Therapy Note: Suicide

Too often, myths and misconceptions about mental health services prevent people from seeking support.  My goal is to provide a space where these myths and misconceptions may be examined.  The blogs titled “Therapy Note” dispel or provide clarification to some of the more common myths for the population/topic listed in the title of the note.


September is Suicide Prevention Month.  Death by suicide is preventable.  


Myth 1: If you talk about suicide, a person is more likely to die by suicide.


Reality:  This is one of the more common myths.  Death by suicide is preventable.  Talking about suicide does not increase the likelihood that a person will die by suicide. As a clinician, I’ve been trained to ask the hard question “do you plan on killing yourself?”  It’s a hard question to ask but the sense of relief that I have seen when people are able to talk about it in a supportive environment is necessary.  


Myth 2: People who die by suicide are “crazy.”


Reality:  First and foremost, crazy is not a clinical term.  People who contemplate or die by suicide are typically in a tremendous amount of emotional and mental pain.  In addition, there may be physiological things occurring that make thoughts that are irrational to others seem very rational to a person who is looking for a way to end the pain.  Some diseases, physical conditions and drugs may also increase suicidal thoughts and impulses.  


Myth 3: Everyone who dies from suicide wants to die.


Reality:  Suicide is seen as a means of escaping that pain be it physical or emotional/mental. Many times, the person is not able to see another way of resolving what is going and may feel as if this is the only way out.  Thoughts in regards to “no longer being a burden” are common.  


Myth 4:  The media is being “secretive” or there is some “mystery” around the death because they are not sharing details. 


Reality:  Professionals advise the media on how to report deaths by suicide.  This advisement includes ways to report as well as language to use.  In doing so, the hope is to provide respect for the privacy of the family as well as to not glorify death by suicide.  



If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, seek help:


The National Suicide provides free and confidential support 24/7 (800) 273-8255

 Crisis Text Line:  text HOME to 741741


For more information on signs and symptoms please visit:


For more information on ways to talk to those who are contemplating suicide, please visit: