Myths vs. Facts
It’s important to talk openly and honestly about mental health and suicide. Unfortunately, there are a number of persistent myths that can make having those frank conversations a little more difficult and keep people who need it from seeking the help and treatment they need. That’s why it’s imperative to counter those myths with facts.
Myth: People who talk about suicide don’t complete suicide.
Fact: Many people who talk about suicide are signaling to the outside world that regardless of how they appear on the surface, they’re in great pain on the inside. They often see no way out except ending their lives. If someone is talking about killing themselves, one of the best things you can do is connect them with professional help right away.
Myth: People who attempt or complete suicide are weak or immoral.
Fact: People who attempt suicide are not weak, and their behavior in no way represents a lack of character. In most cases, they’ve simply lost hope, and they often need the help and encouragement of others in order to get it back.
Myth: Suicidal people simply need to know that their problems aren’t that bad.
Fact: No one can fully and truly understand another person’s problems and what they’re going through. A suicidal person views their problems, issues and life from a personal perspective that is uniquely their own and is unlikely to be convinced that their problems are “not that severe.” In fact, that suggestion is likely to alienate them further.
Myth: Some people just commit suicide for little or no reason.
Fact: Actually, most people’s reasons are very personal and intense. That’s why it’s so important that they receive support and professional help.
Myth: Someone who unsuccessfully attempted suicide won’t try again.
Fact: A failed suicide will not necessarily prevent another attempt.
Myth: Talking to a depressed person about suicide will put the idea in their head.
Fact: Talking about the issues involved in someone’s depression or asking whether they have had or are having thoughts of suicide will not lead to the suicidal act. It actually may help them step back.
Myth: Suicidal tendencies are inherited.
Fact: While a tendency toward depression may be an inherited condition, suicidal tendencies are not.
Myth: Suicide statements or actions are bids for attention or manipulation.
Fact: As no one else can see the world from inside another person’s eyes. That’s why we can’t take dismiss anyone’s motivation. Even “staged” suicidal attempts can be completed by accident. That’s why it’s important to connect people who are suicidal for any reason with immediate professional help.