February 16, 2008

Suicide Myths Vs. Facts

Myth: When people are talking about suicide, you should try to get their minds off it and change the subject.

Fact: No. When people talk about suicide, they're serious. Listen with care, let them express themselves, and offer any help you can.

Myth: People who talk about suicide will never actually kill themselves.

Fact: Eighty percent of people speak about their intent.

Myth: Suicide is for the weak.

Fact: Suicide is for the confused and desparate. Personally, I think one has to be very strong to take such a dramatic measure.

Myth: A promise to keep a note unopened and unread should always be kept.

Fact : Where the potential for harm, or actual harm, is disclosed then confidentiality cannot be maintained. A sealed note with the request for the note not to be opened is a very strong indicator that something is seriously amiss. A sealed note is a late sign in the progression towards suicide. Sometimes you have to break promises to the ones you love.

Myth: Attempted or completed suicides happen without warning.

Fact: Those who knew a suicide victim often say that the intention was hidden from them. It is more likely that the intention was not recognized. These warning signs include:
-The recent suicide/ or death by other means/ of a friend or relative.
-Previous suicide attempts.
-Preoccupation with themes of death or expressing suicidal thoughts.
-Depression, conduct disorder and problems with adjustment such as substance abuse- particularly when two or more of these are present.
-Giving away prized possessions/ making a will or other final arrangements.
-Major changes in sleep patterns-too much or too little.
-Sudden and extreme changes in eating habits/ losing or gaining weight.
-Withdrawal from friends/ family or other major behavioral changes.
-Dropping out of group activities.
-Personality changes such as nervousness/ outbursts of anger/ impulsive or reckless behavior/ or apathy about appearance or health.
-Frequent irritability or unexplained crying.
-Lingering expressions of unworthiness or failure.
-Lack of interest in the future

Myth : If a person attempts suicide and survives, they will never make a further attempt.

Fact : A suicide attempt is regarded as an indicator of further attempts. It is likely that the level of danger will increase with each further suicide attempt.

Myth : Once a person is intent on suicide, there is no way of stopping them.

Fact : Suicides can be prevented. People can be helped. Suicidal crises can be relatively short-lived. Suicide is a permanent solution to what usually a temporary problem. Immediate practical help such as staying with the person, encouraging them to talk and helping them build plans for the future, can avert the intention to attempt or complete suicide.

Myth :People who threaten suicide are just seeking attention.

Fact : All suicide attempts must be treated as though the person has the intent to die. Do not dismiss a suicide attempt as simply being an attention-gaining device. It is likely that the person has tried to gain attention and, therefore, this attention is needed. The attention that they get may well save their lives.

Myth : Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.

Fact : Talking about suicide provides the opportunity for communication. Fears that are shared are more likely to diminish. The first step in encouraging a suicidal person to live comes from talking about feeling. That first step can be the simple inquiry about whether or not the person is intending to end their life. If the answer is yes, ask if they know how they will do it. If they say yes again, ask if they have the means to do it(weapon, etc). If they do have it, take proper preventive care.

Myth : Only certain types of people become suicidal.

Fact : Everyone has the potential for suicide. The evidence is that predisposing conditions may lead to either attempted or completed suicides. It is unlikely that those who do not have the predisposing conditions (for example, depression, conduct disorder, substance abuse, feeling of rejection, rage, emotional pain and anger) will complete suicide.

Myth: Suicide is painless.

Fact : Um, no. Let's just use common logic here. Fiction writers obviously have never committed suicide, otherwise they wouldn't be writing. What is painless, though, is the worldly pain that is gone with death, which is what many seek to end.

Myth: When people who are suicidal feel better, they are no longer suicidal.

Fact: Sometimes suicidal people feel better because they have decided to die by suicide, and may feel a sense of relief that the pain will soon be over.

Myth: Young people never think about suicide, they have their entire life ahead of them.

Fact: Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24. Sometimes children under 10 die by suicide.

Myth : Break-ups in relationships happen so frequently, they do not cause suicide.

Fact :Suicide can be precipitated by the loss of a relationship.

Myth :Suicidal young people are insane or mentally ill.

Fact : Although suicidal adolescents are likely to be extremely unhappy and may be classified as having a mood disorder, such as depression, most are not legally insane.

Myth : Most suicides occur in winter months when the weather is poor.

Fact : Seasonal variation data are essentially based on adult suicides, with limited adolescent data available. However, it seems adolescent suicidal behavior is most common during the spring and early summer months.

Myth : Every death is preventable.

Fact : No matter how well intentioned, alert and diligent people's efforts may be, there is no way of preventing all suicides from occurring.

Thank you for reading this long, probably dry and boring post. I gathered this information from a variety of websites.

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