Depression & suicide-Busting the myths

People are getting better at talking about depression, stress and anxiety but we still have a long way to go. Suicide however remains very much a taboo subject and many myths have developed over the years.  These myths need busting if we are to understand this phenomenon and help those who feel that their only way out is to kill themselves. I have been thinking about this for a few days now, and the more I think, the more complex this issue becomes.

Links are included at the end of this post for further information and help if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal.

The following myths are taken from an article in the ONEinFOUR magazine-winter2008.

  • Myth: People are most likely to commit suicide at Christmas .
  • Myth: People who talk about committing suicide are just seeking attention.
  • Myth: People who talk about committing suicide will not attempt it.
  • Myth: You cannot stop someone from committing suicide.
  • Myth: People who are suicidal don’t want help, they just want to die.
  • Myth: People who are suicidal are weak.
  • Myth: People commit suicide so as not no be a burden to others
  • Myth: Some people are more likely to commit suicide than others

“Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”-Phil Donahue NBC TV 1984

Research shows that although calls to helplines increase during December, a difficult month for a number of reasons, there are fewer suicides.Talking about committing suicide may be a call for help but it can also be a real threat. Anyone considering suicide should seek help immediately. Talking about suicide is a sign that someone is in deep distress and should be taken seriously not dismissed.  People can recover from being suicidal if help and support are given and maintained. Most people don’t want to die, they just want a release from the pain, exhaustion and despair that won’t go away. Some people don’t realise that depression may be the cause of their extreme intentions and it helps if this is diagnosed sooner rather than later. People who are suicidal are not weak, neither are they “crazy”. They are in great emotional pain and often seriously depressed.

“Depression is not a weakness. It’s a sign that you’ve been trying too hard for too long”

A suicide can be devastating for the friends and family of the victim and certainly does not bring relief in most cases. This can be hard for someone who is seriously depressed and suicidal to believe and may feel that there is no alternative. But there usually is a different way forward once the right help and support is obtained.

Don’t delay, seek help today.

Samaritans UK: 08457 90 90 90


Suicide information-International

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover’d country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.–Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember’d.


5 thoughts on “Depression & suicide-Busting the myths

  1. Caroline, this is a very helpful article. I particularly like the list of myths regarding suicide. Increased awareness by everyone is key to decreasing the stigma of depression and the tragedy of suicide in our world.

    Here are a couple of additional links that may be helpful. The first is a MUST-READ for someone who is suicidal; the second is a free online course to educate all of us about depression and its effects.

  2. Thank you Caroline. You make good points. Though as one who has been there – even seriously attempted suicide – I can say that while some of the points ring true, some don’t. I suspect that there are no hard and fast truths here, just things that may be more common than others.

    The one that I would mention specifically is …

    Myth: People who talk about committing suicide will not attempt it.

    … Not true. But a greater danger than hearing someone talk about it is silence. Speaking from experience, had I felt my voice was heard, I would never have gotten to the point of suicide. But when we feel that our voice is silent, that’s when all hope begins to fade.

    I have written a poem on this and will share it tomorrow if I remember. Today is a day to breathe and I don’t want to put a second post on my negative blog needlessly. The poem can wait. Those living in silence can’t.

    Thank you for hearing my voice my sister. You saved me.

    – Phoenix

  3. Pingback: Silence | Suicide Man

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