Renfrewshire Council

Suicide Prevention Week - Myths

Breaking the myths around suicide

As part of Suicide Prevention Week, here are six myths and the real facts that can help save lives.

Myths around suicide don't help people get the support they need. You can help by learning the truth behind them.


Myth 1: People who talk about suicide never attempt or complete suicide.

People who talk about their suicidal thoughts may also attempt suicide. Many people who complete suicide have told someone about their suicidal feelings in the weeks prior to their death. Listening to and supporting people in these circumstances can save lives.


Myth 2: If somebody wants to end their life, they will, and there is nothing anybody can do about it.

Most people contemplating suicide do not want to die; they want to end the pain they are suffering. Although there are some occasions when nobody could predict a death by suicide, in many cases a tragic outcome may be averted if appropriate help and support is offered to a person and they are willing to accept this help.


Myth 3: Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.

Serious talk about suicide does not create or increase risk; it can help to reduce it. The best way to identify the possibility of suicide is to ask directly. Openly listening to and discussing someone's thoughts of suicide can be a source of relief for them and can be key to preventing the immediate danger of suicide.


Myth 4: Some people are always suicidal.

Some groups, sub-cultures or ages are particularly associated with suicide. While some groups are at increased risk, suicide can affect all ages, across gender and cultures. Many people think about suicide in passing at some time or another. There isn't a 'type' for suicide and, while there may be warning signs, they aren't always noticed. Individuals who have made an attempt to take their own life in the past can be at increased risk of completing suicide but, with appropriate help and support, people can and do move on.


Myth 5: If a person has made previous attempts they won't do it for real.

Those who have attempted suicide once are at much greater risk of attempting again. They need to be taken seriously, given support and help to find a safe resolution for their suicidal thoughts and actions.


Myth 6: When a person shows signs of feeling better, the danger is over.

Often the risk of suicide can be greatest as depression lifts, or when a person appears calm after a period of turmoil. This may be because once a decision to attempt suicide is made, people may feel they have found a solution, however desperate it may be.


If you or someone you know is suicidal, you find support under 'related articles' and 'related links'.

Published: Monday 10 September 2018.