12 Myths About Suicide

MYTH

Those who talk about suicide are the least likely to attempt it

FACT

About 80% of those who take their own lives will have talked about it to some significant other in the few months before hand.

MYTH 

If someone is going to complete suicide they are going to do it and there is nothing you can do about it .

 FACT

The majority of those who take their own lives are ambivalent about doing so until the end. Most people who complete suicide do not want to die they just want to end their pain. An appropriate offer of help and support to people in a suicidal crisis can reduce their risk of dying by suicide.

MYTH

You can get a good idea how serious someone is about a suicide attempt by looking at the method used

FACT

Most people have little awareness of the lethality of what they are doing. The seriousness of the attempt is not necessarily related to the seriousness of the intent.

MYTH

Suicide attempts are just cries for help – it’s a form of attention seeking

FACT

A suicide attempt is a major risk factor for future completed suicide. The group of people at highest risk for suicide is those who have attempted it in the previous year.

MYTH

Only the clinically depressed/mentally ill make serious suicide attempts

FACT

People suffering emotional distress and also from other forms of psychiatric illness are at risk. Feelings of desperation, helplessness and hopelessness are better indicators of possible future suicide attempts.

MYTH

A good pumping out in casualty will teach those who make silly gestures a good lesson they won’t forget.

FACT

An unsympathetic response by those in a position to help leads to a missed opportunity for therapeutic intervention. It may lead to those at risk choosing a more certain method next time. An attempted suicide should always be taken seriously.

MYTH

Those with personality disorders attempt suicide to manipulate others

FACT

a commonly held belief. Many a patient is alienated and an ideal opportunity for therapeutic intervention missed because of the reception they receive in some emergency departments.

MYTH

If someone is going to commit suicide they will not tell anyone of their intentions and prepare well in advance

FACT

Many suicides are completed on impulse.

MYTH 

Talking about suicide encourages it

FACT

Talking about suicide to someone in distress can save a life. Raising the issue of suicide with those who are depressed or distressed may open the door to therapeutic intervention. To ignore it or hide the situation – even for honorable motives – is stigmatising and damaging.

MYTH

Suicide can be a blessed relief not just for the individual but those surrounding him or her.

FACT

The effects of suicide should not be trivialised in this way. Bereavement by suicide is itself a risk factor for suicide. Suicide leaves profound feelings of loss, grief and guilt in it’s wake.

MYTH

She killed herself because of exam stress.

FACT

It is not accurate to attribute the cause of suicide to one factor alone. Each person makes decisions based on an individual set of circumstances unique to them

MYTH

Once a person is suicidal they are suicidal forever.

FACT

Suicidal feelings and suicidal intent are often of short duration and vary in intensity over time.

Myths
Risk Factors
Statistics
Strategy