Myths & Facts

MYTH: People who talk about suicide just want attention.

FACT: Talking about suicide is a warning sign. Warning signs should be listened to.

MYTH: Asking someone if they are suicidal will put the idea into their mind.

FACT: Asking someone about suicide directly opens up the channels to talk honestly

and openly about the problem, They feel listened to and better able to identify what is happening for them.

MYTH: If a person wants to take their life nothing can stop it happening.

FACT: Thoughts of suicide are usually a response to intense pain that the person has been

unable to manage rather than a desire to die.

MYTH: If you promise to keep someone's suicide plans secret you should keep that promise.

FACT: You should never promise to keep suicide plans a secret. Telling you about the plan can be a sign they want help. It's a massive burden to carry should that person act on those thoughts.

MYTH: People who attempt suicide and survive never try again.

FACT: Many people who die by suicide have attempted in the past. A previous attempt is one of the strongest predictors of future death by suicide so it is important to take all attempts seriously.

MYTH: A sudden improvement means everything is getting better and the danger time for the person to attempt suicide has passed.

FACT: It could be the complete opposite. It could mean that the person has made a final decision to die by suicide and feels 'at peace' because they believe they may be closer to ending their pain.

MYTH: Most suicidal people never ask for help.

FACT: People may not ask for help directly. Many people seek help from friends, contact their doctor or health professional in the 3 months before attempting suicide.

MYTH: Suicide happens without warning.

FACT: Often there are signs that someone has been thinking about suicide for sometime, but these can be difficult to pick up, especially if the person goes to great lengths to hide how they are feeling.

MYTH: The only people who can really help are professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors etc.

FACT: There are many people who can help. Most important are the people 'there' including family and friends. Everyone can be a part of creating a suicide safe community.

MYTH: Suicidal people are always mentally ill.

FACT: Suicide is complex and many factors can be involved. Mental health problems can increase vulnerability to suicide but doesn't mean a person will have thoughts of suicide. Mental health problems can affect motivation and openness to help seeking so we need to be aware of the possible risk.