Advice Corner

Common Suicide Myths

Common Suicide myths that serve to support and sustain the social stigma of suicide.
Myth: If someone talks about suicide they are unlikely to actually do anything to harm themselves.

Reality: Many people who die by suicide have communicated their feelings, thoughts or plans before their death.

Myth: Suicide is always an impulsive act.

Reality: Many people who commit suicide have experienced suicidal thoughts and have contemplated taking their own life before the act.

Myth: Suicide is an expected or natural response to stress Suicide is an abnormal outcome to stress.

Reality: Everybody experiences stress…not everybody attempts suicide

Myth: Suicide is caused by stress

Reality: Suicide attempts or acts of self-harm may sometimes occur following an acute stressor (such as the break-up of a relationship or following an intense argument) but the event is a behavioural trigger not a cause of suicide.

Myth: People who are really at risk for suicide are not ambivalent about completing the act.

Reality: The intensity of suicidality waxes and wanes many people who attempt or commit suicide struggle with their conviction to die.

Myth: People who commit suicide are selfish and weak

Reality: Many people who commit suicide suffer from mental disorder that may or may not have been recognised.

Myth: Someone who is smart and successful would never commit suicide.

Reality: Be careful… remember, suicidality is often kept secret. “Suicide” has no cultural, ethnic, racial or socioeconomic boundaries.

Myth: Talking about suicide with a depressed person will probably cause them to commit suicide.

Reality: Man depressed people who have suicidal thoughts or plans are relieved when someone knows about them and is able to help them. Discussing suicidality with a depressed person will not lead them to commit suicide.

Myth: There is nothing that can be done for a person who is suicidal

Reality: Many individuals who attempt suicide may be suffering from a mental disorder that will respond to appropriate and effective treatment.

Appropriate treatment of a mental disorder significantly reduces the risk of suicide. For example, suicidality associated with depression usually resolves with effective treatment of the depressive disorder.

Myth: People who attempt suicide are just looking for attention.

Reality: In some people a suicide attempt is an event that leads to a first contact with a helping professional. A desperate cry for help is not equivalent to wanting attention.

For further information call the 24 hour Tollfree Helpline on 0800 12 13 14 or use the SMS service on 32 312.



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