Suicide Myths and Facts

Myth: Suicidal people are fully intent on dying. Nothing others do or say can help.

Fact: Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal people desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.

Myth: Suicide happens without warning.

Fact: There are almost always warning signs, but others are often unaware of the significance of the warnings or unsure about what to do.

Myth: People who talk about suicide do not commit suicide.

Fact: Most people who commit suicide have talked about or given definite warning signs of their suicidal intentions.

Myth: Improvement in a suicidal person means the danger is over.

Fact: Many suicides occur several months after the beginning of improvement, when a person has energy to act on suicidal thoughts.

Myth: Suicide is more common in lower socio-economic groups.

Fact: Suicide cuts across social and economic boundaries.

Myth: All suicidal individuals are depressed.

Fact: Depression is often associated with suicidal feelings but not all persons who attempt or commit suicide are depressed. A number of other emotional factors may be involved.

Myth: Young people are more likely than old people to commit suicide.

Fact: People 65 and older kill themselves at a higher rate than those aged 15-24.

Myth: Asking “Are you thinking about committing suicide?” may trigger a person to make a suicide attempt.

Fact: Asking direct, caring questions about suicide will often minimize a person’s anxiety and act as a deterrent to suicidal behavior.