Vitality and Health

#GQ4GH: Myths about suicide busted

One unfortunate outcome of failing to deal with depression is suicide. The World Health Organisation estimates that over 800,000 deaths worldwide per year are due to suicide. Adolescents and young adults, between the ages 15-29 years, are the most affected. Fortunately, like depression suicide is preventable. Key to preventing suicide is sensitisation (learning and talking more about suicide), stopping stigma and providing love and support to those affected.

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Here are six myths about depression BUSTED!

Myth 1: People who talk about suicide do not mean to do it.

Fact: People who talk about suicide may be reaching out for help or support. A significant number of people contemplating suicide are experiencing anxiety, depression, and hopelessness and may feel that there is no other option.

Myth 2: Most suicides happen suddenly without warning.

Fact: The majority of suicides have been preceded by warning signs, whether verbal or behavioural. Of course, there are some suicides that occur without warning. But it is important to understand what the warning signs are and look out for them.

Myth 3: Someone who is suicidal is determined to die.

Fact: On the contrary, suicidal people are often ambivalent about
living or dying. Someone may act impulsively by drinking pesticides,
for instance, and die a few days later, even though they would have
liked to live on. Access to emotional support at the right time can
prevent suicide.

Myth 4: Once someone is suicidal, he or she will always
remain suicidal.

Fact: Heightened suicide risk is often short-term and situation-specific. While suicidal thoughts may return, they are not permanent and an individual with previously suicidal thoughts and attempts can go on to live a long life.

Myth 5: Only people with mental disorders are suicidal.

Fact: Suicidal behaviour indicates deep unhappiness but not necessarily mental disorder. Many people living with mental disorders are not affected by suicidal behaviour, and not all people who take their own lives have a mental disorder.

Myth 6: Talking about suicide is a bad idea and can be interpreted as encouragement.

Given the widespread stigma around suicide, most people who are
contemplating suicide do not know who to speak to. Rather than
encouraging suicidal behaviour, talking openly can give an
individual other options or the time to rethink his/her decision, thereby preventing suicide.


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Source: World Health Organisation

Additional Links:

Suicide Prevention: How to help someone who is suicidal and save a life | HELPGUIDE.ORG

Preventing Suicide: A global perspective | World Health Organisation 

Preventing suicide: A short video (05:44) | World Health Organisation

What cause depression and anxiety: A short animated video (05:58) | Mind Set

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