We have a lot of clients with mood disorders that span the range from grumpy to bipolar disorder and whenever we interview a client for mood disorder life insurance we always ask about suicidal thoughts and/or attempts. I think everyone can agree with the obvious life insurance risk if someone has attempted suicide, although even that can be overcome with time. But suicidal thoughts, ideations, where do they fit into the whole picture?
In a world as out of control and crazy as the one we live in it is hard to imagine that anyone doesn’t have at least a passing thought of “Dang, I’m tired of this life”, even people with no mental or mood disorders at all. But let’s be honest. Although that thought might pass through your head it rarely carries the kind of weight that our family, our responsibilities and our faith do. Going from a passive suicidal ideation to actively planning to kill yourself is a quantum leap. That is going from the thought process of “I’m just not sure this is worth it”, to figuring out how you’re going to end your life and getting stuff together to do that, or just being consumed with ongoing thoughts about different ways to end your life.
As with any issue almost all companies blow the passive suicidal ideation or suicidal ideation without intent subject completely out of proportion and decline people at the very mention of it. The truth is that most life insurance underwriters have had passive ideations themselves and they know what it’s about, but are bound by company underwriting guidelines to respond by declining the application.
Please don’t think that we are poo-pahing suicidal ideations and saying they hold no significance. Anyone that has thoughts about whether life is worth carrying on with should talk to a professional about that. In a lot of instances just airing those thoughts is the beginning of the end of them.
But we are saying that as an underwriting risk it needs to be looked at by a company that has the latitude to apply common sense. OK, this person has had suicidal ideations without intent and is on Prozac and sees a therapist on a regular basis. Since starting treatment those have stopped. That is not a declineable issue.
If you have a mood disorder history and have been whacked out of the ballpark because you’ve admitted to a therapist that you have had passive ideations or ideations without intent, call or email us. We can help.
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