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Suicide Myths and Facts

Myth: People who talk about killing themselves rarely commit suicide.
Fact: Most people who commit suicide have given some verbal clues or warning of their intention.

Myth: The tendency toward suicide is inherited and passed from generation to generation.
Fact: Although suicidal behavior does tend to run in families, it does not appear to be transmitted genetically.

Myth: The suicidal person wants to die and feels that there is no turning back.
Fact: Suicidal people are usually ambivalent about dying and frequently will seek help immediately after attempting the harm themselves.

Myth: All suicidal people are deeply depressed.
Fact: Although depression is often closely associated with suicidal feelings, not all people who kill themselves are obviously depressed. In fact some suicidal people appear to be happier than they've been in years because they have decided to "resolve" all of their problems by killing themselves. Also, people who are extremely depressed usually do not have the energy to kill themselves.

Myth: There is no correlation between alcoholism and suicide.
Fact: Alcoholism and suicide often go hand in hand. Alcoholics are prodded to suicidal behavior and even people who don't normally drink will often ingest alcohol shortly before killing themselves.

Myth: Suicidal people are mentally ill.
Fact: Although many suicidal people are depressed and distraught, most could not be diagnosed as mentally ill; perhaps only about 25 percent of them are actually psychotic.

Myth: Once someone attempts suicide, that person will always entertain thoughts of suicide.
Fact: Most people who are suicidal are so for only a very brief period once in their lives. If the person receives the proper support and assistance, he/she will probably never be suicidal again. Only about 10 percent of the people who attempt later kill themselves.

Myth: If you ask someone about their suicidal intentions, you will only encourage them to kill themselves.
Fact: Actually the opposite is true. Asking someone directly about their suicidal intentions will often lower their anxiety level and act as a deterrent to suicidal behavior by encouraging the ventilation of pent-up emotions through a frank discussion of his problems.

Myth: Suicide is quite common among the lower class.
Fact: Suicide crosses all socioeconomic distinctions and no one class is more susceptible to it than another.

Myth: Suicidal people rarely seek medical attention.
Fact: Research has consistently shown that about 75 percent of suicidal people will visit a physician within the month before they kill themselves.



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APA Reference
Staff, H. (2007, August 10). Suicide Myths and Facts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, October 29 from https://www.healthyplace.com/gender/gay-is-ok/suicide-myths-and-facts

Last Updated: April 12, 2017

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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