5 Myths About Suicide. Knowing resources and answers will assist in helping those you love.
When it comes to suicide, there’s a lot of competing information that makes it hard to tell myth from fact. But knowing the facts may allow us to take lifesaving steps to help our children.
Lets test your knowledge about the myths surrounding suicide and learn the next best step when a child is showing warning signs.
1) Asking your child about suicide will put ideas in his/her head.
Answer 1: False.
When someone is having suicidal thoughts, being asked about it is often a relief. Actually saying the words, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” opens the door for your child to talk about his or her emotional struggles. As difficult as it may be to talk about suicide, it is an important step toward increasing your child’s safety.
2) Which of the following are warning signs for suicide?
- Talking about death or suicide
- Saying statements like “I’d be better off dead”
- Previous suicide attempts
- All of the above
Answer 2: All of the above.
Talking about death or suicide is a warning sign and needs to be taken seriously. Far more often than not, suicide is a response to intense emotional pain rather than a way to seek attention.
Knowing the risk factors is important. Here is a resource for some of the warning signs of suicide.
3) If someone wants to kill him/herself, nothing can be done.
Answer 3: False.
Most people who attempt suicide do not want to die; they want the pain to stop.
Suicide is preventable through professional treatment. Just like any other medical condition, treatment is needed to manage the symptoms of depression. There are many types of treatment and sometimes a combination of services is most helpful. Learn more about treatment options.
4) All teens who die by suicide spend a lot of time planning how they will make an attempt.
Answer 4: False.
Suicide can be an impulsive act.
Teens, particularly males, are more likely to attempt suicide on impulse and less likely to plan in advance. Those parts of the brain responsible for managing intense emotions and planning are among the last to develop. The use of alcohol and drugs increase the risk of suicide even more. When suicide warning signs do occur, take safety precautions such as restricting access to firearms, medications, sharp objects and ropes/cords, and increase your supervision of your child.
5) Which of the following are TRUE about teens seeking help for suicidal thoughts?
- Teens will reach out to peers or trusted adults who show they are willing to listen.
- Teens who are suicidal may not know where to start or don’t think anything will help.
- Teens may be afraid that if they try to get help they won’t be taken seriously.
- Teens may be afraid they’ll be rejected by their friends or punished by adults for reaching out.
- All of the above
Answer 5: All of the above.
Teens will reach out to peers or trusted adults who show they are willing to listen. We should not assume that it is easy or natural to talk about suicidal feelings; however, we need to invite this conversation with understanding and compassion. Then we need to help those individuals get linked with professional supports.
Additionally, the myth that all teens are moody and cannot have “real depression” interferes with a full understanding of this mental disorder. Depression can impact one’s life in many ways, including relationships, academics, health and mood.
Know that millions of people who live with depression never attempt suicide. It is when people with depression start feeling hopeless and helpless, and their pain exceeds their resources for coping with pain is when suicide is most likely to occur.
For parents of children and adolescents, its important to let their children know you take them seriously and that you are there to help them manage intense emotions. Even those that lead them to believe that life is not worth living.
Learn More about suicidal behavior.
Resources to share:
- How to talk to kids about Suicide
- Free Download: Your Child Has Thought About Ending Their Life – What’s Next?
- Stopping Stigma: How We All Can Play a Role
Sharing the Suicide Crisis Line
Copy and paste this text on your social media:
You don’t have to struggle alone. Help is always available. If you or your child need immediate help due to having suicidal thoughts, go to your local emergency room immediately, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or you can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
Know there is help and how to get it. Contact Empower Tusc for resources to help you or someone you care about with mental illness or suicide.