8 Fables and Facts of Suicide

8 Fables and Facts of Suicide

A 2016 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that suicide “occurs throughout the lifespan and was the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year-olds globally”. Although there could be many reasons for an individual’s death by suicide like mental disorders, or financial problems, relationship problems, chronic illness, etc., the risk is bound to increase when an individual is experiencing conflict, disaster, violence, abuse, or loss and a sense of isolation. In the current face of a pandemic, some groups of people may be more vulnerable to suicide or suicidal ideation. 

Below are 8 fables (myths) and facts of suicide from Suicidologist Edwin S Shneidman:

  1. FABLE: People who talk about suicide don’t commit suicide.

FACT: Of any ten persons who kill themselves, eight have given definite warnings of their suicidal intentions.

  1. FABLE: Suicide happens without warning.

FACT: Studies reveal that the suicidal person gives many clues and warnings regarding his suicidal intentions.

  1. FABLE: Suicidal people are fully intent on dying. 

FACT: Most suicidal people are undecided about living or dying, and they “gamble with death,” leaving it to others to save them. Almost no one commits suicide without letting others know how he is feeling.

  1. FABLE: Once a person is suicidal, he is suicidal forever.

FACT: Individuals who wish to kill themselves are “suicidal” only for a limited period of time.


  1. FABLE: Improvement following a suicidal crisis means that the suicidal risk is over.

FACT: Most suicides occur within about three months following the beginning of “improvement,” when the individual has the energy to put his morbid thoughts and feelings into effect.

  1. FABLE: Suicide strikes much more often among the rich – or, conversely, it occurs almost exclusively among the poor.

FACT: Suicide is neither the rich man’s disease nor the poor man’s curse. Suicide is very “democratic” and is represented proportionately among all levels of society.

  1. FABLE: Suicide is inherited or “runs in the family.” 

FACT: Suicide does not run in families. It is an individual pattern.

  1. FABLE: All suicidal individuals are mentally ill, and suicide always is the act of a psychotic person.

FACT: Studies of hundreds of genuine suicide notes indicate that although the suicidal person is extremely unhappy, he is not necessarily mentally ill. (Leenaars, 1999, p. 349).

Suicide is preventable and busting the myths surrounding suicide could help in identifying/recognizing suicidal mentality in people around you. The pandemic is affecting us all in some way or the other. However, many are left more vulnerable and out of sheer hopelessness, they might be harboring thoughts of dying by suicide. Let us be aware of suicide facts and work towards preventing death by suicide.

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