One has to wonder, what drives people to take their lives? Experts say that suicidal thoughts are a desperate cry for help, something that surfaces when the pain in one’s life exceeds the resources available to cope with the pain. Having suicidal thoughts doesn’t make someone bad, weak or unworthy of attention. But unfortunately, a lot of people don’t respond to the desperate cries for help with the required effectiveness or the sensitivity because of the many misconceptions they have about suicides and suicidal behavior. We’ll take a look at some of the misconceptions that get in our way of being there for someone who’s being suicidal.
Myths you need to get rid off. Facts you need to know.
Myth- Suicidal people have mental issues.
Fact– People who’re feeling suicidal haven’t necessarily been diagnosed with a chronic mental illness. They can just be upset, grief-stricken or are going through tough times.
Myth – Nothing can stop someone who’s being suicidal from taking the fatal step.
Fact – Suicidal people are constantly in a dilemma about where they should act on their suicidal tendencies or not. They even think of suicide in the first place, because they feel that they’ve no other choice but to end the pain by taking their lives.
Myth – People who commit suicide have never sought any professional help.
Fact – Studies show that suicidal people do ask for some form of medical assistance before deciding to act on their suicidal intentions. That’s why it becomes vital to not only notice the signs of suicidal behavior but also ensure that professional help is available right when one needs it.
Myth – Having morbid suicidal conversations gives people suicidal ideas.
Fact – This is incorrect. Talking openly about suicide with someone who’s battling several odds in their life will first of all make them feel that they’re not alone, and also glad that there’s someone who can understand their pain.
Myth – Once someone is suicidal, they will always remain suicidal.
Fact – The risk of acting on suicidal intentions is often short-term and triggered by the tough situations, people find themselves in. Having said that, even after recovery, suicidal thoughts may return, but that doesn’t make them permanent.
Myth – Suicide is an act of aggression, anger, or revenge.
Fact – Again, suicidal intentions are something that a person battles with when the pain in their lives is a lot more than what they’re capable of taking on. Most of the times, when suicidal people don’t get a safe outlet to express themselves, they think that suicide is probably the only way out of their suffering. Acting on their suicidal thoughts, you can say, is in no way an act of aggression.
Myth – Most suicides happen during the winters.
Fact – Agreed there are seasonal affective disorders, but the suicidal behavior is not season specific; a person could be tackling suicidal thoughts whenever they find themselves in a situation beyond the mental resilience they possess.
Myth – Suicidal people don’t want to talk about their problems.
Fact – Suicidal people don’t reveal their thoughts out of the fear of being misunderstood, ridiculed or sometimes even out of the concern for the well-being of their family members. But this doesn’t mean that they don’t communicate their anguish. Recognising these warning signs and taking them seriously is one of the first steps to saving them.
Myth – People talking about suicide under the influence of alcohol or drugs need not be taken seriously.
Fact – Consumption of alcohol and other drugs are one of the signs one has to look out for when trying to help someone who’s being suicidal. Often, it’s these very substances that can drive suicidal people to act on their intentions.
Myth – If someone confesses about committing suicide, you should keep it a secret.
Fact – Ideally, you should always seek permission from the person to inform or involve relevant others. However, you have a duty of care to ensure safety if you believe that the person presents an immediate risk to themselves.
Now that you’re aware of the facts about suicidal behavior, please don’t let the myths get in your way of understanding the situation of someone who’s being suicidal. If you can spot suicidal tendencies in someone close or someone else you know, please let them know that you’re there to support them and also remember, beyond a certain point encourage them to seek professional help.