According to a recent CNN news article, debunking common myths about suicide can help to encourage compassion and understanding.
And this is a good thing.
The unpleasant truth is that suicide is a real issue.
According to statistics, suicide is a leading cause of death—not just in adults, but also in children.
Nearly 800,000 people worldwide die from suicide every year. And even beyond that, there are about 1.2 million suicide attempts every year around the world.
This is tragic—but it’s also an unpleasant truth that a lot of people are afraid to talke about.
Raising awareness can help to get rid of some of the unhelpful ‘stigmas’ that surround the problem of suicide.
And in this article, we’re going to address 3 takeaways from the CNN news report that really stood out as insightful.
1. Not Everyone With Suicidal Thoughts Is Suffering From A Mental Health Issue
A lot of people may have this idea of suicide as being something that only ‘crazy people’ with ‘mental illnesses’ ever fall victim to.
But this stigma is very damaging, for a number of reasons. And it’s important to talk about why this isn’t true.
This kind of thinking can blindside people who suddenly feel suicidal when they’ve had no previous mental health conditions—and it can cause people to ‘hide’ their problems—sometimes to the point where they become too difficult to bear.
Sometimes, thoughts of suicide are brought on by difficult life circumstances that don’t really have anything to do with mental illness. And this is an important fact that’s crucial to talk about openly, to help dissipate unhelpful stigma.
2. Associating ‘Suicide’ With ‘Selfishness’ And/Or ‘Attention-Seeking Behavior’ Is Dangerous And Wrong
There’s also a ‘stigma’ about suicidal thoughts that says that people who have them and talk about them are basically just selfish and looking for attention.
But not only is this incorrect—it’s also downright dangerous, and can keep people from seeking out the help they need.
The truth is that, if circumstances align the right (or wrong) way, anyone could suffer from suicidal thoughts.
It’s just so important to speak the truth about this.
3. Talking About Suicide Can Actually Save Lives
Some people believe that talking about suicide makes it more likely to happen.
But this is actually the opposite of the truth.
The truth is that people who have suicidal thoughts are probably more likely to see discussing the problem as therapeutic and/or helpful.
Especially if this conversation is kind, caring, and empathetic.
Sometimes, a listening ear (and giving someone the chance to vent and open up about what they’re going through) can be a powerful tool to help make people feel better.
And this is something that we should all encourage.
If you know someone who needs to talk—encourage them to get help, but also be empathetic, present, and willing to hear them out and offer encouraging words.
This is so important and so powerful.