5 Myths About Suicide

Psychiatrist John Humphrey of Eastover Psychological & Psychiatric Group addresses five myths about suicide and depression

1. People with a strong support system are not at risk. “People who are isolated from others are at greater risk for suicide if depressed, but even those in a good network can be at risk if severely depressed or under extreme stress.”

2. Friends and family should keep their concerns quiet until they know for sure that someone’s in trouble. “The biggest misconception is that people should not discuss suicidal thoughts with a depressed person, because they fear putting the idea in that person’s head. That will not happen.”

3. Suicide is a way of alleviating a burden, whether to one’s self or to loved ones. “Suicide is a devastating event for family and loved ones. I have seen many people who are still traumatized by this loss of a loved one many years later.”

4. There’s a quick fix for people with suicidal thoughts. “I have treated many people with ideas of suicide. They need a combined approach, with psychotherapy, medications, and involvement of family.”

5. Many people are too deeply depressed to be helped. “There are excellent interventions for severe depression, and with enough work, anyone can improve and come out of this painful state.”

Suicide warning signs:
* Expressions of feeling trapped or hopeless
* Withdrawing from social contact
* Severe agitation or anxiety
* Increased drug or alcohol use
* Mood swings 
* Change in eating or sleeping habits
* Feelings of being a burden to others

If you or someone you know needs help: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)—Allison Futterman