Suicide Myths

A large part of preventing suicide is understanding suicide and mental illness

Understanding starts by knowing facts and ignoring myths. 

Here are some of the most common myths about suicide.

MYTH

FACT

1

Normal people don't experience depression.

Depression is extremely common, affecting 1 in every 7 or 8 Americans each year.

2

People who are thinking of suicide are just sad.

90% of individuals who commit suicide had some sort of diagnosable mental illness at the time of their death.  The most common are depression and bipolar disorders, followed closely by substance-related disorders and schizophrenia.

 3

People who commit suicide do so on impulse.

Between 75-80% of people who commit suicide display signs of thier suicidal thinking (e.g. talking about it, giving away their posessions, posting messages through social media).

 

 4

Suicidal people really want to die and nothing will stop them.

Many people who consider suicide are ambiguous about death and may talk or plan a suicide with the hopes someone will stop them.

5

Once someone tries to commit suicide they are at constant risk of doing it again.

Often the risk of suicide is high only during a specific period of time the person feels in particular crisis.  If provided help during that time suicide can be prevented.  Although previous attempts of suicide do increase the chances of future attempts, the person is not at "constant" risk.

 

6

People who commit suicide always leave a note.

Only 15-25% of people who commit suicide leave a note.  Notes often do not indicate the reasons for the suicide.

 

7

Once someone is feeling less depressed the chance of suicide is not as high.

Actually, when someone is feeling better the opportunity for suicide increases (they have more energy and feel they are thinking more clearly and able to plan a suicide more carefully).

 

8

Suicide rates increase around holidays.

Suicide rates actually decrease around holidays.

 

9

Suicide rates increase during winter months.

Suicide rates actually decrease during the winter.  In fact, it is in the spring when suicide rates increase.

 

10

Don't talk to someone about suicide or it may put the idea into their head.

Talking about suicide does not cause suicide.  In fact, talking openly about suicide helps to reduce the stimgma and shame surrounding it.  Consequently, talking about suicide helps to keep it from happening.