiatric nursing:

Further Reading


Recommended books and resources:

  1. Nursing Care Plans: Diagnoses, Interventions, and Outcomes
  2. Nurse's Pocket Guide: Diagnoses, Prioritized Interventions and Rationales
  3. Nursing Diagnoses 2015-17: Definitions and Classification
  4. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V-TR)
  5. Manual of Psychiatric Nursing Care Planning
  6. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans
  7. Delmar's Maternal-Infant Nursing Care Plans, 2nd Edition
  8. Maternal Newborn Nursing Care Plans

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