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Myths about suicide

Myth - A person who talks about committing suicide won't actually do it.

Fact - About 80% of persons who commit suicide express their intentions to one and often more than one person.

Myth - Suicide usually occurs without warning.

Fact - A person planning suicide usually gives clues about his or her intentions, although in some cases, suicidal intent is carefully concealed.

Myth - A suicidal person fully intends to die.

Fact - Most suicidal people feel ambivalent toward death and arrange an attempted suicide in the hope that someone will intervene.

Myth - If a person attempts suicide once, he or she remains at constant risk for suicide throughout life.

Fact - Suicidal intentions are often limited to a specific period of time, especially if help is sought and received. Help can be effective.

Myth - If a person shows improvement after a suicidal crisis, the risk has passed.

Fact - Most suicides occur within three months or so after the onset of improvement, when the person has the energy to act on intentions.

RESOURCESA Parent's Guide to Suicide Prevention   The guide discusses critical warning signs of suicidal thoughts and potential acts, offers techniques on how to talk to your teen, and includes common myths and misperceptions that could steer parents in the wrong direction.

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