The holiday season, ironically enough, is a common time of the year for people to attempt suicide. You may know someone who is struggling with thoughts of death. Here are a few myths (courtesy of suicide.org) you need to be aware of as you try to help them:
1. People who talk about suicide are just trying to get attention. People who die by suicide usually talk about it first. They are in pain and oftentimes reach out for help because they do not know what to do and have lost hope. Always take talk about suicide seriously. Always.
2. People who talk about wanting to die by suicide do not try to kill themselves. People who talk about wanting to die by suicide often kill themselves (whether intentionally or unintentionally).
3. Suicide always occurs without any warning signs. This is most definitely not true. Look for social isolation, depressed mood, verbalizing thoughts about death, giving away things to friends or family, saying-goodbye behaviors, increased use of drugs or alcohol.
4. Once people decide to die by suicide, there is nothing you can do to stop them. Suicide can be prevented. Most people who are suicidal do not want to die; they just want to stop their pain. Through professional treatment and a caring community, suicides can be prevented.
5. Suicide only strikes people of a certain gender, race, financial status, age, etc. Suicide can strike anyone, even Christians. In fact, the most concerning individuals are Christians who believe in eternal security and see suicide as just another sin that Christ has forgiven. These individuals must recognize the sovereignty of God in life and death and recognize that if they are still alive, He still has a plan for them, no matter how hopeless their situation may be.
6. People who attempt suicide and survive will not attempt suicide again. People who attempt suicide and survive will often make additional attempts. Continuing to monitor for these thoughts is a must.
7. People who attempt suicide are weak or crazy. Though it is true that many people who attempt suicide have a chemical imbalance that prevents them from thinking rationally about their situation, some people make conscious well thought out plans to end their lives. Many times the strong silent types are the most at risk.
8. People who talk about suicide are trying to manipulate others. We cannot be the judge of people’s motives for verbalizing suicidal thoughts. Any talk of suicide must be taken seriously. If you know someone who has verbalized suicidal thoughts, get them to a counselor or physician that can help immediately. This may mean taking them to the nearest emergency room or calling 911. Err on the side of safety.
9. Talking about Suicide makes someone more likely to do it. Asking people if they are thinking about suicide does not give them the idea for suicide. And it is important to talk about suicide with people who are suicidal because you will learn more about their mindset and intentions, and allow them to diffuse some of the tension that is causing their suicidal feelings.
10. People who are suicidal do not seek help. Many people who are suicidal reach out for help so keep your eyes and your ears open! You may be able to save a life this Christmas!!
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, visit the homepage of the link above and take action. While we still have breath, there is always hope of finding purpose in life through a relationship with Jesus Christ.