5 Common Misconceptions About Suicide and Understanding the Real Facts

Content Warning: Suicide, Self-Harm, Trauma, Psychiatric Hospitalization

Suicide has always caused a great deal of upheaval and is only continuing to grow as a national public health crisis. 

However, suicide also comes with a few misconceptions because of its ubiquitous nature, and those who have had personal encounters with suicide are often terribly misunderstood. Below we’ve composed some of the top misconceptions—Read on to learn more. 

Suicide: Quick Facts

Only the facts about suicide will help foster honest conversation with family and friends who may be suffering from the threatening behavior of suicidal thoughts. 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), suicide is the second-leading cause of death among people ages 10-34 in the United States. Suicide does not leave one rock unturned. In 2020, 41,000 individuals died by suicide, 1.3 million adults attempted suicide, 2.7 million adults planned to attempt suicide, and 9.3 million adults had suicidal thoughts.

Suicide: Mythology

While the statistics are staggering, the mythology surrounding suicide and suicidal attempts exist only to perpetuate the given issue. Here are some myths or misconceptions about suicide that could help begin to change the conversation.

Myth One: Suicide ONLY Affects Mental Health

While suicidal thoughts are often associated with mental illness, it is an unfair sentiment to convey that suicidal behavior only affects those with mental illness or cognitive deficiencies. Several individuals with mental health conditions are unaffected by suicidal thought patterns. Suicide ranges in who it impacts, and stressors can include any number of things (work, stress, relationships, etc.)

Myth Two: A Suicidal Person is ALWAYS Suicidal

Suicidal ideation is typically “short-term and situation-specific.” According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC), nearly 54% of individuals who died by suicide did not have any diagnosable mental health disorder(s). Treatment for suicidal ideation is effective and often resolves the immediate speculation or behavior patterns. 

Myth Three: Most Suicides are WITHOUT Warning

Warning signs, while not always explicitly shown, precede most suicides. Therefore, it’s essential to learn and understand these warnings, particularly those closest to the affected, to mitigate the potential risk of suicide.

Myth Four: Suidice Attempts are SELFISH

While somewhat abstract, this could not be further from the truth. People do not die by suicide because they do not want to live — they want to end their suffering. Moreover, individuals who suffer death by suicide are often suffering in a way consonant with depressiveness and hopelessness. 

Myth Five: Talking About Suicide Increases Suicide

Conversations surrounding suicide reduces the stigma of suicidal ideation and provides a free space for people to find help, reconsider, share their story, and learn a better path forward. It also helps community support and relational systems learn better conversation tactics for discussing suicide with their friends, families, and coworkers. 

Seeking Professional Help for Suicidal Thoughts | Seneca Health Services

Have you been the victim of suicidal thoughts? Have you turned to alternative forms of coping? We are passionate about healing our community, and our team is ready to help. 

At Seneca Health Services, we have over 40 years of experience providing behavioral health services throughout southeastern West Virginia. We offer crisis assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year to assist and support individuals, arrange and coordinate treatment services, and ensure that all of your basic needs are met. 

If you’d like to learn more about our services, contact Seneca Health at 888.SENECA9 or use the link provided. We know it’s hard to take the first step –– let us help.