Expert Debunks Veteran Suicide Myths
You Don’t Need to Be an Expert Help!
Saving a Life Starts Here
Veteran suicide suffers from the same stigma associated with civilian suicide. That stigma slows down the conversation, and not just on a national level, but on a personal one. What you think about discussing suicidal thoughts might be wrong. Here are five ways that you can think differently talking with someone you love about suicide.
Veteran families have a higher obstacle to climb because soldiers can want to carry the load no matter how heavy. They all feel that maybe they could have said that one thing that their loved one would still be here. So for them, and for you if you think you need one little nudge to get you over the hump to talk to someone you love about suicide, read on.
The Reddit community supplied all the content below and the original material can be found here. If you’re a Veteran, this is a place to meet other Vets.
Five Myths to Reconsider
Asking about suicide plants the idea in their head. False [see: Dazzi, T., Grobble, R., Wessely, S., & Fear, N. (2014). Does asking about suicide and related behaviors induce suicidal ideation? What is the evidence? psychological medicine] Instead it might help save their lives by reducing the stigma and allowing them to open up a conversation about their thoughts (also, don’t be afraid to use the word “suicide” or “killing yourself.”
People who are suicidal want to die. In most cases, suicidal people don’t want to die, they want the PAIN to stop. There is a difference. They don’t see any way to make it stop unless they are dead. Depression is treatable and there are ways to help reduce the pain and find reasons for living.
People who are suicidal are weak. False. Depression is a serious, but treatable illness that has nothing to do with moral strength or weakness.
People who commit suicide are selfish. False. Most people who commit suicide truly believe that their loved ones would be better off without them. Many believe that they put a burden on family and friends and that they would be much happier without them. I’ve had patients share these thoughts with their loved ones and they were utterly surprised to see their loved ones vehemently disagree with their thoughts.
People who are suicidal are just trying to get attention. I’ll end on this one, because I really want you to remember this. OF COURSE THEY WANT ATTENTION. And?? They are crying for help, they do want attention because they are screaming for help. If someone’s house is on fire, don’t they cry for help and try to get someone’s attention? Why do we shame people for suicidal behaviors or sharing their thoughts? There are so many more I’d love to share, but I’ll just start here for now. Check on your loved ones.
Another common attitude that shows a problematic lack of empathy is when people take seriously only completed suicides or “real suicide attempts” and even praise them as signs of genuine and heroic suffering and struggle. Meanwhile mocking and downplaying “fake” or “attention seeking” suicide attempts, surviving less effective methods, as well as self harm in general.
ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER
Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.
Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.
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The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author.