10 Myths about suicidal people

Contributed by

There are several myths that are circulated about suicidal people, which unfortunately contributes to the stigma and stigma that surrounds them. In order for these people to feel better understood and to be more comfortable asking for or receiving help, it is important to break down these preconceptions. Here are 10 myths about suicidal people that it is better to revisit to find out what it really is. 

Myth # 1: Suicidal people are determined to die

Reality: suicidal people don't want to die

A person with thoughts of suicide wants to stop suffering , not stop living. In fact, this person is ambivalent, which means that they are torn between their desire to live and the desire to end their suffering. Moreover, it is this ambivalence that ensures that the person is still alive and that they will accept or ask for help, sometimes even in a situation where they are about to take action, because part of her wishes to continue living.

It is therefore important that people who are thinking about suicide have access to help and psychological support. This can help prevent suicides. Remember that there are ways to help a person in distress regain hope.

Myth # 2: a person who commits suicide is a coward or courageous person

Reality: suicide is not about cowardice or courage

When we think that a person has shown cowardice or courage in taking his own life, it is because we think that the person has made the rational choice to kill himself. However, a person does not commit suicide by choice, but rather because he feels that he has no other options to face his difficulties and that he has lost hope that his situation will change. or improves.

With help, however, it is possible that these people will regain hope. Calling on support services allows, among other things, a person who is living in distress to talk about their concerns to someone who does not experience the impacts, to take a step back from their situation, to reconnect with them. his strengths and his reasons for living and finding helpful strategies.

Myth # 3: Suicidal People Always Look Depressed

Reality: people with thoughts of suicide don't necessarily look depressed

While it's true that many people with thoughts of suicide are depressed or depressed, it doesn't mean that they constantly look sad or depressed. Sometimes people will hide their pain by being callous and strong or by being laughing or energetic. It is therefore necessary to be careful and to remain attentive to the signs of distress , because behind these behaviors can hide a great sadness and suicidal thoughts.

Myth # 4: All Suicidal People Have Mental Health Problems

Reality: Thoughts of suicide don't always come with mental health problems

Thoughts of suicide can affect anyone, whether or not you have a mental health disorder. That said, mental health problems are among the risk factors for suicide . In other words, a person with a mental health disorder is more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, in high-income countries, nearly 90% of people who commit suicide have mental disorders (eg. Depression , addiction to alcohol or drugs , disorder borderline personality , etc.), but beware:


·     Suicide is a complex problem and, generally, several factors combined will cause a person to develop suicidal thoughts or to commit suicide.

·     It should also be kept in mind that most people with mental health problems do not develop suicidal behavior.

Myth # 5: A person who talks about suicide just wants attention

Reality: Allusions to suicide are calls for help

People who talk about suicide should always be taken seriously. Even if it seems like the person is using suicide as a threat, suicidal comments are still calls for help in the face of a difficult situation for the person. And although these words are repeated often, they are just as worrying. The danger with the fact that a person talks about suicide repeatedly is that those around them will come to be desensitized. In other words, loved ones may end up taking the person less seriously. However, we must remain vigilant, because if a person continues to make these calls for help, it is because their situation is still difficult for them. We must not forget that the despair of the person is likely to increase if his situation does not change.

Myth # 6: Only a Healthcare Professional Can Help a Suicidal Person

Reality: Anyone Can Help

Without necessarily being a trained professional and while respecting their limits , we can help a suicidal person and make a difference for them. Knowing how to recognize the signs , open a dialogue , listen to the person without judgment or even refer them to help resources are all things that we can do to support them.

At the same time, if you have concerns about someone, it is important not to be left alone with the situation and to seek professional help. Depending on the situation, there are different resources to which we can refer (we can also find on the page " Helping a loved one in difficulty»A tool that can help find the most appropriate service depending on the situation). You can also, at any time , contact a specialist to talk about your concerns.

Myth # 7: Avoid talking about suicide with a loved one who is not doing well

Reality: do not hesitate to raise the issue of suicide with someone who is experiencing difficulties

It can be difficult to have a conversation about suicide with a loved one, but raising the subject can help the person best. In fact, to know if a person is having thoughts of suicide and to be able to help him, it is important to ask him directly if he is thinking about suicide. By opening a dialogue on this subject and asking her the question, we are not suggesting to her the idea of ​​taking action, rather we are opening a door for her to express her suffering.

If the person is thinking about suicide, they will feel that they can speak freely about what they are going through and will feel less alone. As suicide is still a taboo and stigmatized subject, people who are thinking about suicide often do not know who to talk to or how to do it. So while it can be difficult, don't hesitate to step up and talk about it. There are also different tips for talking about suicide with a loved one .

Myth # 8: You should let a suicidal person ask for help themselves

Reality: a suicidal person does not always have the reflex to ask for help

You should know that a person who has thoughts of suicide may have difficulty believing that they can be helped and that their situation can change. This is part of the dynamics of suicide and is what makes it so that the person does not necessarily have the reflex to ask for help for themselves. Being proactive and helping these people is therefore essential to break their isolation. Just the fact of accompanying a person in their steps, which can be seen as an obstacle, can make a big difference.

Moreover, no study indicates that interventions with people who themselves have requested help are more effective than those with people who have been offered help. It can therefore be useful to know how to help a loved one in difficulty and how to promote recovery .

Myth # 9: Suicide Happens Without Warning

Reality: Suicidal People Usually Show Warning Signs

This myth, which suggests that a suicide is a spontaneous act, assumes that it is impossible to identify suicidal people and therefore to prevent suicide. On the contrary, since suicide is rarely a spontaneous act, there are warning signs that one can detect in a person in distress, even if they are sometimes difficult to pinpoint. These can be messages the person expresses or changes in their behavior or mood. Thus, to remain vigilant in the face of people vulnerable to suicide and to be able to help them, it is important to know how to recognize the signs of psychological and suicidal distress .

Myth # 10: Sudden improvement is a good sign

Reality: spontaneous relief can indicate danger

If a person who is having suicidal thoughts suddenly seems in a good mood, that doesn't mean they are necessarily better and no longer need help. This can sometimes indicate a danger; some suicides actually occur as a result of sudden improvement. The person may, for example, be in a better mood to reassure those around them or, if they are planning to take action, they may feel a form of relief, feeling that their suffering is drawing to an end. This is why we must remain vigilant. It is then advisable to question the person on the reasons which explain these changes in his behavior.

If you feel there is imminent  danger ... please call 911, 988 or go to the hospital emergency room