Dispelling Misconceptions about Suicide Prevention

A new survey shows perspectives about suicide from 2000+ adults and tips to address common misconceptions

From the LifeMinute.TV Team

September 30, 2021

On the heels of Suicide Prevention Month in September, we’re uncovering fact versus fiction from a new survey that looked at Americans’ general knowledge of suicide prevention. The stigma associated with suicide and seeking help are significant barriers to treatment. Cohen Veterans Network (CVN), a not-for-profit organization that provides mental health services to veterans and military families, revealed findings of its America’s Mental Health Suicide Prevention Pulse Survey.

The survey found that more than one-third of Americans, 36%, believe it’s best not to ask someone if they’re thinking about taking their own life, and 29% believe it will make them more likely to kill themselves. However, talking about suicide reduces stigma. It can provide relief to someone experiencing suicidal thoughts, knowing that someone cares, wants to listen, and is there to help.

Moreover, asking about suicidal thoughts won’t necessarily push someone into doing something self-destructive. It may reduce the risk of them acting on their suicidal feelings.

Another 44% are uncomfortable asking someone directly if their thinking about taking their own life. But asking can help you better assess if the person you are concerned about is in danger of acting on those thoughts. As uncomfortable as it may seem, it's best to ask.

The survey also found that nearly half (45%) of Americans believe that most suicides happen suddenly, without warning, or ''on a whim." But that's not always the case. Most people who attempt to kill themselves will display warning signs. Recognizing the signs could help prevent suicide. Warning signs include talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves, withdrawing from family and friends, giving away important possessions, putting affairs in order, such as making a will, and more.

Cohen Veterans Network is encouraging all Americans to “ask the questions.” Suicide prevention is their top priority, and their goal is to help empower people to take action if they are concerned about someone they know. It could help save a life. You can follow along with their movement at hashtag ask the question. For more suicide prevention facts, visit cohenveteransnetwork.org/amhpulse.

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