The problem of suicide is the most sensitive and tedious one to deal with. Close to 800,000 people die after committing suicide worldwide every year, of these 135,000 (17%) are residents of India, a nation with 17.5% of world population.
Unfortunately, our society often paints suicide and mental illness, the way they would a prison sentence – a permanent situation that brands an individual. However, suicidal ideation is a sign that an individual is suffering deeply and must seek treatment. It is falsehoods like these that can prevent people from getting the help they need to get better. Eliminating the stigma starts by understanding why suicide occurs and advocating for mental health awareness within our communities.
Here are some of the most common myths and facts about suicide.
Myth 1: People who die by suicide are selfish and take the easy way out.
Fact: These individuals are suffering so deeply that they feel worthless, helpless and hopeless. Individuals who experience suicidal ideations do not do so by choice. They are not simply, “thinking of themselves,” but rather they are going through a very serious mental health symptom due to mental illness.
Myth 2: Most suicides happen suddenly without warning.
Fact: Warning signs, whether verbally or behaviorally precede most suicides. Therefore, it’s important to learn and understand the warnings signs associated with suicide. Many individuals who are suicidal may only show warning signs to those closest to them. These loved ones may not recognize what’s going on, which is how it may seem like the suicide was sudden or without warning.
Myth 3: Talking about suicide will lead to and encourage suicide.
Fact: There is a widespread stigma associated with suicide and as a result, many people are afraid to speak about it. Talking about suicide not only reduces the stigma, but also allows individuals to seek help, rethink their opinions and share their story with others.
Debunking these common myths about suicide can hopefully allow individuals to look at suicide from a different angle, one of understanding and compassion for an individual who is internally struggling.