Understanding Suicide: Myths & Facts

Understanding Suicide: Myths & FactsGo To Top of Page

To understand why people die by suicide and why so many others attempt to take their own lives, it is important to know the facts. Read the facts about suicide below and share them with others.


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


Suicide is preventable. The vast majority of people contemplating suicide don’t really want to die. They are seeking an end to intense mental or physical pain. Most have a mental illness. Interventions can save lives.


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


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.


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


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 help.


It is easy for parents/caregivers to tell when their child is showing signs of suicidal behavior.


Unfortunately, research shows that this is not the case in a surprisingly large percentage of families. This illustrates the importance for parents/caregivers to be attentive to warning signs, risk factors, to ask direct questions, and be open to conversation.

What Should I Do If I Am Worried About My Child?Go To Top of Page

If you believe that your child is thinking about suicide, approach the situation by asking. Asking is the first step in saving a life and can let them know that you are here for them and will listen. Here are some examples of how you may ask: “Have you thought about suicide?” “Sometimes when people are sad as you are, they think about suicide. Have you ever thought about it?”


If you need IMMEDIATE help, call 911. For a psychiatric emergency, contact the Department of Mental Health 24-hour ACCESS Center at (800) 854-7771.

Resources for Parents/Caregivers & Children/AdolescentsGo To Top of Page

Community Hotlines

Didi Hirsch Suicide Prevention Hotline (877) 727-4747 (24 hours)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800) 273-TALK (8255) (24 hours)
Trevor Lifeline (866) 488-7386 (24 hours)
Teen Line (800) 852-8336 (6pm-10pm daily)

Text and Chat Resources

Crisis Chat (11am-11pm, daily) http://www.crisischat.org/chat
Teen Line - text “TEEN” to 839863

Online Resources


Smartphone Apps

Teen Line Youth Yellow Pages