Globally, an estimated 703,000 people end their lives each year, with 58% of these deaths occurring in those under the age of 50. In 2020, there were nearly 46,000 suicide deaths in the United States, making it the 12th leading cause of death. These deaths are a result of the estimated 1.2 million suicide attempts that same year.
Suicide is a problem that has been growing for decades, and is now defined as both a public health crisis and mental health crisis by the CDC and the World Health Organization. According to the CDC, 54% of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health problem. This is a shocking statistic that shows how important it is to raise awareness about suicide and how to become an advocate to prevent suicide deaths. In honor of National Suicide Awareness Month, we are covering some common myths surrounding suicide and outlining ways you can help.
Myth: Talking about suicide is best avoided, because it may give someone the idea to do it.
Fact: Opening the conversation about suicide has a significant role in preventing suicide attempts. Many people experience a deep state of depression or despair before considering suicide, and talking about it is the best way for them to get support and help. Be aware of some of the situations that could put someone at higher risk for suicidal ideations, including:
Talking to someone about suicide should always be approached with sincerity and sensitivity. Never hesitate to express your concern and offer support.
Myth: People who talk about suicide are just seeking attention
Fact: It is reported that many people who have attempted or died from suicide, expressed their thoughts about it beforehand. Take every suicidal ideation seriously. Ask if they have a plan and if they have any weapons or substances. Here are free suicide prevention resources that you can help your loved one get in contact with:
National Suicide Crisis Hotline: 988lifeline.org or call/text 988. Help is available 24/7.
Crisis text line: text TALK to 741-741. Help is available 24/7.
Veterans Crisis Line: Send a text to 838255
The Trevor Project. Support for LGBTQIA+. Help is available 24/7. Find chat options on the website, or cal 1-866-488-7386.
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline. 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Myth: Improvement in a person's mental state following a suicidal crisis or depressive period means the risk of suicide is over.
Fact: The opposite may be true. Someone who has experienced a depressive period (especially when tied to the risk factors listed above), or a suicidal crisis remains at risk for months. Someone who was previously in despair and suddenly appears happier could be happier because they have decided to end their life and feel relief with their decision.
Myth: People who attempt suicide are "taking the easy way out".
Fact: Too often, people characterize suicide as a selfish act. This could not be further from the truth. People who die by suicide feel like they have no other option and are in immense pain. They are not thinking about themselves when they make the decision to end their life—they are thinking of those left behind. They believe that those they leave behind will somehow be better off without them.
It is important to remember that suicide is almost always preventable. If you are worried about a loved one, do not hesitate to reach out and ask them and ask specifically if they are thinking about harming themselves.
If you or a loved one in the California or Nevada areas are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, reach out to us by phone or text at (833) 624-5400, send us a message using our online contact form, or to register as a new patient get started here. We have a diverse staff of licensed therapists who are ready to help you.
The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.
If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.