MYTH 1: Asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.
Serious talk about suicide does not create or increase risk; it can help to reduce it. The best way to identify the possibility of suicide is to ask directly. Openly listening to and discussing someone's thoughts of suicide can be a source of relief for them and can be key to preventing the immediate danger of suicide.
MYTH 2: People who talk about suicide never attempt or complete suicide.
People who talk about their suicidal thoughts do attempt suicide. Many people who complete suicide have told someone about their suicidal feelings in the weeks prior to their death. Listening and supporting a person in these circumstances can save lives.
MYTH 3: If a person has made previous attempts they won't do it for real.
Those who have attempted suicide once are at increased risk of attempting again. They need to be taken seriously and given support to help towards finding a resolution for their suicidal thoughts and actions.
MYTH 4: If somebody wants to end their life they will, there is nothing anybody can do.
Most people contemplating suicide do not want to die, they just want to end the pain they are experiencing. Although there are some occasions when nobody could have predicted a suicide, in most cases if appropriate help and support is offered to a person and they are willing to accept this help, a tragic outcome may be averted.
MYTH 5: Some people are always suicidal.
Some groups, sub-cultures or ages are particularly associated with suicide. Whilst some groups, such as young men, seem to be at increased risk, suicide can affect all ages, genders and cultures. Many people think about suicide in passing at some time or another. There isn't a 'type' for suicide, and whilst there may be warning signs, they aren't always noticed. Whilst those who have made an attempt on their own life in the past can be at increased risk of completing suicide, people can and do move on in their lives.
MYTH 6: When a person begins to feel better, the danger is over.
Often the risk of suicide can be greatest as depression lifts, or when a person appears to be calm after a period of turmoil. This can be because once a decision to attempt suicide is made, people may feel they have a solution, however desperate it may be.