Suicide—the taking of one’s own life – is a one of the most controversial mental health issues very few of us want to discuss. But as with anything else, not talking about it doesn’t make it go away. Nor does it make fewer people consider it less often when their thinking and judgment are impaired. So, if we don’t want to talk about what’s been on the minds of millions of people at least once in their life, how else do we help people who feel hopeless begin to feel hopeful?
Myth: Avoiding conversations about suicide will likely discourage others from dying by suicide. The real truth is that people want to talk about how they feel. At minimum, people in despair want others to at least acknowledge their pain therefore no one should overestimate the power of addressing head on thoughts of suicide.
Myth: Most times, when people say they’re going to commit suicide they’re not serious. Absolutely untrue! Never assume that when someone talks about suicide, even in the event it may seem facetious, that they will not act on it. Take them seriously and seriously direct your concern to them. If a person has a history of attempted suicide, access to firearms or other weapons, a plan or a history of mental illness the risk is that much greater that they will attempt to harm themselves. In most cases, people attempt to harm themselves 25 times unsuccessfully before they complete a suicide.
Myth: Real men don’t commit suicide! In reality, men are twice as likely to die by suicide than women. Men also use more lethal methods such as firearms and hanging. Deciding to end one’s life is not a question of masculinity; it is a choice of whether to live with the pain or to end it.
Myths are fairytales we make up when the truth may not appear as interesting. They exist because we create them and we share them with the world. But suicide is never an issue anyone should falsify or take lightly. If you or someone you know feels like they’re at their breaking point and don’t know where to turn, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Asha Tarry, Licensed Mental Health Specialist and Owner of Behavioral Health Consulting Services LMSW, PLLC (www.BHConsultingServices.net). Follow her @ashtarry on Twitter/ Asha Tarry on Facebook and LinkedIN.