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5 Myths & 5 Facts About Suicide

People in a support group circle.

Actor and comedian Robin Williams was found dead on, August 11th, 2014, of an apparent suicide in his Tiburon, California home just north of San Francisco. Williams was said to have been dealing with substance abuse and depression. This is very sad news. Williams became one of the thousands of individuals who complete suicide each year in the USA. According to the American Association for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the USA. 48,183 people died by suicide in the USA according to the most recent statistic (2021) from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

National Suicide Prevention and Crisis Line Call or Text 988 or Text TALK to 741741

5 Myths and 5 Facts about Suicide

Myth 1 about suicide:

People who talk about suicide won’t actually do it and are just seeking attention.

Fact 1 about suicide:

People who talk about suicide often attempt suicide. Many people contemplating suicide actually share with others their thoughts about completing suicide and are in great emotional pain. This is your opportunity to help the person to get professional help.

Myth 2 about suicide:

If you suspect someone might be suicidal and you ask them about it, you will plant the idea in their minds.

Fact 2 about suicide:

You cannot plant an idea that is already in someone’s mind. Suicide is a complex issue, and asking someone if they are thinking about suicide gives the person an opportunity to talk with you about their current emotional crisis.

Myth 3 about suicide:

Teenagers and college students are at the highest risk for suicide.

Fact 3 about suicide:

Suicide affects all groups, including young children. However, suicide is most prevalent among females and males between the ages of 45 to 64. The one group with the highest suicide rate is white males over age 65.

Myth 4 about suicide:

Counseling and/or medications do not work

Fact 4 about suicide:

Getting appropriate professional mental health help is crucial to the prevention of suicide. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors very often occur in individuals who are experiencing significant mental health problems such as depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder but are not limited to these issues. Counseling and medications are very effective tools that help individuals manage distress and learn effective coping skills to address their emotional pain.

Myth 5 about suicide:

The suicide rate goes up during the Christmas season.

Fact 5 about suicide:

The suicide rate does not increase during the Christmas season. In fact, suicide rates tend to be the lowest during the month of December.

What can you do if someone shares that she or he is suicidal?

1. Acknowledge the person’s emotional pain.

2. Make the environment safer by removing access to items such as guns, pills, etc.

3. Get professional help.


National Suicide Prevention and Crisis Line

Call or Text 988 or Text TALK to 741741


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