Myth: Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.
Fact: Talking about suicide will not cause someone to commit suicide. In fact, it can be the first step in helping them choose to live.
A person who is severely depressed probably has already thought about committing suicide. Asking them about it opens the door to talk openly and express their feelings with someone who cares about them. Often times, talking about it can provide a sense of relief. Listening to someone in distress and helping them to feel understood is one of the most courageous things you can do.
A suicidal person feels completely alone, even when caring friends and family are right by their side. They feel caged and can’t let go of desperate thoughts stuck in their head. They need someone to talk to and openly discuss their most scary feelings and impulses. Talking through these impulses, whether with loved-ones or professional psychotherapists, is one of the best ways to avoid acting on them.
Fact: Teen suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15-24, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you are worried about someone, step in! Suicidal crises can be relatively short-lived and suicide can be prevented. Talking about suicide is the first step in getting a person the help they need. To learn more about how to help, go to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.