Suicide is a significant cause of death in many western countries, in some cases exceeding deaths by motor vehicle accidents annually. Many countries spend vast amounts of money on safer roads, but very little on suicide awareness and prevention, or on educating people about how to make good life choices.
Attempts at suicide, and suicidal thoughts or feelings are usually a symptom indicating that a person isn't coping, often as a result of some event or series of events that they personally find overwhelmingly traumatic or distressing. In many cases, the events in question will pass, their impact can be mitigated, or their overwhelming nature will gradually fade if the person is able to make constructive choices about dealing with the crisis when it is at its worst.
Since this can be extremely difficult, this article is an attempt to raise awareness about suicide, so that we may be better able to recognize and help other people in crisis, and also to find how to seek help or make better choices ourselves.
The information here is updated periodically, and is intended to be informative rather than authoritative. Readers are encouraged to offer feedback, suggestions, criticisms and any comments on ways you may have found it helpful.
Here are a number of frequently asked questions to help raise awareness and dispel some of the common myths about suicide:
- Why do people attempt suicide?
- Aren't all suicidal people crazy?
- Doesn't talking about suicide encourage it?
- So what sort of things can contribute to someone feeling suicidal?
- How would I know if someone I care about was contemplating suicide?
- I'm a bit uncomfortable about the topic; can't it just go away?
- So what can I do about it?
- Help? Counseling? But isn't counseling just a waste of time?
- Talk, talk, talk. It's all just talk. How's that going to help?
- How do telephone counseling and suicide hot-line services work?
- What about me; am I at risk?
- How does suicide affect friends and family members?
- Hang on; isn't it illegal though? Doesn't that stop people?
- But don't people have the right to kill themselves if they want to?