Sunday, September 25, 2011

How to prevent bad suicide prevention

When an adult expresses depressed or suicidal sentiments, a common reply is: “But look at what you have; a roof over your head, food in the fridge. Millions of people would love to switch places with you.”

This is a sub-useless response. Let’s talk it out:

So SUICIDE GUY has all his material needs met, putting him in a much better position than many others, yet despite this he is still stricken with a sadness profound enough to cancel his self-preservation instinct...soooo how is this an argument for his continuing to live? If having everything he needs to survive in the face of widespread famine and squalor ain’t enough to shock him into life-loving gratitude, what else could he reasonably expect will enter his life to make him feel better? And what happens if SUICIDE GUY loses that roof and well-stocked fridge? And since when does a guilt trip make someone feel better about himself?

When a teen expresses depressed or suicidal sentiments, a common reply is: “C’mon, these are the best years of your life.”

Hard to imagine a more pro-suicide retort. If these are the best years of DEPRESSED TEEN’s life, and these years have left him suicidal, how is that an incentive to keep living? Effectively what you’re saying is: These years that have driven you to consider self-murder are the best you’ll ever have, and when they end in a few short years, according to the stats you’re looking at at least 60 more years that will make you nostalgic for this period that has given you a deathwish.

I’m not a medical professional, but it seems to me that if you encounter someone who is depressed/suicidal, it is best to leave these canned answers on the shelf. They actually strengthen the suicide's case.

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