Finding Help > Signs > Facts and Fallacies > Do's and Don'ts


How to Help


SignsAvoids friends and activities.

Talks about wanting to die.

Can’t sleep.

Is moody, teary or quiet.

Starts neglecting his or her appearance.

Appears to have no energy or no appetite.

Expresses feelings of despair, hopelessness and helplessness.

Tries to cut or hurt himself/ herself.

Starts giving away personal possessions.

Makes statements like ‘It’s my fault’ or ‘I won’t be around to face…’


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Facts and Fallacies

Myth Persons who talk about suicide, do not commit suicide.
Facts Of any 10 persons who will commit, 8 have given definite warnings of their suicidal intentions.

Myth Persons who talk about suicide, do not commit suicide.
Facts Studies reveal that suicidal persons give many clues and warning regarding their suicidal intentions.

Myth Suicidal people are fully intent on dying.
Facts Most suicidal persons are undecided about living or dying, and they “gamble with death”, leaving it to others to save them. Almost no one commits suicide without letting others know how they are feeling.

Myth Once a person is suicidal, they are suicidal forever.
Facts Individuals who wish to kill themselves are suicidal only for a  limited period of time.
facts and fallacies

Myth Suicide strikes much more often among the rich, or,  conversely, almost exclusively among
the poor.
Facts Suicide is neither the rich man’s disease nor the poor man’s curse.
Suicide is represented proportionately in all levels of society.

Myth Suicide is inherited or “runs in the family”.
Facts It follows individual patterns.

Myth Improvement following a suicidal crisis means that the suicidal risk is over.
Facts Most suicides occur about 3 months following the beginning of “improvement”, when the individual has the energy to put his morbid thoughts and feelings into effect.

Myth Suicide attempters are just looking for attention.
Facts Most people considering suicide are sincerely reaching out for help.
Their cries should not be taken lightly.

Myth Talking about suicide encourages people to do it..
Facts When listened to with care, suicidal people get a chance to express themselves
and may find relief.

Myth All suicidal individuals are mentally ill, and suicide is always the act of a psychotic person.
Facts Studies of hundreds of genuine suicide notes indicate that although suicidal people are extremely  unhappy, they are not necessarily mentally ill.


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Do's and Don'ts


Approach your friend and let him/ her know you have noticed.

Ask about his/ her well-being.

Listen to his/ her problems and feelings.

Be accepting, do not judge.

Be patient and gentle.

Show that you care.

Ask openly and directly if he/ she is thinking of harming himself/ herself.

Take threats seriously.

Get help.

Call Befrienders.


Don’t offer empty words or reassurance.

Don’t give up on your friends – maintain contact with the person at risk.

Never assume that talk of suicide is simply a manipulation for attention.

Don’t think that having previously failed an attempted suicide will prevent someone from another attempt.

Don’t minimize your friend’s pain


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