Answers to the Myths & Realities of Suicide Quiz
1 Talking about suicide openly is dangerous. It often plants the idea in a person’s head.
Discussing suicide openly is one of the most helpful things you can do. It shows you are taking the person seriously and that you care.
2 Suicide usually occurs out of the blue – without any warning.
80% of the people who die by suicide give some warning. This is one reason for becoming familiar with the warning signs.
3 If you attempt suicide, you really want to die.
Most people who attempt suicide want to live. They are experiencing overwhelming emotional pain and are crying out for help. If they receive the help they are asking for, they have no need to attempt suicide again.
4 Suicide runs in families. It is a hereditary condition that cannot be prevented.
Suicide is not hereditary. It is important to note, though, that survivors of suicide are at a greater risk of dying by suicide themselves.
5 The danger of suicide has passed when a person begins to cheer up.
A depressed person may want to end his/her life, but lack the energy and ambition to carry out a suicide plan. Ambivalent feelings are a constant struggle. Making a decision often improves the person’s mental attitude and increases his/her energy to carry out the suicide plan.
6 Most teenage suicides involve drugs and alcohol.
Alcohol and drugs are involved in the majority of teenage suicides. People often use them to cope with or deaden the pain they are feeling. If a friend is frequently drunk or stoned, you may want to tell him/her you are concerned. Encourage your friend to seek professional help.
7 Feeling suicidal usually means you are mentally ill.
Suicidal feelings signal that someone is running low on reasons for living. This is a time of crisis. The person is not necessarily mentally ill. It can be a temporary feeling, if he/she receives support from friends, family and sometimes professional counsellors. Studies say that 90% of people who die by suicide do have a diagnosable mental illness.
8 Females die by suicide more frequently than males.
Three times as many males die by suicide while four times as many females attempt suicide.
9 If you are only thinking about suicide, you probably won’t really do it.
One survey showed that 63% of teenagers have thought about suicide. A person who talks about suicide is not just trying to get attention, but trying desperately to communicate. It is important to take all threats seriously.
10 It is against the law to take your own life.
In Canada, it isn’t against the law to take your own life. However, it is against the law to aid a person in carrying out a suicide plan.