A Few Basic Facts (Part I)

Let’s demystify the process. Here are a few basic facts :

  • Being depressed doesn’t mean you’re crazy. Despair and depression, the chief causes of suicidal feelings, are not indicators of a severe mental illness. As you help someone, think to yourself: If I were in that person’s shoes, going through what they’re going through, wouldn’t I feel the same way?
  • The vast majority of suicidal persons signal their intention ahead of time. The signals might not be completely obvious, but they are there.
  • Suicide is not genetic. True, families suffering common problems may find more than one suicide within their midst. One family member’s suicide often touches off another – which means that counseling is vital for family members of a suicide. But the same domino effect can manifest itself in a school, a workplace, an institutional setting…
  • Suicide is not physically contagious. Both the authors of this book have attempted suicide twice each. Yet, you can touch us and talk to us. The virus of utter despair will not leap onto your body. However, having someone close to you commit suicide can touch off feelings of guilt, remorse, neglect – putting you in danger of tumbling down a staircase of despair.
  • Suicide respects no economic class distinctions. Rich or poor, man or woman, educated or illiterate, suicide does not discriminate. However, most completed suicides are male; girls and women carry out the vast majority of uncompleted attempts.

Book excerpt from Quebec Suicide Prevention Handbook (2014), Éditions TNT

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