Question: If someone has already attempted suicide, will they try again?
Answer: Research shows that a significant predictor of future suicidal behaviour is a past attempt. Unfortunately, those who have previously attempted suicide are at highest risk for future attempts (CSP, 2013).
Question: Does that mean that once someone has felt suicidal they will always feel suicidal?
Answer: Not necessarily. Suicidal thoughts may return, but they are not permanent and with the proper help and support many individuals who have felt suicidal go on to live a long and happy life (WHO, 2014).
Question: If I think someone is thinking about suicide, will talking about suicide put the idea in their head?
Answer: No, in fact talking frankly with someone who may be thinking about suicide can provide them with an opportunity to talk openly about their feelings. Research supports the theory that when a person is given the opportunity to discuss their feelings without judgment, the threat of suicide diminishes. They should be asked directly in a safe space if they are having suicidal thoughts or if they have made a plan (CSP, 2013).
Question: Isn’t it just people with mental illnesses who are suicidal?
Answer: Actually, suicidal behaviour isn’t necessarily indicative of a mental illness. It does indicate extreme pain and sadness. Many people who live with mental health problems or illnesses never struggle with suicidal thoughts, and not everyone who does has a mental illness (WHO, 2014).
Question: But children never die by suicide, do they?
Answer: Although rare, children under ten have died by suicide. It is underreported, and without a suicide note many are classified as accidents. The idea that children lack the mental capacity to kill themselves is a dangerous misconception (CSP, 2013).
Question: Do those who choose to take their own life always leave notes?
Answer: Suicide notes are much less common than the general public believes. The percentage of people who leave suicide notes is estimated by some to be 25% (CSP, 2013).
Question: Do the majority of suicides happen without warning?
Answer: While some suicides do occur without warning, most are preceded by either verbal or behavioural warning signs (WHO, 2014) including suicidal ideation (talking about suicide) or withdrawal from people and activities once enjoyed (CMHA, n.d., para. 6).
Question: Is the suicide rate any higher around holidays, like Christmas?
Answer: The suicide rate is actually fairly consistent throughout the year. It’s slightly higher in January, and usually peaks in the spring. Some people have theorized that this is because the holiday season fosters feelings of connectedness, or obligation to survive so as not to ruin the holidays (CSP, 2013).
Question: Are people who talk about suicide bluffing to get attention?
Answer: No. Suicide talk is a major warning sign that someone is seriously considering taking their own life (CSP, 2013). Every discussion about a person feeling suicidal should be taken seriously, they may be reaching out to you for help. Often people who are suicidal are ambivalent about whether they live or die, or are experiencing such intense feelings they feel there is no other option other than to die by suicide (WHO, 2014). Access to support can, and has, prevented suicide (WHO, 2014).
Question: Is cyber-bullying one of the main causes of suicide in youth?
Answer: No. There have been some well-known cases where cyber-bullying has been one of several factors identified that led to a death by suicide. The fact is that there are usually many factors that lead people to feeling hopeless. Learn more about the association between suicide and bullying (CDC, 2014).
Canadian Mental Health Association. (n.d.). Preventing Suicide [Web page]. Retrieved from: http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/preventing-suicide/#.VFCSIhyU6Iw
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What We Know and What it Means for Schools. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying-suicide-translation-final-a.pdf?utm_source=September+4%2c+2014&utm_campaign=newsletter+1+14-15&utm_medium=email
Center for Suicide Prevention. (2013). Suicide Prevention Primer. Retrieved from: http://suicideinfo.ca/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=wCQaysVImE8%3D&tabid=563
World Health Organization. (2014). Preventing Suicide: A Global Imperative. Retrieved from: http://www.who.int/mental_health/suicideprevention/world_report_2014/en/