Health Services

Myths vs. Fact About Suicide

“People who talk about suicide won't really do it.”
Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you'll be sorry when I'm dead,” “I can't see any way out,” -- no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal ideation or plans.
“Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.”
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
“If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.”
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
“Talking about suicide may give a person the idea to hurt themselves.”
You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true --bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
“Getting help will make me lose my clearance.”
Less than 2% of revoked or denied clearances are for psychological problems. In the vast majority of situations, getting counseling or treatment is an indicator of the good reliability and judgment required for clearances. Failure to seek help and allowing problems to get worse and start to impact performance, conduct, and finances is more likely to lead to clearance loss. With changes in April 2008, marital, family, or grief counseling (not related to violence by the applicant and unless the treatment was court-ordered) and any counseling for post combat deployment concerns are not required to be reported on the security clearance form SF 86. While other counseling or psychological treatment is reported by the applicant on the SF 86 form and leads to an extra step in the clearance process, this very rarely results in denial or revocation of a security clearance.

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