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6 Myths About Male Suicide and Depression We Need to Stop Believing

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Depression and suicide can be difficult to talk about, but it doesn’t mean we should avoid the conversation.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and depression, if untreated, is one of the leading risk factors. You may have heard similar stats before but it might surprise you to learn men account for three to four times the number of suicides as women.

One of the reasons for this has to do with myths about suicide that overlap and amplify male stereotypes about needing to look strong, not asking others for help and hiding emotions. Together these misperceptions get in the way of many men reaching out or talking about depression and suicide.

A recent series by HeadsUpGuys (a website resource that focuses on helping guys fight depression) highlights these myths.

Here are some of the most common and damaging myths:

Myth #1: “Talking about suicide will only encourage it.”

When framed in terms of recovery, treatment and hope, discussing suicide is one of the most helpful things you can do.

Suicide myth: talking about suicide will only encourage it.

Myth #2: “Suicide attempts are about seeking attention.”

Sometimes attempts can be a signal for help, other times the person is trying to escape attention or thinks they are no longer worth any attention. Whatever the reason, any suicide attempt should be taken seriously.

Suicide Myth: Suicide attempts are about seeking attention

Myth #3: “Suicide means weakness.”

Suicide has claimed the lives of many men who showed bravery throughout their lives. Suicide has little to do with the strength of a man’s character or him being selfish and much more to do with how severe his depression had become.

Suicide myth: suicide means weakness

Myth #4: “Suicide is a selfish act and the easy way out.”

Sometimes a guy’s thoughts are so distorted he thinks he is actually helping friends and family avoid further suffering by ending his life.

Suicide myth: suicide is a selfish act and the easy way out

Myth 5: “There is a clear reason for every suicide.”

Friends and family members often blame themselves after a suicide. But suicide is very complicated and involves many factors, some of which the person may never have shared or even understood himself.

Suicide myth: There is a clear reason for every suicide

Myth 6: “Some people are so sick that suicide is inevitable.”

Guys have made it back from all levels and severities of depression. Even men who have tried to take their lives multiple times have recovered — recovery is possible.

Suicide Myth: Some people are so sick that suicide is inevitable

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via Everste.

Originally published: February 27, 2017
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