Midshipmen Development Center
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Myths & Truths

Myth
“Sailors who talk about suicide won't really do it.”
Truth
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 feelings.
Myth
“Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.”
Truth
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.
Myth
“If a Sailor is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.”
Truth
In most cases, even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, often 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.
Myth
“Talking about suicide may give a Sailor the idea to hurt themselves.”
Truth
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.
Myth
“Getting help will make me to lose my clearance.”
Truth
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 impact performance, conduct and finances, is more likely to lead to clearance loss. 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 currently still required to be reported by the applicant on the SF 86 form, this merely leads to an extra step in the clearance process, and rarely results in denial or revocation of one's clearance.

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