Myths and Facts about Suicide

Facts about Suicide:

  • Suicide is preventable.
  • Talking about it won’t cause it.
  • Most people who are suicidal don’t need to be hospitalized.
  • If people in a crisis get the help they need, they will probably never be suicidal again.
  • Asking someone directly about suicide lowers anxiety and helps to open honest communication between you. It lowers the risk of impulsive behaviors.
  • Suicide prevention is everybody’s business, anyone can help prevent the tragedy.
  • Most people communicate their intent to someone during the week preceding their attempt.
  • People who talk about suicide may try or even complete self-destructive behaviors.

Truths and Myths about suicide

Throughout the years, the act of suicide has been paired with many myths that unfortunately bring stigma to mental health as well as suicide prevention. We are unsure where some of the myths have come from, or where they developed. Some have developed out of fear. For many of us, dealing with a person at risk of suicide was uncharted territory not covered in formal education. The best form of prevention is education.

Suicide is not preventable.

FALSE- Suicide is the most preventable form of death. Vaccines don’t need to be developed, or medical breakthroughs to help a person thinking of suicide. Through positive action, through caring about a person, suicide can be prevented.

People who talk about suicide don’t do it.

FALSE- People who talk about death by suicide can go on to complete suicide. When a person says things like, “I think I am going to kill myself”, “If things don’t get better I am going to end my life,” it needs to be taken seriously. A person talks of suicide directly before they complete suicide.

Talking about suicide can reduce stigma.

TRUE- Talking about and providing information on suicide reduces stigma and increases the likelihood that a person at risk of suicide will go to you in a time of need.

There are not any warning signs to predict suicide.

FALSE-There are several warning signs that indicate a person is thinking of suicide.

More people complete suicide in the mountain states?

TRUE- States along the Rocky Mountain region, as well as Alaska, have higher occurrences of suicide. Click here to see statistics from the American Association of Suicidology.

All people who are suicidal need to be on a mental health hold (commonly known as a M1) for 72-hours.

FALSE- While some individuals may need to be put on an M1, these cases are extreme. A person can be helped through taking about suicide and understanding their reasons. If you feel that you cannot talk to a person about suicide, there is help available. Remember, the crisis line, 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available at all times for a person in need, or if you are a caregiver assisting a person at risk.

All people who are suicidal need medication.

FALSE- While suicide is a frightening situation, not all people who are thinking of suicide need medication, however there are some people where medication would help them. This is something a person needs to discuss with a medical professional. Thoughts of suicide may be something a person has due to situation (i.e. job loss, loss of a spouse, shift in core believes, etc.), therefore it is necessary to evaluate everything going on in a person’s life before deciding if medication is the right answer .

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Suicide only happens to people in certain groups (i.e. teens, or those who are mentally ill, those who are poor, or terminally ill, etc.)

FALSE- Suicide does not happen in any one group of people, any single area, it knows no economic, gender, or geographical constrains. Every one can be at risk of suicide. There are factors that can leave people at a higher risk for suicide.

Mental health providers (counselors, therapists) are not at risk for suicide.

FALSE- Caregivers are not exempt from being humans; humans can have thoughts of suicide. Those who are helping others through trauma (as a first responder, or as a professional that helps after a traumatic event) are at more risk for suicide because of secondary trauma. While a caregiver hasn’t experienced the trauma first hand, it can be taxing for a person to help someone else traverse through trauma.

Have you come across other myths about suicide, or have other questions about things you have heard? Please go to our Contact Us page to relay your question.

Contact Us

The Suicide Prevention Coalition of the Eagle Valley

Monday - Friday 8am-5pm
Phone: 970-748-4410
E-Mail: info@speakupreachout.org