Myths and Facts about Suicide
Learn the Truth, Break the Stigma
My name is Kristine Galli and I am a Peer Health Educator working to promote awareness about suicide prevention.
I’m sure many of you reading this have been negatively affected by suicide in one way or another. I know I have, and we are not alone.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students, but it doesn’t have to be that way!
Here are a few common misconceptions about suicide along with resources if you or a friend may be dealing with these issues. It’s okay to ask for help.
Myth: Suicide happens without warning.
Fact: Most suicidal people give clues and signs regarding their suicidal intentions.
Such signs include but are not limited to:
- Observable signs of serious depression
- Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
- Recent impulsiveness/rage and taking unnecessary risk
- Threatening suicide or expressing the strong wish to die
- Making a plan (giving away prized possessions, seeking access to weapons etc.)
Fact:80% of people who completed suicide talked about killing themselves with someone. Always take any comment about suicide seriously. 90% of people who contemplate suicide have one or more serious psychiatric disorders, whether they know it or not. These people are suffering beyond what is visible on the outside. The mental illnesses that cause suicidal thoughts are treatable!
Myth: Suicidal people are fully intent on dying. Fact: Most suicidal people are in a state of “suicidal ambivalence". They want to live but they think death is the only way for their agony to end. They don’t know that their negative misconceptions are caused by a treatable illness. Suicidal people may allow themselves to “gamble with death” leaving it up to others to save them.
Myth: Asking a depressed person about suicide will plant the idea in their head and push him/her to attempt it.
Fact: Studies have shown that expressing your concern will only ever be beneficial. If a person is truly suicidal, bringing up the subject does not increase the risk of an attempt. In fact, they are usually hoping that someone cares enough to notice something is wrong. Chances are that if you are worried enough to wonder than the threat is real.
Here are some guidelines on how to intervene when someone may be suicidal:
1) Show you care
Talk about your feelings and ask about theirs
Your genuine interest is what’s most important
2) Ask about suicide
Be direct but non-confrontational
Engage a detailed conversation about their feelings and intentions
Ask about treatment
3) Get Help!
Do NOT leave the person alone
Reassure the person that you are there for them and that there is help
Refer them to the appropriate resources
Encourage them to get professional and personal care
-University Counseling Services-walk in or 24/7: (410) 455-2472
-National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
-If the person is in immediate danger call 911 or UMBC Police: (410) 455-5555.
For more information and additional resources please refer to the attached flyer.
If you have any questions regarding this content or would like to become involved in suicide prevention programs on campus feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to learn more about suicide prevention in general please visit www.afsp.org.
Thanks for stopping by! :-)