DEFINITIONS AND CONCEPTIONS OF SUICIDE
• Suicide: Suicide is death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die.
• Suicide attempt: A suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with the intent to end their life, but they do not die as a result of their actions; they may not even have injuries.
• Suicidal ideation: Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering, or planning suicide.
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SUICIDE
Misconception: “People who talk about suicide won’t really do it; they just want attention.”
Fact: According to research, roughly 80% of people who died of suicide do or say something as an indicator or warning sign of his or her intentions. Never ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead” or “I can’t see any way out” may indicate serious suicidal feelings. A joking tone can mask the seriousness of the thought.
Misconception: “Anyone who tried to kill him/herself must be crazy.”
Fact: People are not “crazy.” They might have a psychiatric disorder, and they are real medical diseases that require assessment, treatment and monitoring to prevent a tragedy.
Misconception: “If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.”
Fact: Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
Misconception: “People who have died by suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.”
Fact: Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help within six months before their deaths. Many try to get the help they need, but sometimes the help isn’t enough or the right kind of help. Sometimes suicide victims’ illness itself keeps them from following through with their treatment plans.
Misconception: “Talking about suicide may encourage the idea.”
Fact: A suicidal person will not have suicidal ideation simply by someone talking about suicide. The opposite is true. Bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do and has been proven to be a protective factor for preventing suicide.
Misconception: “If a person is suicidal, his situation was probably so bad that death was the only option.”
Fact: The perceptions of depressed individuals are often more severe than the actual event. Many individuals who do not carry on with the act manage through similar events. Death is never the only option.