Why to People Attempt Suicide:
Escaping the Flames
The main thing that most people who kill themselves
have in common is a belief that suicide is the ONLY
solution to their unbearable situation. Many of us have
etched in our memories the images of people jumping
out of the World Trade Center on 9/11. These people
did not want to die. They were leaping to get away from
the flames at their back. In a similar manner, people
who contemplate suicide are trying to escape some type
of peril in their own lives. It is difficult for many
of us to truly appreciate the flames that consume the
minds of people who contemplate suicide. The unbearable
psychological pain often blocks the ability to see other
potential solutions to problems. A pervasive sense of
hopelessness stifles the ability to seek help, and yet
most people are very ambivalent about taking their lives
- they don't want death, they just want the pain to
SUICIDE MYTHS AND FACTS
Myth: Suicide is extremely rare.
Fact: Suicide happens much more often than most
people are aware. For every 2 homicides there are three
suicides, and yet with the media coverage for homicide,
you'd expect the reverse to be true. In many areas there
are more deaths from suicide than there are to motor
vehicle crashes. Tremendous amounts of money are put
toward road care, safe driver enforcement, and vehicle
safety, and yet very little is dedicated to suicide
awareness, prevention and intervention.
Myth: Asking about suicide might put the idea
into someone's head.
Fact: Bringing up the subject of suicide and
discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things
you can do because it relieves the suicidal person of
the incredible sense of isolation they experience and
relays that someone has insight to their pain and cares
about their well-being.
Myth: People who talk about suicide are just
trying to get attention.
Fact: Almost all people who eventually die by
suicide have given some clue or warning. When suicidal
threats are not taken seriously, the person may conclude
that no one cares.
Myth: If a person is determined to kill themselves,
nothing is going to stop them.
Fact: Most suicidal people are ambivalent, wavering
until the very last moment between wanting to live and
wanting to die. For example, people in a suicidal crisis
frequently call for help immediately following a suicide
attempt. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering,
does not last forever. Suicide is preventable.
Myth: People just snap and take their lives without
Fact: There are almost always warning signs,
but others are often unaware of their significance or
do not know what to do.
Myth: People who commit suicide are people who
were unwilling to seek help.
Fact: Studies of suicide victims have shown that
more than half had sought medical help within six months
before their deaths.
References: NAMI, Yellow Ribbon