Why is suicidal stigma so destructive?


Stigma does not promote healthy recovery:

  • In a study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, 83% of participants were aware of the stigma associated with mental illness and had difficulty seeking help. Only 54% of respondents discussed suicide thoughts with their family, peers and/or partners.

The stigma negatively affects the results of treatment:

  • “Perceived stigma can affect feelings of shame and can lead to worse treatment outcomes.” (Psychology Today)

Stigma negatively affects the way you perceive yourself and others:

  • People with depression and schizophrenia are widely and wrongly perceived as unpredictable and dangerous.

Guidelines for assistance:


  • Be open and accept differences;
  • Give people the opportunity to believe in their own experiences and do not rely on stereotypes;
  • Treating suicidal behavior with medication can be helpful in part, but sometimes it is not enough;
  • Start with what people know, not what you think they know.


Watch out for these alarming signs:


  • Looking/Searching for a way to commit suicide (for example, buying a gun);
  • Sharing a desire to commit suicide;
  • Talking about lack of desire and hope for life;
  • Feeling as if the person in question is a burden to others;
  • Increased alcohol/drug use;
  • Signs of severe worry or reckless action;
  • Too little or too much sleep;
  • Withdrawal or isolation from ones’ environment;
  • Demonstrate rage or plans for revenge.

The longer these signs continue to appear, the more serious they become. The more they interfere in everyday life, the greater the need for immediate professional treatment.

If you are concerned about someone showing symptoms of suicidal behavior, ask them the following questions:


“Sounds like things are really hard right now and I’m worried about you. Are you considering suicide?”

“Have you ever considered to attempt suicide?”

“Do you feel sometimes so bad that you consider suicide?”

If the case cannot be postponed and immediate help is needed:


  • Do not leave the person alone;
  • Call the suicide hotline in your country;
  • Remove any psychotropic substances, drugs, lighters or sharp objects;
  • Take the person to a medical professional;
  • Don’t talk about suicide as if it is a secret.