Recently, I’ve written some posts regarding suicide, as September is National Suicide Prevention Month. It’s a major public health issue, and it’s on all of us to do what we can to prevent it.
In my previous post, I’ve presented the warning signs of a suicidal person, and some steps you can take to help someone who exhibits one or more of those signs.
And, once again, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. The call is free, and the line is open 24/7.
Today, I want to pass along some information from the World Health Organization, regarding some popular myths surrounding suicide, along with the facts that dispel them.
MYTH: “Once someone is suicidal, he or she will always remain suicidal.”
THE TRUTH: “Heightened suicide risk is often short-term and situation-specific. While suicidal thoughts may return, they are not permanent and an individual with previously suicidal thoughts and attempts can go on to live a long life.”
MYTH: “Talking about suicide is a bad idea, and can be interpreted as encouragement.” (I believed this one.)
THE TRUTH: “Given the widespread stigma around suicide, most people who are contemplating suicide do not know who to speak to. Rather than encouraging suicidal behaviour, talking openly can give an individual other options or the time to rethink his/her decision, thereby preventing suicide.”
MYTH: “Only people with mental disorders are suicidal.”
THE TRUTH: “Suicidal behaviour indicates deep unhappiness but not necessarily mental disorder. Many people living with mental disorders are not affected by suicidal behaviour, and not all people who take their own lives have a mental disorder.”
MYTH: “Most suicides happen suddenly, without warning.”
THE TRUTH: “The majority of suicides have been preceded by warning signs, whether verbal or behavioural. Of course there are some suicides that occur without warning. But it is important to understand what the warning signs are and look out for them.”
MYTH: “Someone who is suicidal is determined to die.”
THE TRUTH: “Fact: On the contrary, suicidal people are often ambivalent about living or dying. Someone may act impulsively by drinking pesticides, for instance, and die a few days later, even though they would have liked to live on. Access to emotional support at the right time can prevent suicide.”
MYTH: “People who talk about suicide do not mean to do it.”
THE TRUTH: “People who talk about suicide may be reaching out for help or support. A significant number of people contemplating suicide are experiencing anxiety, depression and hopelessness and may feel that there is no other option.”
Did you see any myths you thought to be true? That’s why it’s important for us to learn what the real truths are, so that we can clear up the misunderstandings in our society regarding suicide.
I hope I’ve passed along some valuable information to all of you. You can find much more at http://www.bethe1to.com/ or https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or several other terrific websites related to suicide prevention. It’s something we all need more education about, so that we can be better equipped to help family members, friends, co-workers, who we see all the time, yet may not have a clue how badly they hurt inside. Knowing this information just might make a difference.
I’ll wrap this up next time with some personal thoughts and observations. Wishing you all well.