Debunking common myths around suicide can contribute to people's understanding of the importance of helping others seek help.
Common Myths and Facts About Suicide
Myth: Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.
Truth: Talking about suicide provides the opportunity for communication. The first step in helping someone with thoughts of suicide is to encourage them to talk about their feelings. A willingness to listen when someone wants to talk shows concern and can help reduce the risk of an attempt.
Myth: People who threaten suicide are just seeking attention.
Truth: Talk of suicide must be treated seriously. Don't dismiss it as being attention getting. Efforts to manipulate or grab attention are always a cause for concern.
Myth: All people with thoughts of suicide are depressed.
Truth: Depression may contribute to the feelings of suicide. It doesn't need to be present for a person to have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide.
Myth: Once a person thinks about suicide, they will consider it every time things get difficult for them.
Truth: Given proper support and assistance from people who are caring and informed, people regain self-direction and self-management in their lives. They can recover and continue to lead meaningful lives.
Myth: Suicide is sudden and unpredictable.
Truth: Suicide is often a process, not an event. Most people who die by suicide give some indications of their intentions.
Myth: The only effective intervention for suicide comes from medical professionals with extensive experience.
Truth: All people who interact with someone in crisis can provide emotional support and encouragement. Interventions also rely heavily on a network of support, including family and friends.
Myth: People thinking about suicide are always angry when someone intervenes, and they will resent that person afterwards.
Truth: People of any age may be defensive and resist help at first. These behaviours are often a test to see how much someone is willing to help. For most, it is a relief to have someone genuinely care about them.