As psychiatrists, we see many people who think about suicide -- suicidal ideation is a common symptom of clinical depression. In fact, it's very difficult to get a depressed patient into the hospital if they are not thinking about suicidal. Insurers are generally only willing to pay for inpatient care for people with life-threatening psychiatric illnesses; it's a standard no other medical specialty is held to. Even when someone is dangerous, and when their insurance is willing to authorize an admission, there is still the very difficult issue of finding a bed. Do check out Suicidal: Be Prepared to Wait for Care by Dr. Nathanial Morris, a psychiatry resident at Stanford.
That said, I wanted to introduce you to the the new podcast over on the Clinical Psychiatry News website. The MD Edge psychcast is being hosted by Dr. Lorenzo Norris of George Washington University. I found the interview with Dr. Igor Galynker on assessing imminent suicide risk fascinating. Dr. Galynker notes that people who go on to end their own lives often do not say they are thinking of suicide. And yet that is the standard we use to get people into the hospital! It's an excellent interview, and I can't do it justice in a recap, so I'll ask you to invest 25 minutes of your time and listen here: https://www.mdedge.com/psychiatry/article/165827/depression/approach-assesses-imminent-suicide-risk
Finally, ClinkShrink and I were interviewed by Dr. Norris when we were in New York for the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. If you'd like to hear our interview on involuntary treatment, it can be found here: