Myths About Suicide

Suicide is rarely understood and frequently stigmatized. I remember when I heard about fashion designer Kate Spade’s suicide. But she was rich and famous. And she had a teenaged daughter. Why?

But the truth is, no one really knows what kind of pain another person may be in. Even if they appear to have much to live for.

Because suicide isn’t talked about enough, it is shrouded in mystery.

Suicide Myths

  • It can’t happen to my teenage child.
  • Suicides come out of the blue with little or no warning.
  • People who stop acting depressed and begin acting inexplicably happy have turned a corner and are out of danger.
  • Everyone who attempts suicide intends to die.
  • Suicides occur only in lower socio-economic groups.
  • Those who talk about suicide don’t really do it.
  • Most suicide victims had prior attempts.
  • People who have everything to live for don’t do it.
  • People who commit suicide don’t want help.
  • Once people decide to die by suicide, there is nothing you can do to stop them.
  • People who attempt suicide and survive will not attempt suicide again.
  • Only people who appear depressed attempt suicide.
  • A suicide attempt is a manipulative behavior and therefore should be ignored or even punished.
  • Depression and other mental disorders do not occur in young people.

Suicide Warning Signs

These are signs that someone maybe considering or planning to commit suicide

My father committed suicide when I was 11 years old. Even at that age, I knew that he was depressed. I felt guilty for years because I felt like I should have been able to prevent it.

I realize now that a young child cannot prevent a parent’s suicide. But it is preventable. Pay attention to your family, friends and coworkers. Don’t be afraid to intervene. You could save their life.

If someone you know is talking about or planning to take his or her life, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255).

Mental Illnesses in Women vs Men

Problematic stigmas prevail in mental illness whether you are male or female. As a woman with bipolar, I can attest that the stigma is real and it is harsh. I learned early on to hide my disorder. Otherwise, I would be labeled as “crazy” or “incapable” or just not taken seriously at all. How does society judge men who have mental illness?

Facts:

Mental illnesses affect women differently than men.

  • Gender specific risk factors for common mental disorders that disproportionately affect women include gender based violence, socioeconomic disadvantage, low income and income inequality, low or subordinate social status and rank and responsibility for the care of others.
  • Unipolar depression is twice as common in women as it is in men
  • Substance use disorders are twice as high in men as they are in women
  • Men are three times more likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders than women (psychopaths and sociopaths)
  • There are no marked differences in prevalence of severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar between the genders
  • Disability from mental illness falls most heavily on those who experience three or more comorbid disorders. Here, women predominate.
  • Women are roughly three times more likely to attempt suicide, though men are two to four times more likely to die from suicide. Women show a much higher rate of suicidal thinking, non-fatal suicidal behavior, and suicide attempts.
Continue reading “Mental Illnesses in Women vs Men”