8 common myths about suicide
Understanding these myths around suicide can help us to support people who feel suicidal
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
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There are many misconceptions about people who have suicidal thoughts or who die by suicide. As a result, there are people who could be feeling suicidal who might not reach out for help, because they might feel misunderstood.
In order to support people experiencing suicidal thoughts, it’s important we understand more about the topic and be able to separate myth from fact.
8 myths about suicide
Here are 8 myths you might have heard about suicide:
Myth #1: Suicide happens without warning
People thinking of suicide may talk or act in ways that indicate they are planning to die by suicide. Find out more about some of the warning signs.
Myth #2: People who talk about suicide don’t actually go through with it
Most people who die by suicide have given definite warning signs of their intention. Some of these signs are direct, others are more subtle. Learn more about these warning signs.
Myth #3: People with suicidal thoughts are absolutely intent on dying
People with suicidal thoughts can have mixed feelings about living and dying. They may not want to die, but they don’t want to live the way they are living, and may not be able to see an alternative other than suicide. Learn more about suicide.
Myth #4: Once a person thinks of suicide, they will have those thoughts forever
Suicidal thoughts may return, but they are not permanent. With support, it is possible to overcome suicidal thoughts and they might never return again.
Myth #5: An improvement after a crisis means the suicide risk is over
Some suicides happen when things seem to be getting better because the person now has the energy and can turn suicidal thoughts and ideas into action.
Sometimes, people may appear in better spirits following a crisis because they have formed a plan in their mind to end their life.
Myth #6: Suicide happens mainly among people from poor backgrounds
Suicide happens in all groups in society, and can affect anyone. Learn more about who is at risk of suicide.
Myth #7: You are either the suicidal type or you’re not
Anyone could feel suicidal, even if they don’t have a history of suicidal thoughts or behaviours. Suicide can affect anyone, and no one person is the “suicidal type” or not.
Myth #8. Talking about suicide is a bad idea as it may give someone the idea to try it
The best thing you can do if you are worried about someone is to talk to them about it. Often, people feeling suicidal don’t want to worry or burden anyone so they don’t discuss it. By asking about suicide you give them permission to tell you how they feel. Once someone starts talking they’ve got a better chance of discovering their options beyond suicide. Find out more about how to talk to someone who might be suicidal.
Some content thanks to the National Office for Suicide Prevention. Visit yourmentalhealth.ie for information on mental health in Ireland, and how to support yourself and the people you love.
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