Myths and Facts about Suicide

About 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide every year, of these 135,000 (17%) are Indians, a nation with 17.5% of world population. Between 1987 to 2007, the suicide rate increased from 7.9 to 10.3 per 100,000, which increased to 21.1 per 100,000 people in 2012.

These statistics are certainly alarming. Despite the advancement and growth in every realm of our life, stigma of suicide continues to grow unabated. Suicide is considered such a taboo subject that the misconceptions about it are in abundance.

These misconceptions or the lack of information means that people who are vulnerable and dejected from life cannot get the help they need in times of their crisis.

It’s important to know the facts and shatter the myths that surround suicide. Being well-informed about mental illnesses and suicide can help save some precious lives.

Myth: Suicide can’t be prevented. If someone is set on taking their own life, there is nothing that can be done to stop them.

Fact: Suicide is preventable. The vast majority of people contemplating suicide don’t really want to end their lives. They are seeking an end to intense mental and/or physical pain. Most have a mental illness. Timely medical interventions can save lives.


Myth: People who take their own life are selfish, cowards, weak or are just looking for “attention.”

Fact: More than 90% of people who take their own lives have at least one and often more than one treatable mental illness such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and/or alcohol and substance abuse. With better recognition and treatment many suicides can be prevented.


Myth: Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide will put the idea in their head and cause them to act on it.

Fact: When you fear someone you know is in crisis or depressed, asking them if they are thinking about suicide can actually help. By giving a person an opportunity to open up and share their troubles you can help alleviate their pain and find solutions.


Myth : Suicide always occurs without any warning sign.

Fact : There are almost always warning signs. Look out for them.


Myth : Suicide occurs most often among the very rich and the very poor.

Fact : Suicide occurs in equal proportions among people from all socioeconomic strata.


Myth: Someone making suicidal threats won’t really do it, they are just looking for attention.

Fact: Those who talk about suicide or express thoughts about wanting to die, are at risk for suicide and need your attention. Most people who die by suicide give some indication or warning. Take all threats of suicide seriously. Even if you think they are just “crying for help”—a cry for help, is a cry for help—so reach out to them.


10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. It  is an ideal time to inspire people to work towards the goal of developing creative new methods for eradicating stigma. And the first step towards is by creating awareness… let’s spread the word and do our bit in saving lives around us.