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The University of Texas at Austin Division of Student Affairs

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Common Myths About Suicide

Most individuals who attempt suicide remain uncertain of their decision until the final moment.

Most suicidal people do not wish for death; they wish for the pain to stop. Most suicidal thoughts and actions are not driven by a desire to end one's life, but by a desire to relieve their suffering.

If someone intends to kill him/herself, s/he will communicate this either directly or indirectly.

Most people communicate their intent (directly or indirectly), especially in the week before an attempt. Suicidal individuals try to let someone they know either verbally or nonverbally that they are in crisis. It should always be taken seriously. If you are unsure if the person is serious, ask him/her.

You can help a student who is thinking about suicide.

People who are considering suicide are almost always ambivalent about it. Often, if their pain can be reduced even only slightly, they will want to go on living. Research shows that people who were prevented from killing themselves reported being extremely grateful later.

You cannot give a student suicidal thoughts by talking about suicide.

Bringing up the subject and discussing it is one of the most helpful things you can do, as it helps a suicidal person feel connected and demonstrates that you understand the amount of suffering the person is experiencing.