May 20, 2023 08:28
Korea is one of the countries with the highest suicide rate in the world and there have been urgent calls for action from all parts of society to stop the crisis.
The Korean Society for Depression and Suicide Prevention held an academic seminar recently to bust persistent myths surrounding suicide.
"People think that just mentioning suicide can trigger it, but that's a myth," said Hong Seung-bong, a neurologist at Samsung Medical Center and head of the society. "The first step toward suicide prevention is to listen to people around you who are in pain or feel isolated and ask them about suicide and depression."
One dangerous myth is that people who threaten to take their own lives are bluffing. The society says people should never rule out any warning signs.
Another myth is that people with suicidal tendencies cannot be in their right mind. In fact, most people who contemplate suicide think normal thoughts but are under extreme stress.
It is also untrue there is nothing that can be done to dissuade people once they have decided to kill themselves. Most people who contemplate suicide do not want to die and wonder whether they should keep living until the last minute.
More than 50 percent of people who take their own lives in fact look for help first, going to doctors and seeking treatment.
Another fear is that asking people questions about suicide at all could plant the idea in their head and push them into it. But in fact, asking people about suicide makes them think again and can be a way of helping them.
"People who try to commit suicide are often very keen to speak to others, and listening to them can help them get rid of their suicidal intentions."
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