Tag: preventing suicide
For every person “Are you suicidal?” may assist, there are many more of us who are scared into silence when those words are uttered. Why? Well, “Are you suicidal?” is, in fact, the king of the suicide risk assessment questionnaire. “Are you suicidal?” has become the red, neon, flashing sign that screams “Stop! Don’t talk to me!” Perhaps this might just explain why suicide risk assessments are well known not to work.
The hotline “counselor” will tell you that, if you’re unable to keep yourself safe, they will have to send you some “help.” We all know that what they mean is not a friend or a therapist but the police. Because strangers, usually big white men with guns, keep everyone safe and are not triggering, traumatizing or on power trips at all.
The suicide crisis is real. The pain is real. The deaths are real. None of us can afford to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that this isn't happening. But the helplessness and confusion about what to do about it are also real. And that's why peer relationships and peer-developed modalities can be so helpful. Many of us have been there and are still alive to talk about it. We know what ways of relating gave us hope and helped us to continue on.
The “good” suicide attempt survivor wakes up in a hospital bed bathed in beautiful natural light, surrounded by the people who love them most, and they realize that their thinking was flawed and all those unsolvable problems can actually be solved if they are just compliant with medication and therapy. And then there's the “bad” suicide attempter who is angry that they lived, who challenges the status quo.
Rational Suicide, Irrational Laws is an excellent book that explores the criminalization and decriminalization of suicide. It analyzes laws by which “mental health” professionals and organizations are held accountable or “liable.” It exposes horrific contradictions in how laws are applied, particularly problematizing the assumption that people who kill themselves are suffering from a “mental illness.” There is much in this book that makes me want to stand up and cheer.