- Written by Annemi Olivier
- Published: 06 Oct 2017
Suicide Myths and Facts
Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with around 3,000 people dying by suicide every year. That's an average of eight people every day. For every suicide, there are tragic ripple effects for friends, families, colleagues and the broader community.
Suicide is a significant risk for people with depression. Of Australians aged 16-65 who have had a depressive disorder in the past 12 months, approximately 4% attempt suicide.
A person may feel so overwhelmed and helpless that the future appears hopeless. The person may think suicide is the only way out. Sometimes a person becomes suicidal very quickly, perhaps in response to a trigger (such as a relationship breakup or arrest), and acts on their thoughts quickly and impulsively. The risk is increased if they have also been using alcohol and other drugs. However, not every person who is depressed is at risk for suicide and nor is everyone who is at risk of suicide necessarily depressed.
Myth – Talking about suicide with a suicidal person will put the idea in their head.
Fact – It is untrue that asking about suicidal thoughts can increase a person’s risk of attempting suicide. Research has found that asking about suicide reduces risk; it allows the person to talk about their problems and it shows them that somebody cares.
Myth – Once someone becomes suicidal they remain suicidal.
Fact - Heightened suicide risk is often short-term and situation-specific. While suicidal thoughts may return, they are not permanent and an individual with previous suicidal thoughts and attempts can go on to live a long life.
Myth – Most suicides happen without warning.
Fact - The majority of suicides have been preceded by warning signs, whether verbal or behavioural. Of course there are some suicides that occur without any obvious warning. But it is important to understand what the warning signs are and look out for them.
Myth – People who are suicidal are determined to die.
Fact - On the contrary, suicidal people are often ambivalent about living or dying. Someone may act impulsively by drinking alcohol and taking pills, for instance, and die a few days later, even though they would have liked to live on. When people are suicidal, they are often not thinking straight, and need help to have a bigger perspective on things. Access to emotional support at the right time can prevent suicide.___________________________________________________________________________
If you or someone you care about are experiencing suicidal thoughts you can access help by contacting:· Lifeline on 13 11 14 · Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 · MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978 · Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467 · Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36 · Headspace on 1800 650 890
The 12 hour Mental Health First Aid course teaches adults (18 years and over) how to provide initial support to adults who are developing mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis. Jigsaw offers MHFA Courses by Instructors who are currently accredited by MHFA Australia.Tina Winchester 1300 943 438 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources:Mental Health First Aid Manual – 4th Edition World Health Organisation’s Preventing suicide: a global imperative, myths.