Suicide Facts and Myths

1. If someone is determined to kill themselves there is nothing you can do to help.
MYTH:
Depression and suicidal feelings will pass with time. Giving a person a safe place to vent their feelings, encouraging them to get professional help with their depression and giving them emotional support to put off suicide long enough for the feelings to pass are all ways you can help.

2. People who commit suicide are crazy.
MYTH:
While some people who commit suicide are mentally ill, deep grief, extreme emotional upset and depression can all lead to suicidal feelings.

3. Suicide attempts are a plea for help.
FACT:
Attempted suicide is a clear sign that a person has feelings that they are not able to cope with and they need help.

4. There are almost always warning signs before someone commits suicide.
FACT:
Many people will makes comments like wishing they were dead or how everyone might be better off if they were not around. Even those who do not express a death wish can exhibit signs of depression.

5. Talking about suicide with someone will give them ideas.
MYTH:
Asking them about any suicidal feelings they may have will give them the opening to speak about feelings that already have, but were afraid to mention.

6. Suicidal people do not really want to die. They just want their pain to end.
FACT:
People who are suicidal want to live, but they can not figure out any other options to stop the unbearable pain that they are feeling.

7. Once a person gets into treatment the suicide risk goes away.
MYTH:
Even though a person has started medication, they are not yet out of danger. They may feel more energetic and able to act on any suicidal feelings even though their mood has not yet significantly improved.

8. Most people who commit suicide spoke about their intent ahead of time.
FACT:
More often than not people will give some indication that they are feeling suicidal by making comments like wishing they were dead or how everyone might be better off if they were not around.

9. A drunk person who speaks about suicide should not be taken seriously.
MYTH:
When a person speaks about suicide it should always be taken seriously. Alcohol removes any inhibitions a person has and they may be telling you things that they would ordinarily hold inside.

10. If someone previously had a failed suicide attempt then they are less likely to complete a suicide.
MYTH:
The majority of completed suicides were preceded by a failed attempt.

11. People who are serious about committing suicide just go ahead and do it without giving any warnings.
MYTH:
There are almost always warning signs, either the person speaks of feeling suicidal or there are signs of depression.

12. People who commit suicide are weak.
MYTH:
Strong people can and do commit suicide. Depression is a chemical imbalance, not a sign of weakness.

13. People who threaten suicide are trying to be manipulative.

MYTH: People who are suicidal are making a plea for help.

14. When people feel better they are no longer in any danger.
MYTH:
If a person has been feeling suicidal and suddenly they are feeling better, this could be a sign that they have made a decision to commit suicide and feel relief because of their choice.

15. Suicide can affect people of all ages, even young children.
FACT:
No one is immune to depression.

16. If your friend asks you to keep his suicidal feelings a secret you should be a loyal friend and do it.
MYTH:
Suicide is a matter of life and death. It is better to get them help and risk having them upset than to have them die.

17. An unsuccessful attempt means they were not serious about wanting to die.
MYTH:
Successful suicides are often preceded by failed attempts. Suicide attempts are a cry for help and should never be ignored.

18. The only effective help is through psychotherapy.
MYTH:
While proper treatment is important, there is much that friends and family can do without any special training to support the suicidal person. They can play a vital role in helping the person recover.

19. Despite our best efforts, suicides can still occur. No one should blame themselves when another person chooses to die.
FACT:
You are only human and you are not responsible when someone else makes a choice to die. You do the best you can, but ultimately only they can make the choice to live.

20. Most suicides happen around the winter holidays.
MYTH:
Even though holiday depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder are common during the winter months, spring and summer are statistically when the most suicides occur.

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