Myths about suicide

To help break the stigma of talking about suicide, SuicideLine Victoria is looking at some of the common suicide myths and facts. We hope this will help you reach out to someone in your life who may be overwhelmed and not coping.

To help break the stigma of talking about suicide, we’re looking at some of the common myths about suicide, and comparing them to the facts. We hope this will help you reach out to someone in your life who may not be coping.

 

Suicide myth

Asking someone if they are suicidal will put the idea in their head.

 

Fact

You cannot make a person suicide by showing that you are concerned. You should speak up if you are worried. You can ask the person directly if they are feeling suicidal or if they have been thinking about suicide. By discussing it openly and honestly, you are giving the person the opportunity to express their feelings and provide them with some relief from feeling isolated.

 

Suicide myth

There are no warning signs that someone may be suicidal.

 

Fact

A person who is thinking about suicide will usually give some clues or signs to those around them that show they are distraught and overwhelmed. Our resource on recognising warning signs has a list of physical, conversational and behavioural changes to look out for and how to respond.

 

Suicide myth

It’s my fault they feel suicidal.

 

Fact

It is not your fault. Suicide is complex, and many things can contribute to a person’s risk. The feelings and thoughts of a suicidal person are based on factors mostly outside your control. It could be their interpretation of a stressful event or the way they view their future.

 

Suicide myth

If someone talks about suicide, they probably don’t intend to follow through with it.

 

Fact

If someone talks about suicide or self-harms they are probably reaching out for help. It can mean they are seriously considering it. You can call SuicideLine Victoria on 1300 651 251 for help. If it is an emergency, call 000.

 

Suicide myth

Once a person feels suicidal, they will always feel that way.

 

Fact

Suicidal thoughts are not permanent, and a person can change their mind. People can get help and go on to live long and healthy lives.

 

Suicide myth

Only people diagnosed with mental disorders are suicidal.

 

Fact

Not everyone who is suicidal has a mental disorder. Many people with mental disorders are not affected by suicidal behaviour.

 

Suicide myth

Suicide is an act of selfishness.

 

Fact

Many people who attempt suicide feel like they are a burden and family and friends will be better off without them. The person may feel hopeless and believe that things will never improve.

 

We need to dispel these suicide myths if we’re going to help people in our community. If you are concerned about someone: Ask, listen, support, encourage and check-in.

 

If you need support, call SuicideLine Victoria on 1300 651 251.

If it is an emergency, call 000.

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