Common suicide myths and their solutions

  • Published
  • By Chaplain (Maj.) Alexandra King
  • 932nd Airlift Wing

National Suicide Prevention month was last month, but that doesn’t mean we need to be less vigilant on this topic and of the warning signs. 

Using information from the Defense Suicide Prevention Office (, here are some common suicide myths and their solutions:

1.  Myth: Suicide is never impulsive.

Solutions:  It can take less than 10 minutes between thinking about suicide and acting on it.  Practice safe storage options on medications, firearms, sharp objects and chemicals.  Beware of vehicles as a means of suicide. 

In a fleeting moment of despair, remember the people who would miss you - family, children, significant others, friends, co-workers, the 932nd AW Family.  Every dark night is followed by a new day.  Suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem.  You are loved and cared for as you are.  You are not alone.

2.  Myth: Only mental health professionals can help with individuals who are at risk of suicide.

Solutions:  The following people in your organization can help at-risk individuals:

  — Chaplains and religious affairs Airmen can offer support and privileged communication

  — Financial counselors

  — Family members

  — Friends

  — Crisis Help Lines (Dial 988)

  — Spiritual Leader

  — Director of Psychological Health

  — Supervisors and leaders

  — Medical professionals

We can all help someone by letting them know they have our support, that you can listen without judgment and lend a helping hand if needed.

3.  Myth: Getting help is a sign of weakness.

Solution: We are made to be interdependent NOT independent and getting help is a sign of strength.

4.  Myth: You are defined by your failures and successes.

Solution:  Spiritual journeys teach us differently, pursue the journey and find joy in it.

5.  Myth: If I talk about suicide with my loved one it will make them want to do it.

Solution:  Talking about it helps people see there are other options that are better and there are always better options.  It opens the door to getting help.

6.  Myth: Getting help will hurt my career.

Solution:  Remember, you matter more to the people who love you than your career.

Getting help allows you to be available for your loved ones, your colleagues, and when you are ready, for the mission.

If you or someone you know needs support now, call or text 988 or chat This new, shorter phone number will make it easier for people to remember and access mental health crisis services. Please note, the previous 1-800-273-TALK (8255) number will continue to function indefinitely.

For 932nd Airlift Wing members, our Wing Director of Psychological Health, Yolanda Gunzel, can be reached at 618-229-7492.