Earlier this spring Don Cornelius took his life. Last year, Russell Armstrong, estranged husband of the one of Bravo’s Beverly Hills Housewives show’s leads, and an investment banker reportedly deeply in debt, was found hanged to death at home in Los Angeles, an apparent suicide. This weekend we saw Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shoot his girlfriend multiple times at a residence near Arrowhead Stadium, drive to the team’s practice facility and turned the gun on himself as general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel looked on.
Earlier this summer the suicide of one-time New York Yankees’ pitcher Hideki Irabu was a lynch pin for discussion as a reminder that we don’t understand suicide.
A suicidal person may not ask for help, but that doesn’t mean that help isn’t wanted. Most people who commit suicide don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting. Suicide prevention starts with recognizing the warning signs and taking them seriously.
Here are myths that need to be addressed.
1-FALSE: People who talk about suicide won’t really do it.
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” — no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
2-FALSE: Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They must be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
3-FALSE: If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.