Suicide Myths

Suicide myths get in the way of suicide prevention. Be ready to get down and dirty, because we’re going to be discussing a heavy topic that has a lot of stigma surrounding it within our society: suicide.

Suicide Stigma

If you just cringed after reading the word “suicide”, it’s understandable. There is so much we don’t understand about suicide because it’s a phenomenon that affects so many struggling individuals and their families increasingly every year. As a therapist, I work to normalize talking about suicide so more lives can be saved and more people don’t feel so alone in their pain.

I’ve worked with so many clients in inpatient hospitals suffering from self-harming behaviors, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts because. They talk about their pain being so strong and that they feel isolated and don’t have anyone they can share their most horrible thoughts with.

The rate of suicide is quickly increasing every year, and it is the second leading cause of death between people ages 15-24 years old. One reason we’re seeing such an increase is because of the growth of social media and the unlimited access we have into seeing other people’s lives. This contributes to why we may compare ourselves to others and can potentially feel inadequate in our own lives.

Something major to understand about suicide is that people who want to kill themselves have often expressed that it’s not about wanting to die, it’s about wanting to escape their pain. They describe it as feeling trapped in this cycle of unbearable pain and they can’t imagine getting through this obstacle.

Common Suicide Myths

Some common myths surrounding suicide are:

  • Only certain people are at risk for committing suicide.
    Suicide does not have a face. Any and everybody is at risk for being hit with suicidal thoughts even if they’ve never experienced it before. It can happen to anyone, even the people who you least expect.
  • If they talk about it openly, they won’t do it.
    A lot of times, we assume that if a person openly talks about suicide, they don’t have any intentions of killing themself. This is false. Actually, this can be a person’s cry for help in hopes that you open the door to offering them help or a shoulder to lean on.
  • If I ask them if they’re suicidal, they may go through with it.
    It’s completely undertsandable to feel afraid to ask someone if they are thinking about killing themself. It’s so hard to even think about someone we care about feeling that desperate and hopeless. However, research shows that asking a person if they’re suicidal does not increase their chances of actually committing the act. If anything, it opens the door for transparency.
  • They’re just saying that to get attention. 
    It’s not a secret that there are individuals out there who may use their threats of suicide as a manipulative tactic. However, its best to take every threat seriously, because it only takes one time for it to be the last time. Also, passing the person on to a mental health professional is needed to uncover the real issues.

Next Steps

There are so many more myths about suicide that we didn’t discuss, but if you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, it helps to talk to someone. We at Empower Counseling can help you to not feel alone in this journey and strive to help you see a life outside of your pain. We can assist.

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