Welcome to Two Truths and a Lie, a blog series with the primary purpose to debunk social stigma attached to very real cultural issues. This week’s topic: Suicide.
*Warning: the following pertains information that may be perceived as triggering to individuals. If you or someone you know has voiced or is showing signs of suicidal behavior, call the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255 :: YOU ARE NOT ALONE*
September is national suicide awareness and prevention month. While suicide is a topic that can and should be discussed at at time, this provides a specific time for organizations to gather and have honest conversations about a very difficult topic.
Unfortunately, suicide continues to be a taboo. Something people can claim has no effect on them if it is not directly associate with their personal life. That in itself is a lie. Suicide is not something that effects one individual; rather is often acts as a catalyst of events. This chain reaction can be good – think back in early April after Thirteen Reasons Why was released on Netflix sending the country into a frenzy thus skyrocketing the conversation of suicide as well as increase in traffic for suicide hotlines and e-services.
The reaction can also be bad – once again 13RW also set off a community of outrage due to the content on screen and fear of copy-cat behaviors within America’s youth. But we’re not hear to decipher the pros and cons of a television show; because I could go all day on the subject playing devil’s advocate. No. We’re hear to decipher the truth, that which has been proven time and time again by researchers whose sole focus is to study suicide – from the myths portrayed by social media and pop culture.
Now, I want to clarify that the following truths and lie regarding suicide are based on statistics and media influence within the USA. The information presented follows societal norms and events which have been reported; this information does not account for cultural differences or situations/stories which have gone unreported or understudied.
Keeping that in mind…. here we go: your two truths and a lie.
1. Women are more likely to attempt suicide.
2. There is no complete record of suicide accounting for attempts and interruptions.
3. Talking about suicide will increase the chance of a person attempting suicide.
1. Women are more likely to attempt suicide: TRUTH.
According to the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education organization, women are three times as likely to attempt suicide with men being four times as likely to complete suicide. This take into account that men are likely to use highly lethals means of harm (i.e.: firearms). Additionally, men are less likely to seek help for mental health which can benefit in the prevention of suicide.
2. There is no complete record of suicide accounting for attempts and interruptions: TRUTH.
In all reality, attempted suicides that do not result in medical attention will often go unreported. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an estimated one million of intentional self-harm (suicide attempts) occur that go unreported. Research theorizes that due to less lethal means, those who attempt suicide and are unsuccessful will self-treat and move forward with life as they had prior to their attempt.
3. Talking about suicide increases the risk of an attempt: LIE!!
Talking about suicide actually DECREASES the risk for an attempt becoming successful. Individuals who discuss their suicidal thoughts are likely to have a person or persons intervene into their plans. Additionally, they are more likely to seek help when they know they have the support system to do so. Most of all, it is important to provide individuals with a safe space to discuss their intentions and ideas about suicide.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America with close to a quarter million people (per year) becoming survivors. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention calculates this to be one attempt every minute and one completed suicide every 16 minutes.
Not all people with depression attempt suicide. Additionally, not all people who complete suicide have depression. Alcohol and substance abusers account for 30% of America’s suicide count.
If you were to talk anything from this post, if you are still reading this… know that you are never alone. There is no shame in asking for help; nor is asking for help a sign of weakness. Instead it is a sign of strength. A sign of courage. So again, if you or anyone you know is battling with thoughts of suicide or has voiced plans to harm themselves – call the hotline 1-800-273-8255 or text NAMI to 741-741
For more information: