I hear many wildly incorrect statements about suicide; like how people who die by suicide are selfish, weak or must have come from a troubled home. Maybe it makes people feel better to pass judgment, believing they don’t have these negative qualities or experiences. But I prefer to believe that if people knew better, they’d change their behavior. Which is exactly my reason for writing this – it’s time to tell you the truth about these suicide lies.
- Lie: People who are suicidal want to die.
Truth: People who are suicidal want to end their pain.
- Lie: People who talk about suicide are just trying to get attention or trying to manipulate others.
Truth: People who talk about suicide are inviting you to help them. Don’t ever make the mistake that people don’t mean it when they say it.
- Lie: Suicide occurs without any warning signs.
Truth: Suicidal people give some sign of their intentions.
- Lie: Once someone decides to attempt suicide, there is nothing you can do to stop them.
Truth: Suicide is preventable. Although we cannot control the actions of another person, we can influence them – this is why getting the right kind of support at the right time is so important.
- Lie: Suicide only affects people of a certain gender, race, financial status, etc.
Truth: Suicide knows no demographic boundaries, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Source.
- Lie: People who attempt suicide are weak.
Truth: People who attempt suicide are exhausted from being strong for so long. Most suicide victims had a mental disorder at the time of their death. Source.
- Lie: Most people die by suicide during the holidays or winter months.
Truth: The highest rate of suicide occurs in the spring, contrary to the popular “holiday blues” myth. My brother died in February, and I believe this was because he was hoping for one more holiday with his family before he left us.
The lesson here is one that our moms and grandmas have been telling us since we were little: think before you speak. You have no excuse not to now that you know the truth about suicide. Please stop perpetuating the stigma and taboo that surrounds suicide. This can save lives by encouraging vulnerable people to seek help without feeling shame.