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MYTH

REALITY

If someone talks about suicide they are unlikely to actually do anything to harm themselves.

Many people who die by suicide have communicated their feelings, thoughts or plans before their death.

Suicide is always an impulsive act.

Many people who commit suicide have experienced suicidal thoughts and have contemplated taking their own life before the act.

Suicide is an expected or natural response to stress

Suicide is an abnormal outcome to stress. Everybody experiences stress…not everybody attempts suicide

Suicide is caused by stress

Suicide attempts or acts of self-harm may sometimes occur following an acute stressor (such as the break-up of a relationship or following an intense argument) but the event is a behavioural trigger not a cause of suicide.

People who are really at risk for suicide are not ambivalent about completing the act

The intensity of suicidality waxes and wanes many people who attempt or commit suicide struggle with their conviction to die

People who commit suicide are selfish and weak

 Many people who commit suicide suffer from mental disorder that may or may not have been recognised.

Someone who is smart and successful would never commit suicide

Be careful… remember, suicidality is often kept secret. “Suicide” has no cultural, ethnic, racial or socioeconomic boundaries.

Talking about suicide with a depressed person will probably cause them to commit suicide.

Man depressed people who have suicidal thoughts or plans are relieved when someone knows about them and is able to help them. Discussing suicidality with a depressed person will not lead them to commit suicide.

There is nothing that can be done for a person who is suicidal

Many individuals who attempt suicide may be suffering from a mental disorder that will respond to appropriate and effective treatment.

Appropriate treatment of a mental disorder significantly reduces the risk of suicide. For example, suicidality associated with depression usually resolves with effective treatment of the depressive disorder

People who attempt suicide are just looking for attention

In some people a suicide attempt is an event that leads to a first contact with a helping professional. A desperate cry for help is not equivalent to wanting attention.

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