September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about suicide and its prevention. It's a time for us to come together and educate ourselves about this critical issue that affects approximately 120 people a day in the UK, as well as their families, friends and community.
One crucial aspect of this awareness campaign is dispelling the myths and misconceptions surrounding suicide. By understanding the real facts, we can better support those in need and work towards a world with fewer tragedies.
In this blog, we'll explore some common myths about suicide and replace them with compassionate, evidence-based truths.
Common Myths and the Real Facts:
Myth 1: People Who Talk About Suicide Are Just Seeking Attention
Fact: This dangerous myth can lead to dismissing someone in distress. While some individuals may mention suicide as a cry for help, taking all mentions seriously is essential. Often, talking about suicide is a sign of deep emotional pain, and these individuals need support and understanding.
Myth 2: People Who Have Thoughts of Suicide Are Always Depressed
Fact: While depression is a significant risk factor for suicide, not all individuals who have thoughts of suicide exhibit classic signs of depression. People with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, or emotionally unstable personality disorder, can also be at risk. Additionally, situational factors like job loss, grief, or relationship problems can lead to someone to consider suicide.
Myth 3: You Can't Prevent Someone from Ending Their Own Life
Fact: This myth is particularly harmful as it may discourage people from intervening when they notice warning signs. Many suicides are preventable with early intervention and proper support. Talking openly with someone in crisis, connecting them to professional help, and offering empathy and hope can save lives.
Myth 4: People Who Attempt Suicide Are Weak or Selfish
Fact: This myth reflects a lack of understanding of the complexity of mental health and the stigma surrounding it. Individuals who have thoughts of suicide are not weak or selfish; they are struggling with unbearable emotional pain. Passing judgment only adds to their suffering and can deter them from seeking help.
Myth 5: Suicide Rates Are Higher During the Holidays
Fact: Contrary to popular belief, suicide rates do not necessarily spike during the holiday season. In fact, some studies have shown that suicide rates may be lower during holidays. However, loneliness and social isolation during this time can exacerbate existing mental health issues. It's essential to offer support and companionship to those who may be feeling isolated during holidays.
Myth 6: Talking About Suicide Will Plant the Idea in Someone's Head
Fact: Many people worry that discussing suicide will encourage thoughts of suicide. However, research suggests that open conversations about suicide can be protective. It allows individuals to share their feelings, reduces stigma, and increases the likelihood that they'll seek help.
Myth 7: Once Someone Considers Suicide, There's No Going Back
Fact: Thoughts of suicide are often transient, and many people who have considered suicide and received appropriate treatment and support go on to lead fulfilling lives. Early intervention and ongoing mental health care can make a significant difference in a person's life.
Myth 8: People Who Have Thoughts of Suicide Want to Die
Fact: Individuals thinking about suicide often want relief from their emotional pain, not necessarily death. They may believe that suicide is the only way to escape their suffering. With the right help and support, they can learn healthier coping mechanisms and find hope again.
Myth 9: Only Adults Think About Suicide
Fact: Tragically, children and adolescents can also consider suicide and show similar behaviours. These young individuals may be dealing with bullying, academic pressure, or family issues. It's crucial to be aware of warning signs and offer help to young people in need.
Myth 10: People Who Survive a Suicide Attempt Will Never Try Again
Fact: Surviving a suicide attempt is a critical opportunity for intervention, but it does not guarantee that a person won't try again. In fact, individuals who have attempted to end their own life are thought to be up to 40 times more likely to die by suicide. Follow-up care, ongoing support, and addressing the underlying issues are essential to reduce the risk of future attempts.
Dispelling myths about suicide is a vital step in creating a more compassionate and informed society. These misconceptions can perpetuate stigma and discourage individuals from seeking help when they need it most.
By understanding the real facts about suicide, we can better support those who are struggling and work together to prevent this tragic loss of life. On World Suicide Prevention Day and every day, let's commit to spreading awareness, fostering empathy, and offering a helping hand to those in need.
Summer Offer: We are so pleased to announce that we will be running our public/open Suicide First Aid Training courses during October. To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, we are offering a 20% discount on our Suicide First Aid Training courses when you book your place before 30th September.