Trying to commit suicide is a mental disorder if it's due to depression and alike. But- Is there a medical disorder where one wishes to be dead, without ever taking action (i.e. doing harm to oneself). Is that still classified as depression?

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    That's a question for a qualified therapist.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 15:42
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    Hi Singh, this is a very good question but doesn't belong on this site, as we can't give advice. I recommend asking a counselor who can better explain and guide understanding.
    – DoctorWhom
    Commented Jan 30, 2018 at 16:41
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    While personal medical advice is outside the scope of Health SE, the line between personal disappointment and suicidal ideation due to a mental disorder can be very thin, which is why any case approaching this line is a far better fit for a licensed psychiatrist/psychologist/counselor than for random folks on the internet Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 9:24
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    @DoctorWhom Maybe we misread the Q with the trigger word as a "case" (which it might be). However, I feel that this might be salvageable when reworded into really general territory of mental health. Worth a try or still off-topic then? Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 13:02
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    Suicidality, aka "suicidal ideation," can be conceptualized as a spectrum from thoughts about not existing (sometimes termed "passive suicidal ideation") to visualizing and making plans, to active attempts. The risk for completing suicide increases when someone has a plan or previous attempt, but it still happens even with people with seemingly benign thoughts of being dead. Many people have passive thoughts at some point in life, but I cannot in good conscious say there is any point where there is no concern someone will act on it. Depression is associated with ALL degrees of suicidality
    – DoctorWhom
    Commented Feb 2, 2018 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


Self-harm is not a mental illness, but a behavior that indicates a lack of coping skills. Several illnesses are associated with it, including borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety or posttraumatic distress disorder.

National Alliance on Mental Health

Sometimes when people self-harm, they feel on some level that they intend to die. Over half of people who die by suicide have a history of self-harm.

However, the intention is more often to punish themselves, express their distress or relieve unbearable tension. Sometimes the reason is a mixture of both.

Self-harm can also be a cry for help.


So the thought of wishing oneself dead could be construed as a symptom of depression, but cannot be classified as depression until a professional takes a closer look at the individual's life, behavior, and thought patterns.

This is because the thought of self-harm might be, in a way, self-harming already, which may be a way to feel control, release, or some particular stimulus, or it could be the initial stages of depression, or so on. The ambiguity can also be witnessed in all the comments going back in forth in the OP's question.

Therefore, it's a complicated area, extremely broad, but with a general consensus in one area: best to consult a professional or someone trusted to gain more information and insight into the matter.

  • It might profit this answer if some aspects of the volatile comments were included here. Touchy issues in general, maybe touchy issue in this "case". Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 22:04
  • Hmm... there's a lot of good information in those comments. I'll need time to find references.
    – Dave Liu
    Commented Feb 17, 2018 at 22:57
  • This answers my question. When I wish to die, or imagine killing myself, it's due to the lack of coping skills. When I feel frustrated or angry, it is my way of letting it out and then feeling pity for myself. I think that calms me down (maybe by taking mind away from the issue). The current edited version of my original question is not what I was asking at all. But I am glad your answer answered my original question (which may have been unclear the way I originally wrote it). Also, I can assure that I do not feel depression.
    – Singh
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 6:21
  • Narusan tried to reword the question to be more general, because we don't address personal-diagnosis type questions. That was probably why it was voted to be closed at first. Glad this was helpful though, hope things improve.
    – Dave Liu
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 21:04
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    Read the definition of depression @Singh before you say that. It's not always feeling down/depressed, there are other manifestations of depression. I would not write off thoughts of wanting to die as a harmless coping method - - especially if you are reading about plans how to do it. You need to learn more advanced coping skills anyways, so why not talk with a counselor about this.
    – DoctorWhom
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 2:38

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