Fighting the Stigma of Suicide
It’s a sad fact that there is a large stigma associated with suicide and mental health issues in general. Much of this is due to misconceptions people have about suicide. As you read through this page, ask yourself if you or someone you know truly understands the following beliefs. Our hope is that you’ll learn from the following words or share them with someone you know who might not completely understand suicide and mental illness.
When someone talks about suicide, they’re not simply looking for attention.
When someone brings up suicide as an option, even if it is said in a flippant manner, odds are that they have seriously considered suicide at some point in time. It’s very possible that that time is now. The individual has a very real need for care and concern. Ignoring that need could lead to unfortunate results.
If someone wants to end their life, there are ways you can intervene.
A common misconception is that nothing can be done for someone who has thoughts of suicide. Sometimes just listening is enough. Sometimes a link to other resources or services is in order. Doing nothing should not be an option.
Even people who seem happy, successful, loved and outgoing can have thoughts of suicide.
It might be difficult to understand how someone who has several things going for them in life could consider suicide. The fact remains that internal battles and mental health issues do not always appear publicly. Many people suffer silently, not letting those they love know of their struggles. It’s always a great idea to reach out to someone you care about. Just ask how things are going. It could make a huge difference.
A previous suicide attempt increases risk for suicide in the future.
There is a misunderstanding that if someone attempted suicide previously, that they’re not serious about dying. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Previous suicide attempts are a large sign that help is needed.
Suicide is in no way a cowardly act.
A common misconception is that people who choose to end their lives are “taking the easy way out”. In fact, there is almost always a strong ambivalence within the individual. Part of them wants to live. Part of them wants to escape their pain in any way possible. The struggle between those two options is relentless and often causes more pain to the point where individuals have been quoted as saying “I didn’t want to die. I felt like I had to.”
Suicide is in no way a selfish act.
One theory of suicide is that individuals feel a much larger sense of burden, that is, they perceive that they are a burden to those they love. This grows, along with their pain, into an idea that those they love will be better off without them. It could be argued that this would be a selfless act.
Asking someone if they’re considering suicide will not put the idea in their head.
People often fear asking someone they care about if they are having thoughts of suicide. Admittedly, it’s not an easy question to ask. Asking them this very important question, however, will not give them any ideas that they haven’t realized are options already. What it will do is open the option for dialogue and a way to provide help to the person who might be at risk.
If you have questions or concerns about your safety or the safety of someone else, please call us.
EMPACT 24-hour Crisis Hotline (480) 784-1500 or (800) 273-8255
EMPACT 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline (480) 736-4949 or (866) 205-5229
Rally Point 24-hour Hotline (Veterans and Military) (855) 725-5948