According to Samaritans, in 2017, there were almost 6,000 suicides, with the highest suicide rate being men aged 45-49.1 Even though the suicide rate in men is the lowest it’s been in over 30 years, in 2017 4,382 men took their own lives highlighting the seriousness of the situation.1
By understanding a topic further we can do more to assist those who may need our help, so what are some common myths regarding suicide according to Samaritans?
Myth: You have to be mentally ill to think about suicide
One in five people have thought about suicide at some point in their life, and not all people who take their own life have mental health problems at the time they die.
Myth: People who talk about suicide won’t usually go through with it and might be attention seeking
People who have taken their own lives have often told someone close to them that they don’t feel their life is worth living, they might have actually said they want to die.
It’s always important to take anyone seriously if they talk about feeling suicidal, because helping them to get the support they need could save their life.
Myth: If someone wants to take their own life, there is nothing you can do
Often, suicidal feelings are temporary, even if someone has been feeling low or struggling to cope for a long time. This is why getting the right support at the right time is so important, as it could help to save their life.
Myth: Most suicidal individuals want to die
The majority of suicidal people do not actually want to die, they just do not want to live the life they currently lead.
If you’re worried that someone you know isn’t okay and might be having suicidal thoughts, there are steps you can take to try to help them:
- Talk to them about their feelings – sometimes a friendly face and a listening ear can make the world of difference. Samaritans have advice on how to help someone you’re worried about open up about their feelings
- Encourage them to get professional help, whether this is from their local GP or a support organisation such as Samaritans
- You can contact Samaritans on their behalf who will reach out to them. To contact Samaritans, either call free, anytime on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you think they are in immediate danger, you should contact the emergency services by dialling 999
If you’ve been affected by suicide, here are some links to other organisations that can give you help and support:
Support After Suicide Partnership is a network of organisations that help people who have been bereaved or affected by suicide. Their website has a range of support tools, and you can search for support groups in your local area.
Public Health England have a comprehensive list of sources of support and provides information about dealing with grief and the practical issues you may face. You can download the guide here or phone 0300 123 1002 to request a free copy.