There are so many dangerous and deadly myths about suicide that stop people from seeking help when they need it so desperately. So in today’s clinical psychology podcast, I’m going to be reading you an extract from the second chapter of my new book and if you enjoy this episode you can read five more myths and learn tons more about the psychology of suicide in the book. This is the perfect episode for people interested in mental health.
This episode has been sponsored by Suicide Psychology: A Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology And Neuropsychology Guide To Suicide. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
Extract From Suicide Psychology by Connor Whiteley Copyright 2023
The reason why this is the second chapter in the book is simply because I want to tackle a lot of utterly stupid myths right now, just so we can get them out of the way and we can focus on facts.
Personally, I hate these myths with an utter passion because they are harmful, evil and just end up causing a lot more damage to people.
And the entire point of this book is to help raise awareness and maybe help people too.
To that end this chapter will look at 12 myths in varying amounts of detail just so moving forward we are all on the same page, and we can all interpret this information without seeing it through any myths.
As well as whilst I am extremely passionate about this area, I do completely understand if you believe any of these myths. They are so powerful in society and they could easily be considered cultural norms in their own right, they’re that strong in people’s minds. And I have believed some of these in the past but that’s why I want, need to tackle these head on.
Suicide Myth 1
If you ask someone about suicidal thoughts, it may trigger them to act out.
I’ll fully admit that a bunch of these myths we will focus on different sections of the book, and this one does pop up later.
However, for now just know that research shows that by asking someone about suicidal thoughts it will NOT put any ideas into their head that were not already in there. As well as suicidal people want to be asked about and they want to know they matter.
Asking out saves lives 99.9% of the time, so if you’re concerned about someone, ask.
Suicide Myth 2
People who talk about suicide never do it.
Now this myth I do understand because in different areas of our social world, it is often the people that bang on about things are the ones that cannot do it. For example, the loudest people that praise how great they are, tend not to be as great as people who don’t praise their own achievements.
Things like that.
However, when it's suicide, this is an extremely wrong myth and this easily causes deaths. Since when it comes to suicide, it is the people that do talk about it are the people most likely to do it. That’s a major theme through this book.
Therefore, if someone does tell you they’re going to self-harm or commit suicide, take it seriously and get them professional help.
Suicide Myth 3
Suicide is an impulsive act.
This is another myth that is completely wrong, and whilst there are sections of this book and research that sort of supports the idea of suicide is related to impulsivity. The vast, vast majority of suicides are planned down to the last detail and suicidal people think about committing suicide for days, weeks or even months before an attempt.
So no, suicide is flat out not an impulsive act and that thinking can harm people because it means others aren’t looking out for the warning signs.
Suicide Myth 4
The elderly don’t commit suicide.
I suppose in some weird way I can sort of see the twisted logic behind this myth because I think other people believe that because elderly people are, well, elderly they might just wait a few more years anyway to die of natural causes.
However, research shows that the elderly are most likely to complete suicide attempts successfully. And there are other factors that other groups don’t always have.
Like losing friends and being alone because they’ve died, terminal illness, the pain and immobility associated with older age and more.
We all need to remember that suicide is not specific to one group. Suicide can happen to anyone, even if they’re in a group with not a lot of extra risk factors.
Suicide Myth 5
Minorities are most likely to commit suicide.
Whilst this seems like a perfectly logical argument at first and it is true these minority groups have risk factors that make them more likely to commit suicide compared to others. It is actually white men that are the most likely to commit suicide due to a range of factors, most of which probably being down to men’s inability to get professional help, because of personal and cultural factors as discussed in other chapters.
More myths and more great information inside the book. Check it out now.
I really hope you enjoyed today’s psychotherapy podcast episode.
If you want to learn more, please check out:
Suicide Psychology: A Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology And Neuropsychology Guide To Suicide. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
Have a great day.
Suicide Psychology Reference
Whiteley, C. (2023) Suicide Psychology: A Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology And Neuropsychology Guide To Suicide. CGD Publishing, England.
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