Suicide is not something that people want to talk about or even think about, but people do think about it and it does happen. Thus, we must begin to have more open dialogue about the subject of suicide. We can all take a positive step towards helping others who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide by becoming more knowledgeable and confident about ways to broach this subject if we think someone may be at risk for self-harm or suicide.

One of the most misunderstood myths of suicide and suicide prevention is the idea that by asking someone if they are having thoughts of suicide, you are putting the idea in their head. People then assume this makes it more likely that the individual will act on this thought. However, research has borne out that the opposite is almost always true. If you ask someone if they are struggling with thoughts of suicide or if they are thinking of killing themselves, you are in fact giving them an outlet to vent the intense feelings and difficult thoughts they are having. This opening to talk about their frustrations and fears can help them feel less isolated and alone, which are major risk factors for someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts.

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