World Suicide Prevention Day, observed on 10 September, was established to raise awareness on suicide and on the key strategies to prevent it.
This day was established by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), which promotes the debate on the issue of suicide and suicidal behaviour at a global level.
This year, the occasion was preceded by a World Health Organization (WHO) report, which states a suicide takes place every 40 seconds worldwide and more than 800,000 people kill themselves every year.
Although suicide is a widespread phenomenon worldwide, there are still many misconceptions in place, which might prevent people with suicidal behaviours from being appropriately helped.
These are the most common myths:
People who talk about killing themselves don't actually do it
People who attempt suicide tend to speak about the idea of killing themselves. Ignoring their words might enhance their suicidal behaviours.
People who think about killing themselves don't ask for help
People who die by suicide usually talk about it first. Sometimes they speak with people they know, or they visit a GP or a psychologist.
Once people decide to kill themselves, nothing will stop them
People with suicidal behaviours can always be helped by friends, family members and doctors. According to suicide.org, many people who think about killing themselves, don't want to die, but they see death as the only way to end their pain.
People who attempt suicide are crazy. 'Normal people' don't do it
Suicidal thoughts are very common, even if people don't always end up killing themselves. Anyone could attempt suicide.
Young people never think about suicide
Everybody can have suicidal behaviours. According to the WHO report, suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29-year-olds globally.
People who attempt suicide are weak
People who try to kill themselves are not weak, they are suffering. They might be experiencing strong negative feelings, such as depression, guilt, fear or anxiety, and may be suffering from a mental or physical illness.
There is little to no correlation between alcohol or drug abuse and suicide
According to suicide.org, people who die by suicide are often under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The Samaritans provides a free support service for those who need to talk to someone. They can be contacted through their website or on 08457 90 90 90, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call charges apply.