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Myths and Facts

From the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

MYTH: People who talk about suicide don't complete suicide.

FACT: Many people who die by suicide have given definite warnings to family and friends of their intentions. Always take any comment about suicide seriously.

MYTH: Suicide happens without warning.

FACT: Most suicidal people give many clues and warning signs regarding their suicidal intention.

MYTH: Suicidal people are fully intent on dying.

FACT: Most suicidal people are undecided about living or dying – which is called suicidal ambivalence. A part of them wants to live, however, death seems like the only way out of their pain and suffering. They may allow themselves to "gamble with death," leaving it up to others to save them.

MYTH: Asking a depressed person about suicide will push him/her to complete suicide.

FACT: Studies have shown that patients with depression have these ideas and talking about them does not increase the risk of them taking their own life.

MYTH: Improvement following a suicide attempt or crisis means that the risk is over.

FACT: Most suicides occur within days or weeks of "improvement" when the individual has the energy and motivation to actually follow through with his/her suicidal thoughts.

Most suicidal people don’t really want to die – they just want their pain to end. 
About 80% of the time people who kill themselves have given definite signals or talked about suicide.

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