Suicide: Myth and reality

Overcoming myths about suicide to create a culture of prevention

There are many myths around suicide. These false beliefs circulate a lot and around us and identifying them allows us to act more efficiently in the face of suicide. It is important to demystify them if we want to establish a real culture of suicide prevention.

Here are a few myths that resist to hard fact their opposing realities:

The suicidal person is neither cowardly nor brave. When life seems unbearable and he or she has reached the limit of tolerance for suffering, it is more difficult for that person to conceive of other possible avenues than death.

In fact, the suicidal person is ambivalent. It is not death that he or she seeks, but the end of suffering.

In 80% of cases, the person gives away clues or broadcasts messages about his or her suicidal intentions. It is true that these signals can also sometimes be difficult to decode.

Directly asking someone if they think about suicide does not suggest the idea. On the contrary, it opens the door to the expression of suffering and asking for external help.

The vast majority of recurrences occur in the months following the suicide attempt.

Suicidal behavior must be considered as an expression of the pain of living and as a cry for help. Any threat or attempted suicide must be taken seriously. Even people who repeatedly threaten to commit suicide are suffering and need appropriate help.

Suicide is not a disease. It is a behavior which translates, above all, the pain of living.

Suicide is found in all segments of the population regardless of socio-economic level or family situation.

Suicide is not hereditary. There are no genes for suicide. It is important to note, however, that suicide is a behavior that can be repeated in a family history, across generations.