In Defense of Suicide Prevention

In Defense of Suicide Prevention

Many people take offense at my stance on suicide prevention. They send me angry emails. They post challenging comments on this site. A common argument is that people should be free to die by suicide without intervention by others, no matter what: “For some people there is little to be done sadly and if they […]

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When Suicidal Thoughts Do Not Go Away

When Suicidal Thoughts Do Not Go Away

The popular image of someone who is in danger of suicide goes like this: A person has suicidal thoughts. It’s a crisis. The person gets help, and the crisis resolves within days or weeks. That’s the popular image, and thankfully it does happen for many people. But for others, suicidal thoughts do not go away. […]

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10 Things to Say to a Suicidal Person

10 Things to Say to a Suicidal Person

Many people desperately want to know what to say – and what not to say – to someone who is thinking of suicide. The article 10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person is SpeakingOfSuicide.com’s most popular post. Almost a half-million people have viewed it in the last 2½ years. Several hundred have left […]

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Language Matters: Committed Suicide vs. Completed Suicide vs. Died by Suicide

Language Matters: Committed Suicide vs. Completed Suicide vs. Died by Suicide

Written by on September 21, 2017 in All Posts, Misc, Suicide, Terminology with 20 Comments

People in the suicide prevention field discourage the use of the term “committed suicide.” The word “committed” (when followed by a noun instead of “to”) is generally reserved for crimes or acts that many people view as immoral. Someone commits burglary, or murder, or rape, or perjury, or adultery – or something else bad. Suicide […]

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How to Navigate Confidentiality and Contact with Family After a Client’s Suicide

How to Navigate Confidentiality and Contact with Family After a Client’s Suicide

The ethical and legal obligations of confidentiality remain after a psychotherapist’s client dies, but how much? There is a lot of confusion around this. Here, I address what therapists can say or do with the client’s family while honoring the client’s confidentiality. First, be warned: I am not a lawyer, so my opinions represent a […]

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HelpingTheSuicidalPerson.com: A New Website for Professionals

HelpingTheSuicidalPerson.com: A New Website for Professionals

  On the final page of my upcoming book about helping suicidal individuals, I made a promise. Well, it wasn’t explicitly a promise, but it might as well have been one: “To learn more about how to help the suicidal person, visit this book’s companion website: www.helpingthesuicidalperson.com. The site contains information about books, trainings, online courses, […]

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“What Stops You from Killing Yourself?”

“What Stops You from Killing Yourself?”

I advise my students to ask their suicidal clients, “What stops you? What stops you from killing yourself?” Some are horrified. They see this almost as a dare, as if they are saying to a hurting, suicidal person, If you really wanted to kill yourself, you would have done it already. What stops you? To […]

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Speaking of Suicide … Within Limits

Speaking of Suicide … Within Limits

I don’t want to encourage people to kill themselves. I also don’t want to give advice on ways to die by suicide, or to advertise the supposed virtues of suicide. Can you blame me? Some people do blame me. Hundreds of people have submitted to this website comments that could be construed as pro-suicide. And […]

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Would an Anti-Self-Harm Oath Reduce Veteran Suicide?

Would an Anti-Self-Harm Oath Reduce Veteran Suicide?

Veteran suicide is a national tragedy. Every day, 20 veterans kill themselves. The veteran suicide rate is more than double that of the general population (35.3 vs. 15.2 per 100,000). (Those stats and others are available .) Congressman Brian Mast, a Republican veteran from Florida, thinks he has an answer: Require military personnel, upon leaving […]

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“If You Take Meds for Mental Illness, Do Not Feel Ashamed or Weak”

“If You Take Meds for Mental Illness, Do Not Feel Ashamed or Weak”

If you take psychiatric medications – or want to – these words written by a dear friend of mine, MaryElizabeth, might help you: I feel compelled to say this. If you take meds for mental illness to help you stay alive, or just as importantly, to move from surviving to thriving, do not feel ashamed or weak. […]

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