Survey Reveals Misconceptions About Suicide Prevention

In September 2021, Cohen Veterans Network revealed findings of its America’s Mental Health Suicide Prevention Pulse Survey, which looked at Americans’ general knowledge of suicide prevention. The survey coincides with the network’s #AskTheQuestion public awareness campaign, which encourages people to take action if they’re concerned that someone they know may be having thoughts of suicide. September marks Suicide Prevention Month intended to bring awareness to the topic and promote suicide prevention best practices.

“Suicide prevention is a top priority for Cohen Veterans Network,” said Cohen Veterans Network President and CEO Dr. Anthony Hassan. “The stigma associated with suicide and seeking help are significant barriers to treatment. With this survey, we wanted to address myths that exist around suicide and misconceptions that stand in the way of suicide intervention. Our goal is to help empower people to take action should they be concerned about someone they know.”

The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted by The Harris Poll, offers an overview of Americans’ understanding of suicide prevention. Key findings include:

Nearly half (44%) of Americans say that if they had reason to believe that someone they know might be having thoughts of suicide they would NOT be comfortable asking them ”Have you thought about killing yourself?”

-Over one-third (36%) of Americans believe it is best not to ask someone who might be having suicidal thoughts, ”Are you thinking about taking your own life?”

-Nearly one-third (29%) of Americans believe asking someone if they are thinking about taking their own life may make them more likely to kill themselves.

-Nearly half (45%) of Americans believe that most suicides happen suddenly, without warning or ”on a whim.”