MYTH: Young people who talk about suicide never attempt or die by suicide.
FACT: Talking about suicide can be a plea for help and it can be a late sign in the progression towards a suicide attempt.
Those who are most at risk will show other signs apart from talking about suicide. If you have concerns about a young person who talks about suicide:
MYTH: People who threaten suicide are just seeking attention.
FACT: All suicide attempts must be treated as though the person has the intent to die. Do not dismiss a suicide attempt as simply being an attention-gaining device.
It is likely the young person has tried to gain attention and, therefore, this attention is needed. The attention they get may well save their lives.
MYTH: Most young people thinking about suicide never seek or ask for help with their problems.
FACT: Evidence shows that they often tell their school peers of their thoughts and plans.
Most adults with thoughts of suicide visit a medical doctor during the three months prior to killing themselves.
Adolescents are more likely to 'ask' for help through non-verbal gestures than to express their situation verbally to others.
MYTH: Young people thinking about suicide are always angry when someone intervenes and they will resent that person afterwards.
FACT: While it is common for young people to be defensive and resist help at first, these behaviors are often barriers imposed to test how much people care and are prepared to help.
For most adolescents considering suicide, it is a relief to have someone genuinely care about them and to be able to share the emotional burden of their plight with another person.
When questioned some time later, the vast majority express gratitude for the intervention.
MYTH: Young people thinking about suicide are insane or mentally ill.
FACT: Although adolescents thinking about suicide are likely to be extremely unhappy and may be classified as having a mood disorder, such as depression, most are not legally insane.
However, there are small numbers of individuals whose mental state meets psychiatric criteria for mental illness and who need psychiatric help.