Suicide is a complex topic, surrounded by stigma, misinformation, and myths. As a result, people with suicidal thoughts can feel a sense of shame, guilt and isolation which can prevent them from reaching out for help. Additionally, it can be difficult for people who haven’t experienced suicidal thoughts to understand suicide as well as recognise when someone is at risk.
With approximately 9 lives lost to suicide per day in Australia, further understanding, destigmatising and debunking myths about suicide are crucial in reducing this number.
Below are 5 myths about suicide that may help you better understand suicide
1. If someone talks about suicide they aren’t going to do it
Speaking about suicide isn’t attention-seeking and could be someone reaching out for help. If someone talks to you about their suicidal thoughts you should take this seriously, listen to them and support them to reach out for help.
2. Asking someone about suicide will put the idea in their head
Talking to someone about suicide has been shown not to increase the risk of someone taking their life. Talking to someone about suicide can show you care, provide them support and actually be a protective factor stopping them from taking their life.
3. You cannot stop someone who is contemplating suicide
Suicide can be prevented, however, it isn’t unavoidable. There are mental health interventions that are effective in reducing the risk of suicide.
4. People who are suicidal have a mental illness
People who have suicidal thoughts do not always have a mental illness, similarly, not all people who have a mental illness have suicidal thoughts.
5. If someone is suicidal, they will experience suicidal thoughts for the rest of their life
Suicidal thoughts can be reduced and overcome. There are mental health interventions that are effective in reducing suicidal thoughts.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please contact a mental health hotline, or if it is an emergency please ring 000.
If you or someone you know would like to get support and learn more about suicidal interventions, reach out to Elise Yaxley, or any of our clinicians. Contact us on (03) 9327 2769.