MYTH: You CAN’T talk about it. Talking about suicide or asking someone if they feel suicidal will encourage suicide attempts.
FACT: Talking about suicide is an opportunity for communication.
MYTH: People who talk about suicide never attempt or die by suicide.
FACT: Talking about suicide is often a plea for the need for mental health help.
Take it seriously. Those most at risk will often show other signs of distress. Encourage them to talk further and help them to find appropriate counseling assistance.
· Ask them if they are actively considering suicide.
· Ask them if they have a plan.
· Do not trivialize the plan even if you think that it is not a dangerous plan. All suicidal thoughts and behaviors are serious and must be recognized as such.
· If the person is actively suicidal call 911, unless they have a plan in place, developed with their therapist and/or you. Never leave a suicidal adolescent or adult alone unless there is a clear crisis plan developed by the family and therapist.
MYTH: Suicide attempts are just attention seeking ploys.
FACT: All suicide attempts must be treated as though the person has the intent to die and must always be treated seriously.
· Never dismiss a suicide attempt as simply being manipulative or attention seeking.
· If it is “attention seeking” then ask yourself what they are seeking attention for. If they are not truly suicidal, are there other ways the person can ask for what they need.
· Dismissing suicidal behavior as a manipulation is very dangerous.
· The function of suicidal behavior or self-injury is rarely attention seeking.