Debunking 4 Myths About Suicide

Dr. Tobi Odunsi
(5 mins read)
Mental Health

September is suicide prevention awareness month and September 10th is officially world suicide prevention day. Suicide is currently the 12th leading cause of death in the United States1  and the 2nd leading cause of death among individuals ages 10-14 and 25-342. In 2020, about 12.2 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million planned a suicide attempt and 1.2 million attempted suicide2. In fact, based on these statistics, by the time you are done reading this article, there will be about four suicide attempts (1 attempt every 27.5 seconds)3. Suicide is a public health crisis and as such, discussions and conversations about suicide are important as they can save a life. In today’s blog post I will be challenging 4 myths about suicide. At Kiira we believe that debunking these myths is paramount to educating individuals dealing with suicidal thoughts and loved ones of individuals dealing with suicidal thoughts. 

Myth 1: Suicide is not preventable

Suicide is indeed preventable. Many individuals dealing with suicidal thoughts are dealing with a lot of stressors (financial, health, relationship, etc.) or emotional pain, often have under-treated or untreated mental illness, and may not have access to necessary treatments or support. Identifying warning signs, providing the necessary treatments and support can help prevent suicide.

Myth #2: Talking about suicide increases the risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts.

Talking about suicide creates an opportunity for people to seek the necessary help. Asking questions like “are you thinking about killing yourself?”, may be the start to getting someone the necessary help they need. Research shows that asking these questions do not increase the risk of suicide or suicidal thoughts. Rather listening to people dealing with suicidal thought is more likely to reduce suicide attempts and completions.

Myth #3: Suicide is a sign of weakness/selfishness

Suicide is not a normal response to stress. Many people who attempt suicide or die by suicide are dealing with severe emotional pain and have difficulty seeing an alternative or feel things may never get better. It is not a sign of weakness or selfishness. 

Myth #4: Suicide occurs without warning

Suicide usually has warning signs. Warning signs are actions, emotions or behaviors that put an individual at immediate risk of attempting or completing suicide. Some warning signs of suicide include: feelings of hopelessness, having no reason to live, people talking about killing themselves, increased use of alcohol or drugs, planning to end their life, withdrawing from activities, visiting or calling people to say goodbye, giving away prized possessions, sleeping too much or too little, isolating from friends and family.

If you or a loved one is dealing with suicidal thoughts, or any mental health challenges please call or text the suicide and crisis hotline 9-8-8. There is also a crisis text line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are available 24 hours and provide confidential support to anyone dealing with suicidal thoughts or emotional distress. In an emergency, please call 911.

You are not alone. Our Kiira app is available to connect you with experts that will help you in your treatment and a 24/7 in-app chat where our professionals will support and getP you the help you need. 

Other resources for individuals who have lost a loved one to suicide: