1. You shouldn't talk about suicide with someone who you think might be at risk. It is best to just avoid it altogether because you may give that person the idea to do it.
Serious talk about suicide does not create or increase risk. It provides an opportunity to reduce it. The best way to identify the possibility of suicide is to ask directly. Open talk and genuine concern about someone's thoughts of suicide are a source of relief for them and are often the key elements in preventing the immediate danger of suicide. Avoidance leaves the person at risk feeling more alone and perhaps too anxious to risk asking someone else to help. Ask clearly – make it OK to talk about it.
2. People who talk about suicide won't do it.
People who attempt suicide usually talk about their intentions, directly or indirectly, before they act. Most people who die by suicide talk about it in some way with another person before they act.
3. A nonfatal outcome means it was only an attention-getting behaviour.
Nonfatal suicidal behaviours are often a desperate invitation for others to help. If help is not offered, a person at risk may reach the conclusion that help will never come. Not taking them seriously may actually increase their reasons for dying.
4. People who are really serious about dying choose very lethal methods.
There is a modest connection between how much a person wants or intends to die and the method they use, but other things also influence their choice of methods. People will choose a method that they feel comfortable with or they make the choice for some other personal reason. People sometimes kill themselves in ways that you might have thought were impossible.
5. Suicidal people want to die.
Most suicidal people are unsure about dying right up to the point of acting. Part of them wants to die, but part of them wants to live. Very few are absolutely determined or completely decided about ending their life. The vast majority of people who are suicidal at some time in their life find a way to continue living. They don't necessarily want to die; they want to end the pain.
6. Once a person attempts suicide, he or she won't do it again.
Although it is true that most people who purposely harm themselves do not go on to kill themselves later, a significant number who attempt, will attempt again. The rate of suicide for those who have attempted before is 40 times higher than that of the general population. Therefore, prior suicidal behaviour is a major risk factor.
7. When a person feels better, the danger is over.
Feeling better could mean two quite different things: a decision to live, or to die. They are no longer in emotional conflict about deciding. Window of suicide: a person who is severely depressed, for example, may not have the energy to kill herself. A lifting of the depression (medication perhaps) may provide the energy needed to act. They are most in danger when they are either getting better or going down again.