The idea of mental health being as important as physical health has existed for a long time but is only starting to be acknowledged by the public in recent years. As a fairly new topic, there still holds a lot of stigmas when it comes to mental health, especially suicide. Stigmas are the products of misconceptions but can be eradicated by debunking myths surrounding mental health. Here are some myths about suicide that can help eradicate the stigma surrounding it.
1. Suicidal Thoughts Only Inflicts People With A Mental Health Condition
Just like how not every person who has a mental health illness has suicidal thoughts, those without a mental health illness are not immune to suicidal thoughts. Thinking about suicide can afflict anyone regardless of background, or history with a mental health illness. Extenuating circumstances can lead a person to commit suicide such as relationship problems, financial issues or having a debilitating illness. There are numerous life stressors that can lead someone to commit suicide even if they have never had a mental health illness.
2. Once Suicidal, Always Suicidal
Active suicidal thoughts can be short term, these thoughts are a response to circumstances. Once the circumstance dissipates so will the thoughts surrounding it. However, this does not mean all suicidal thoughts are short term, it simply means that if an individual was suicidal in their life it does not always mean that they will remain suicidal.
3. Most Suicides Happen Suddenly
Often times, there are warning signs before a suicide. The suicide itself is also the product of several circumstances, emotions, and thoughts that lead to the act. Warning signs can include, getting a hold of lethal weapons or medications, saying goodbye as if it is the last time you will see them, or engaging in reckless behavior. Suicides do not always happen suddenly because, individuals often think about, write about and even fantasize about it.
4. Suicidal Individuals Are Selfish
This might be one of the most harmful myths about suicide. Suicide happens because individuals suffering is so deep and painful that they want to end their suffering. You may have heard it before that when someone commits suicide someone else says “what were they thinking? what about their family”. Suicides don’t often have the intention to be selfish, the intention is to put a halt to the suffering they are experiencing.
5. Talking About Suicide Can Lead To Suicide
This stigma has led to so many more stigmas. Thinking that talking about suicide can lead to suicide is the reason that people have stopped having conversations about it. Talking about suicide can actually reduce the stigma surrounding it and even encourage others to seek help, ask for opinions, and evaluate their thoughts. The more you talk about it, the more it will reduce the stigma.
As you can see, stigmas are dangerous to everyone and can lead to even more stigmas. That is why it is important to understand one’s situation or condition before passing judgment. If you know anyone who may have believed these myths, share your newfound knowledge with them to encourage talking about mental health to normalize it.