Suicide Myths & Facts

Myth #1: Once someone is suicidal, he or she will always remain suicidal.
Fact #1: 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 #2: Talking about suicide can be interpreted as encouragement.
Fact #2: Because there is widespread stigma around suicide, most people who are thinking about suicide do not know who to speak to. Rather than encouraging suicidal behavior, talking openly can give an individual other options or the time to rethink his/her decision, thereby preventing suicide.

Myth #3: Only people with mental disorders are suicidal.
Fact #3: Suicidal behavior indicates deep unhappiness but not necessarily mental disorder. Many people living with mental disorders are not affected by suicidal behavior, and not all people who take their own lives have a mental disorder.

Myth #4: Most suicides happen suddenly without warning.
Fact #4: The majority of suicides have been preceded by warning signs, whether verbal or behavioral. 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 #5: Someone who is suicidal is determined to die.
Fact #5: On the contrary, suicidal people are often ambivalent about living or dying. Impulsive behavior is sometimes followed by reaching out for help from friends, family or emergency services. Access to emotional support at the right time can prevent suicide.

Myth #6: People who die by suicide are selfish and take the easy way out.
Fact #6: Typically, people do not die by suicide because they do not want to live—people die by suicide because they want to end their suffering. They often times think that loved ones will be better off without them. These individuals are suffering so deeply that they feel helpless and hopeless. Individuals who experience suicidal ideations do not do so by choice. They are not simply, “thinking of themselves,” but rather they are going through a very serious mental health symptom due to either mental illness or a difficult life situation.