Why Prevent Suicide? Here Are My Reasons.

 The red, octagonal STOP sign is pictured against a bright blue sky.“If someone’s life is so awful that they want to die by suicide, why stop them?”

I am frequently asked some variation of this question, even by mental health professionals. Once, a therapist told me about a client of hers with schizophrenia. “He is miserable, and he will always have schizophrenia. I think letting him kill himself is humane.”

I am passionate about suicide prevention. My stance often draws the ire of people who think that people should have the right to end their own life without interference by well-meaning others.

To my mind, there are many reasons to stop someone from suicide. (I am not, by the way, including “death with dignity” or “hastened death.” That’s grist for another discussion.)

Before going into those reasons, I want to make clear that I don’t take intervention lightly. I don’t call the police if someone discloses suicidal thoughts. I don’t think people should be involuntarily committed to a hospital except in the most extreme circumstances, like if someone has a gun in their car and tells me they are going to shoot themselves when they leave my office, without any desire or will to come up with an alternative (like, say, having someone hold on to their gun for them). I consider myself to be a therapist who doesn’t panic about suicide. 

But I do believe that therapists should never give up helping a suicidal person to stay alive. The most important reason to prevent suicide is that suicidal crises, though formidable and painful, almost always are temporary. Even if the person continues thinking about suicide, the intense suicidal intent usually subsides. Consider that 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide. That number is very revealing. Even among people who wanted to die so strongly that they tried to end their life, most ultimately chose to live.

As long as a person is alive, things can change for the better. Situations change. Even if their external situation is unchangeable, they may discover things that make their life worth living. There is always the possibility that they may find ways to cope. Or they may come to appreciate different things in life. They may even find a purpose in life that gives their loss or trauma meaning.The Golden Gate Bridge stretches across the bay to a cluster of hills, and a boat cruises the water beneath it.

Kevin Hines is a suicide prevention advocate who, years ago, jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge, the site in the U.S. with the most suicides every year. Death is almost certain when one jumps from the bridge. More than 1,500 people are known to have jumped to their death, and only 30 or so are known to have survived. So when Kevin jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge, he was absolutely intent on dying. And yet, even with that intention, the moment he jumped off the bridge, he instantly regretted his decision.

His experience is one of many (including my own story) that illustrates that the wish to die is fluid. It comes and goes to varying degrees. A great many people who are saved from suicide are thankful, sooner or later, to be alive.

Another important reason to prevent suicide is because, proponents of rational suicide notwithstanding, in almost all cases suicide is decidedly irrational. Research consistently indicates that 90% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental illness at the time of their death (though more recently, some evidence indicates that not as many people who die by suicide have a mental illness diagnosis). Mental illness distorts thinking. What is bad can seem good, and vice versa. Often, very often, when a person’s mental health improves, the wish to die goes away.

Some people contest the high estimates of mental illness in suicide. Even if we presume the 90% figure is correct, not everyone who dies by suicide has a mental illness. Other things besides mental illness can also distort one’s thinking, such as substance use, sleep deprivation, and trauma.

When people address these issues, they often join the legions who seriously considered suicide or made an attempt, and who many years later live to tell about it.

Revised on May 30, 2017, this post was originally titled “‘If Someone’s Life is So Awful that They Want to Die, Why Stop Them?'”

© Copyright 2013; 2017 Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW. All rights Reserved. Written For: Speaking of Suicide. Photos purchased from Fotolia.com

Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW, is the author of “Helping the Suicidal Person: Tips and Techniques for Professionals,” a psychotherapist and consultant, and an associate professor at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work.

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  1. Lars Hansen says:

    With all due respect, the title of the post doesn’t really have anything to do with the content of same.
    All you’re saying is that people who tried to commit suicide usually don’t die from suicide.
    Okay, as far as that goes.
    But it doesn’t really say anything about their (the suicidees) quality of life afterwards.
    For all you know, preventing people from killing themselves might simply condemn them to a life that they don’t particularly want, despite what society tells them.

    And yes, life might offer up untold possibilities for someone prevented from killing themself.
    But by that same logic, it also might offer up untold horrors.
    So unless you’ve got some Delphic oracle hidden somewhere, you can’t possibly know.

    And I get the knee-jerk reaction that every human life is, if not sacred, then certainly worth saving. But a knee-jerk reaction is all it is.
    What I object to is the automatic inference that more life is more better.
    Which is demonstrably false with even a cursory look at any 3rd world country.

    Or to put it more philosophically, isn’t the most basic human right, the ability to…well, stop being a human being?
    No human on the planet, alive or dead, was asked if he/she wanted to be part of this world.
    So why is it such a stretch to imagine that someone might want to opt out?

    • Jamie says:

      I read your comment and couldn’t agree with you more. None of us, were asked if we wanted to enter this world or more importantly, how we would want to enter this world. Some of us are born dirt poor, into abusive families, with medical problems and physical features we are opposed to. I agree with the notion that if someone wants to end their life, they can without scrutiny.

    • Gio says:

      Totally agree with you!

    • Joe Schmoe says:

      How do you know we didn’t at some time ‘ask’ to be a human being?

  2. Ben says:

    A bullshit article … and not one compelling reason to not commit suicide. Not one. Spare everyone the things can change or you can learn to find new meaning in life…It does not speak to the realities of the very real hell people with disabilities, in poverty or living with trauma face.

    [This comment was edited in accordance with the Comments Policy. – SF]

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I see that the article angered you. The hostility people have toward suicide prevention vexed me in the past. Over time, I’ve come to realize my conceptualization of suicide prevention is different from what many others mean. To me, preventing suicide is doing what we can to make life better for people, in general making it less likely that people would want to die by suicide, and helping people stay alive while (hopefully) their lives improve in ways they might not have thought possible. I’ve worked with so many people who are grateful to be alive, despite having been intensely suicidal, that I find tremendous value in this work. But to critics, suicide prevention seems to mean only showing up on someone’s doorstep with handcuffs and taking them to a hospital against their will to be forced to stay alive. That, to me, is a whole other issue, and it occurs to me as I write this that I ought to examine these differences in a future blog post. And I ought to examine the overlap, too – someone can be bound (professionally, morally, or both) by a duty to protect someone from suicide while also working to improve the person’s life and social conditions. It’s not either/or.

      Thanks for sharing here. So you know, I removed all personal attacks from your comment, in keeping with the Comments Policy.

      • Stacey, with all due respect, if you would not cede back control of a persons life (THEIR life, THEIR body, THEIR suffering) after any amount of time spent in treatment, then I do not think that you can claim that your approach is exclusively about helping people and that you aren’t in effect playing the role of the jailer, forcing people to stay alive by any means necessary. Because I’m sure that you know that there are some people who remain suicidal no matter how long they’ve been in treatment, and if it were up to you, these people would stay and suffer indefinitely and nothing would change for them. Merely having the peace of mind of knowing that there is an exit may provide immeasurable peace of mind for many of your most troubled clients. I am wondering what you think about this case study: https://news.sky.com/story/ive-been-granted-the-right-to-die-in-my-30s-it-may-have-saved-my-life-12055578

        I know that personally, just having the knowledge that I was not a prisoner here would be of immense peace of mind. It is much harder for me to improve my circumstances when I’m constantly worried about how I could plot an escape route from here whilst the backs of the guards are turned. A prison can become a home when you have the key.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

          “Existential Goof,”

          I agree with you 100%: The possibility of dying helps many people stay alive. Nietzsche said as much: “Thoughts of suicide are a great consolation; they get many a person through a difficult night.” I also like the title of this article: “Suicide Fantasy as Life-Sustaining Recourse.” Same principle. And I have no doubt that it’s true. A lot of people who are given a lethal prescription for medication under Death with Dignity Laws don’t fill the prescription; a lot of people who fill it don’t ingest the pills. I’ve read qualitative research (sorry, can’t recall the citation right now) where people said they were able to stay alive until their disease killed them precisely BECAUSE they knew they had the option to die whenever they wanted to.

          Where I disagree with you is the notion that I, somehow, am powerfully and magically forcing people to stay alive against their will. I’m just one person writing at a computer with, half the time, a cat in my lap. I’m not going door to door, invading people’s homes, reading their minds, and determining if they should be taken away. (Sorry for the sarcasm, but I really don’t understand why so many people think *I* singlehandedly am able to force people to stay alive, especially given that it would mean I’m a failure at it, with 45,000+ suicides in this country each year.)

          On the rare occasions I have summoned emergency help for someone who had attempted suicide, or was on the verge of doing so, that person had first sought my help willingly. I had an obligation to their healthy self to do what I could, not only because I had legal obligations as a licensed social worker (though those obligations are quite salient), but also because the person voluntarily came to me for help to stay alive, not to die, and I had made a commitment to help.

          I can’t stop anyone from dying by suicide unless they reach out to me in some way and give me the information needed to intervene. On rare occasion, someone’s submitted a comment to this site announcing their suicide and leaving their full name. They didn’t need to give me their full name; most people don’t. But they did, and now I know who they are, and they’re about to end their life, so what am I supposed to do? I notify the authorities in those cases. And isn’t that what they wanted, at some level? Why would they give their name (and city, in most cases where this has happened) to me, a person publicly committed to suicide prevention, if they didn’t want their suicide prevented?

          Where I genuinely struggle – a LOT, I would add – is I do think people should be able to talk about the decision to suicide (or not) without fear of hospitalization against their will. And I do think if people could die by suicide with assistance from a physician, even in the absence of terminal illness, the suicide could be much less traumatic not only for them but for their loved ones. There’d be a chance to say goodbye. Nobody would discover the body unexpectedly (or NOT discover the body, which to me is its own kind of hell, to not know where your loved one disappeared to and if they’re alive or not). So, then, why shouldn’t we have suicide clinics where people can get their prescription, have their funeral in advance, and maybe even decide to live knowing they have the freedom to die peacefully at any time?

          Here’s why, at least for me at this moment, since my mind constantly churns about this topic: Where do we draw the line? Very often, suicidal thoughts are temporary; two thirds of people who seriously consider suicide don’t consider suicide again in the subsequent decade. Not once. Roughly 90% of people who are stopped from killing themselves don’t end up dying by suicide, even many decades later.

          So, why should we facilitate people’s deaths when those suicidal wishes will, in many cases, be temporary? No, they’re not temporary for all, and I struggle about the suffering of those for whom suicidal thoughts persist. But the wish to die is temporary for many, like Shannon Parkin, like Kevin Hines, and like myself.

          Let’s not also forget the great harm suicide does to the living – the children who lose a parent, the parents who lose a child, the high school that experiences a cluster, etc. I don’t mean that people who suffer should continue to stay alive and suffer merely to spare others the pain of their death. I do mean that as a society, we should remain committed to trying to help people make it through a suicidal crisis alive the best we can – and to creating conditions that make a suicidal crisis less likely to begin with.

          Another thing: How do we send a message to one group of people (say, children) that they should ask for help and not kill themselves, while sending a completely different message to others? It reminds me of that editorial cartoon of a suicide prevention clinic and a suicide clinic being next to each other, and a person in a wheelchair having to decide which one to visit. Talk about mixed messages.

          So, ultimately, where I land is that any “solution” is imperfect. Some people will be hurt either way – the people who die prematurely, the people who can’t die prematurely, etc. Since there’s no way to make it work for everyone, I think we should just keep trying to help people stay alive, and if someone doesn’t want that help, they’re actually free to end their life. I know, it’s not ideal, to a suicidal person, to attempt suicide without certainty of death, or with the possibility of pain or permanent disability. But they’re also free to end their life – it’s not illegal – and others are free to try to stop them, if others know.

          Really, I do know it’s imperfect. But maybe it’s the least bad option, at least to me, in this moment in time.

          Anyway, I’ve clearly been thinking about this a lot and one day will write a post about it. For now, I think I’ve just written a post disguised as this comment. 😉

          Thanks for sharing, and for challenging me so respectfully, and for “listening.” I appreciate the exchange of ideas.

          Also, beautiful writing: “A prison can become a home when you have the key.” And it’s a very good point, too, among others.

      • Src says:

        That is exactly.. EXACTLY what it means though. I like your definition but we’re talking reality here reality is when i OD’d 2016… They arrested me they locked me in the psych ward I had to see a social worker who was then in control of my life for 2 years. And they made my life worse by making me mandatory do their rules all the way down to I must make three meals a day or I would be locked up again. So reality isn’t your dream wish on suicide prevention. Reality is the courts and the social workers and the police and the will basically make your life more miserable more harder and worse off…. And that is stupid! Do I want to die hell yes do I have a date in mind hell yes.
        social worker told me wait 5 years and she said and then I know you won’t feel the same. Well I’m now off probation I don’t have to worry about anybody controlling my life. Hopefully the next time I be around to be arrested…

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Thanks for writing here. I don’t know if your comment is directed at me or at “Existential Goof.” So I’m not sure how to respond but I do have a question. I’m wondering if you live outside the U.S.? What you’re describing is a process unlike any that I’ve heard of in the U.S. Most people here don’t even get help after a suicide attempt, let alone two years of services they don’t want from a social worker. Some states have “outpatient commitment” for people with mental illness, but that’s typically only for medication, not any kind of psychosocial services. And … probation? Doesn’t happen here. I have heard of a few very anachronistic anti-suicide laws that are still on the books in some cities, but they’re not really enforced anymore.

          I’m quite familiar though (thank you, Twitter) with the UK’s liberal “sectioning” laws, so I wonder if you’re writing from there. I’ve read accounts by people on Twitter of being sectioned for six months at a time. Here, someone can be involuntarily committed, but it’s quite uncommon and seldom for that long. For example, this report published in 2019 states, “Today, in virtually every state, lengths of stay for committed patients are (usually) brief, typically a week to 10 days.”

          In any case, I’m sorry you’ve gone through so much, and especially sorry you haven’t been helped. To be told to wait five years can be like telling someone with two broken legs to run five miles. I get that. I wish you could have relief without dying.

          Also, I normally correct obvious errors in comments, but I’m not correcting your missing word in the last sentence. I’m not a Freudian, but I do think sometimes our unconscious asserts its wishes in spite of our conscious intent, and that very well could be what happened here. That – or you just absent-mindedly left off the word “won’t.” Either way, I don’t want to change the meaning of what you wrote, so I’ll leave it as it is.

        • Src says:

          I live in the state of Minnesota the Great supposedly friendly Midwest. And that’s exactly what happened they lock you up they take control of your life social work gets involved and the courts decide that they will be in charge of your life for the next x amount of years

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Oh my, I thought for sure that hadn’t happened here. Well, we do have 50 states, all different. But wow, that’s some intense care you’re getting. I wonder, are you receiving services from an ACT? (Assertive Community Treatment). That’s more intensive. (Clearly I’m looking for logic here.)

          So many people who want help can’t get it that it frustrates me you’re getting so much care you don’t want. If only you could give it to someone, you know?

          Anyway, thanks for answering my question — and teaching me something new and important.

  3. Src says:

    You know I don’t think until you really walk in certain people shoes but you can judge or tell them it’s wrong to leave this world by their own hands. You have no clue what everyone goes through. And if a person is really thought it out can they see that they have nothing or no possibility of a decent future I have no family and they’re all alone and their health isn’t good and they know as we get older health will deteriorate more and more and more then what the hell is the point why keep going. Just to say I’m going to keep fighting to the end? Or so no one says you gave up. Sometimes giving up is the right thing to do. It makes no sense when you’re constantly in pain or hurting and you’re all alone you don’t really have anyone except maybe a great friend who has their own life with their own family but your spouse has passed on your kids don’t talk to you and haven’t for years cuz they have their own lives for whatever reason and you just exist every day and night. It makes no sense to keep going on…. Especially if you believe that there’s a heaven and an afterlife that is way better than down here

  4. patricia ray says:

    At 32 I got hurt at work, nothing was fixed after around 13 surgeries now I have constant pain and theres no help left for me. My pain is eating me alive. So tell me now what besides leaving this world!!! Im tired.

  5. Jeff says:

    Kevin Hines regretted his unsuccessful attempt, but there is no evidence that anyone has ever regretted a successful one. Just because most attempt survivors don’t end up going by suicide doesn’t mean suicide prevention doesn’t cause more suffering.

  6. Wendy says:

    Does anyone realize that other people have LESS say when someone gets pregnant but is not fit to be a parent? Or when someone with mental health issues decides to buy a gun? Or when irresponsible texting people get behind a wheel? A person should be able to just kill themselves if they want to die already! So much stigma, red tape, and bureaucracy surrounding SOMEONE ELSE’S life. It’s no one else’s business (life)!!!

    • Maryanne Corbett Gorman says:

      Well, I certainly have to agree with your point, but it shouldn’t have to be the case.

    • Kyle says:

      I know that there are people who love me. Who Cherish me. But in a futile attempt to get rich and have money, it seems to be going bad. Just got a letter of demand, saying I must pay 16k in 21 days or it will be taken to attorneys, which may cost upwards of double that. It’s not actually my money though, it’s my mom’s. But if she goes down I go down with her. Her money and my money are one in the same. We are trying to get a business going but I am not the entrepreneur type. So now I feel lost. Probably need to get a job and hustle for some bullshit like money. This is why I’m here. Just dipping my toes in and test the waters. And it’s funny I was just in a club for the first time and it was fun. I know a very cool lady who would be very disheartened at me killing myself. Lots of friends would be hurt. And not to mention my mom. She’d end up killing herself shortly after, causing all my friends and her friends to be very hurt. I am that jokey type. That guy who loves showing care and affection, but my life seems to be steadily falling down with someone else’s. Why do humans show no empathy to each other, so little people would care for your death or passing. Might even mock you for being such a pussy for offing myself so early.
      Why is life so miserable, why do we make it so hard for ourselves? I don’t like thinking negatively but recently it’s become horrid and unbearable. I think I should find a way out of it. I could try writing what I’m feeling. Maybe make it a book. Maybe offer some courses on getting through depression even though I have no clue what I’d be talking about. Maybe the book idea is good. But then again, there is still that Letter of demand and the rent to pay. And that’s not negotiable it has to get done. But I have like 1k in the bank, and I’m not making enough to possibly pay Vodocom in time. Maybe I should seek help from friends and see what they have to say, but I don’t want to loose any friends this way, they must have their own struggles that their dealing with.

      Anyway, I do think Wendy’s statement is kind of false and true. If someone would be better off dead than alive, I think go for it, but those who love you will be heartbroken, and family members will be very much so, if not more. I suppose someone like me should not think this way. But when I see that 16k outstanding Letter of demand, I don’t know… It doesn’t seem right. It’s not like I was getting much done with my business.
      I could keep writing but I’d be writing forever.

  7. Arianne says:

    The writer of this article says in one of her replies to someone in the comment section:

    “Where I find my peace (at least, for now) is with the recognition that people can end their lives — nearly 50,000 in this country do every year — but it’s not their right to demand that other people participate in their suicide, either by providing the means for suicide or by not intervening when a death is imminent or in progress.”

    I was so floored reading this that I had to get up from my kitchen table and walk around for a half hour to calm myself. What this article and the exchanges in its comment section have taught me are first, that people just won’t stop feeling entitled to tell others what to do with their lives. And they’re willing to use force to get others to conform.

    Second, people who are opposed to suicide often say that suicidal people “can commit suicide if they really want.” It’s like they don’t see or care less about the resulting incredible terror and suffering relying on the crude tools most of us can actually get brings. Or what often happens when people fail. Or that laws actively stop us from getting what we need to do what we want without forcing anyone else’s participation.

    The most important thing I’ve gotten from reading this article and the comments, though, is that the author is right about one thing. We have no rights. I’m sure slaves felt the same way when they were being cruelly exploited. I’m sure other women like me felt the same way before we could vote or go to universities or do with our bodies what we want. I’m sure gay people felt the same way when professionals in therapy forced them to undergo brutal treatments because the professionals convinced the courts they knew gay people were sick. These groups didn’t then and we don’t now have rights of personal freedom.

    So this is the most important thing to change–getting legal rights. The moral arguments are incidental. They’re not going to convince people who already feel what they do. This has to become a federal level legal battle in the US. Martin Luther King Jr: “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

    • scott coffman says:

      Tht was VERY well spoken and sadly 100% true.

    • Aiah Z says:

      Arianne, I agree. With each of the groups you mentioned, at one point it was LEGALLY justifiable to deprive these people of rights others in our culture enjoy. Today, none of these groups has to seek the approval or the permission of the rest of us to act. But just looking at the turmoil in the US over issues like gender, race, and sexual orientation, it’s obvious people can mistake their personal values and sentiments for facts and abuse this to deprive others of making informed, private decisions about themselves. As you mentioned, in the US, we censor people seeking information we don’t like and even arrest them for trying to acquire the means for peaceful egress involving no one else. But then, the same people advocating for this heavy-handed prohibition will utter juvenile, ironic expressions like, “You don’t have a right to involve others in your choice.” The hypocrisy is mind-numbing.

      In the many years I’ve been practicing medicine, no mental health professional, including psychiatrists, has ever provided me a robust justification for the horrors I’ve witnessed in the emergency department or in forced commitment wards or the entitlement they enjoy to remove the civil rights of people who haven’t broken the law. Neither is there hard biomedical evidence supporting their justifying hypotheses nor is there any consistent moral/philosophical argument in support of their entitlement to coerce. I think earlier either you or another commenter pointed out that more nations around the world are finding it legally unjustifiable to prevent ALL people from accessing gentler, more peaceful ways to end their lives if they consistently conclude this is in their best interests. Despite the strong vein of religion still coursing through US culture, I’m confident eventually our legal system, too, will conclude people have an ultimate right to decide about themselves. Surveys of the American public already bear this out. Just as in divorce, the effects on others, though possibly sad, cannot be used morally consistently as a justification for preventing others from acting on themselves. Otherwise, we don’t belong to ourselves but to others.

    • Chad N says:

      To start I want to say that while I don’t agree with all of Dr. Freedenthal’s stances and have provided points in opposition I do commend her for at least allowing the discussion. Keep in mind there can be professional ramifications for doing so. Right or wrong they do exist and she is facing them of her own choosing so lets not loose sight of that. Yes you are hearing typical counter arguments and yes there are clear flaws but simply pointing out the flaws does little good, we need to attempt finding workable answers.

      As to your initial statement, I believe my response to Dr. Freedenthal’s assertion lays out a clear response to the “can commit suicide if they really want” argument as well as providing the beginning of a framework to address the question of conflicting rights. I know it isn’t a solution but please read it and if you like it use or adapt it as you feel best.

      Now, to add a new element to your comparison of rights ponder this. In our society it is well accepted, even in the mental health industry, that a woman can choose to have an abortion for any cause. Now, what is the difference between this abortion and a euthanasia other than the fact that in only one of these two procedure did the individual whose life is ending request and consent to the procedure? Perhaps there will be claims of the child not actually being a life but I think this a flimsy stance especially when you aren’t challenging the rights of the woman to her abortion.

    • Pierre B says:

      Brava, Arianne! I don’t know if you’ll see this comment, but I came to this site because someone had screenshot your comment here and shared it elsewhere. I was born outside the US. In our mental health system, “professionals” are entitled to force people who say or write things offensive to powerful groups into treatment facilities that in many instances are worse than prisons. I did a residency in urban emergency medicine in the US and often interacted with your country’s “mental health” system. I read all this blog’s comments. There are other physicians who’ve written here about how unjust this system too often is. I don’t want to seem presumptuous or condescending in suggesting, like another commenter, that you should go read something else or consider some other point, as if your own thoughts on and experiences with this important topic weren’t already sufficient. But as I was reading your comment, I thought about Dr. Susan Walker’s University College of London team’s recent publication in The Lancet of a ground breaking study disclosing the significantly higher rates of forced psychiatric hospitalization of children and adolescents. This comes on the heels of other epidemiological research that shows black and other minority individuals in the US are significantly more frequently subjected to forced psychiatric hospitalizations–and suffer gravely disproportionately the social, legal, criminal justice, and economic fallout from such coercion. So your comments that moral arguments about coercion are largely impotent, and that what’s needed is protective legislation are spot on. The irony here is that this site’s owner invokes “rights” that people do not have.

      Something else your comment brings to my mind is the growing research divulging coerced psychiatric treatment’s severely negative effects. For example, studies like the Trott & Reeves 2018 publication on social class & therapeutic relationship (Counselling & Psychotherapy Research) show that the therapeutic relationship is very much biased by therapists’ worldviews, their experiences, their opinions, and the socioeconomic power differential between counselors and patients. Still other studies are showing a net harm many vulnerable patients can experience from therapy. Again, scores of studies show poverty to be an independent mediator of “mental illness,” yet instead of battling poverty through program shown to be effective at battling psychological suffering and suicide, like housing initiatives or greater access to protective legal advocacy, the US continues a war on the poor (not poverty). Then, they pathologize or criminalize the poor. Yet still, somehow it’s pertinent to remind people who have exhausted options and find themselves destitute that they have no rights to involve others…

      Ultimately, you’re right. Laws must be changed so others DO have rights. Otherwise, those who disagree will keep having the right both to bodily coerce AND control the social dialog. Witness what’s happening in the US now with even empirically evidenced arguments being censored because the powerful disagree. But the history of the US is full of coercion. And justifications of coercion. At every step of the way along the path of getting rights, whether they were Native Americans, blacks, women, people of other sexual orientations, or other out-groups, those who didn’t have rights were reminded that they didn’t have rights. So it’s not surprising that so many are repeating the same mistakes now.

    • Temple Cloud says:

      Dear Arianne,

      You and many other people here seem to be thinking of ‘suicidal people’ as a minority group like any other – such as ethnic minorities, gay people, transsexual people etc – and saying, ‘Just as gay people should have the right to express themselves by having same-sex relationships, and transgender people should be allowed to live as members of the gender they identify as, so suicidal people must have the right to express themselves by ending their lives.’

      But, bearing in mind that feeling suicidally depressed is often a response to experiencing injustice (economic, homophobic, racist etc), advocating making it easier to commit suicide looks to me more like a way of entrenching injustice than of righting a wrong. It looks like saying, ‘If you are part of a group that society treats as unfit to be alive, you should confirm that you agree with society’s opinion by killing yourself.’ You can fight injustices only if you are still alive to go on campaigning against them.

      Look at the Black Lives Matter campaign. There wouldn’t be much hope of trying to defeat institutional racism if, instead, all black people in white-majority countries joined a ‘Black Lives Don’t Matter’ campaign and killed themselves before the police or the judiciary had the opportunity to do so.

      I don’t want this to sound as though I’m accusing people on this site of being cowardly or lazy. A lot of the time, we don’t have the emotional energy to campaign against anything. But this is why we sometimes just need to rest and heal and regather strength, and see if we can find anyone who can help (whether friends, family, professionals, volunteer services etc) until we get to the point where we can fight back against the source of our problems.

      If you’re wondering, I am autistic and epileptic and have struggled to find work for most of my adult life and have suffered from depression since I was a child, so I do have first-hand experience of this. But I would not define myself as ‘a suicidal person’ or ‘a depressed person’ in the same way that I could define myself as ‘an autistic person’. Autism is part of who I am, like my gender, and the world needs to accept it. Depression is something that happens to me when I accept the lie that I am worthless.

      • Jeff says:

        Some of us have simply never wanted to live.

      • Aiah Z says:

        Temple Cloud, I first want to recognize your own struggles. I’m sorry you hurt. You are, of course, entitled to decide for yourself what your life experience means and to decide how to deal with it. But the many people here advocating for choice should equally be entitled to decide how much life suffering they want to endure. While it’s obviously true, it bears pointing out that no one makes an informed decision to be born. Public figures like Bill Gates and others point out over and over again that life isn’t fair. Worse, we humans often make life even less fair and more painful for many.

        The fact is that almost no one is going to guarantee suffering people what many of them feel are the minimum conditions for them to be content living–things like affordable housing, access to caring and competent medical care, work grounded in personal dignity that pays enough to save for emergencies and eventual retirement, high quality companionship, freedom from ongoing grave physical and emotional pain… To many of us, the questions of what it means societally to advocate for making suicide “easier” is at best academic. Millions live lives full of terrible, black suffering while others have the luxury of considering and arguing. Worse, many of these sufferers don’t have the resources to be able to “rest and heal and regather strength, and see if we can find anyone who can help.” Working in a clinical setting, I can attest that for a shocking number of people, there is no one to offer substantive help.

        Another point I’ve read from some here and elsewhere is that many sufferers should coordinate with their communities better. This assumes people have caring family. Or that they’re part of the right socioeconomic (or other) groups that the health care system actually cares about them. I’d think the stark evidence we got during the pandemic of some of the egregious ways the poor and vulnerable are treated–and the way this treatments statistically translates into significantly higher death rates across the age spectrum–would be enough to make it obvious that there are many, many, many people who just don’t have advocates. No one cares for them. The homeless. The isolated elderly. The poor who’re also members of “the wrong” groups. Ideologies (like what’s just or moral) don’t keep these people housed or fed or cared for. While we’re arguing about what would be nice, they’re suffering. And we’re not able to stop it. Why should they have to stay here suffering while we ponder and argue? For generations, I should add.

        This site’s author has said (I’m paraphrasing) that she tries hard to help those she can. Brava. Truly. But what about the ones who can’t be helped for many reasons. The “difficult patients” whom health care fires. The chronically mentally ill who don’t respond well to drugs or conventional therapy? Those who, despite what else can be done for them, are utterly dissatisfied with the lives possible for them?

        Adults should enjoy the freedom to decide for themselves whether they want to keep playing the game of life or not. Otherwise, we are the property of something or someone else whose moral values trump our own life imperatives. Especially in countries where it costs a lot of money to stay alive AND we’re constantly reminded we HAVE NO RIGHTS to things we need to survive (like housing…), it strikes me as especially cruel that we on the one hand can’t agree culturally to end physical deprivation, but on the other hand we presume to tell the suffering they must stay alive.

        Here’s to brighter tomorrows for you.

  8. NA says:

    The thing is i dissagree strongly about this especially the it always gets better my life has been progressively gotten worse and worse to the point where i have nothing to live for anymore i lived a decent life and id rather have the option to take my own life if i choose to id rather die cause i choose to not forced to live a shittier and shittier existence if there was an easy not painful way of taking your life like putting a dog to “Sleep” i’d do it in a heartbeat i wasnt designed to deal with “human life” its full of stress and unrealistic expectation they should just come out with a suicide booth like in futurama so people like me can say hey i lived a good life bye and then do it theres nothing honorable living a shitty life full of stress and constantley having to deal with bullshit fighting for everything i might be considered young at 23 but i dont want my life to be dictatted to me oh you work deal with stupid people then get into a relatiinship then you gotta have kids and endless stress until im old enough to retire then i get to live my life or die of the stress fuck that i wanna live my life while im young and with no stress since i cant cause of how people are expected to live and you need the dumb construct of money to live “happy” im done with all of that and id honestley take my life right now if i could.

    • Katharine says:

      I’m sorry to hear how rough your life has been. Life in the pandemic is miserable and our society has a horrible amount of stress built into it. If I knew you, I’d try to find some way to give you support and comfort. I hope you can find support locally or online.

      At 23, I believed that my life would never be anything but hating myself and emotional misery. I spent several years where I felt suicidal all the time. I was hospitalized 5 times. Now I’m 58 and I’ve done a shit-ton of therapy (and more recently Al-Anon). My life keeps getting better and better. Every decade of my life has been better than the last.

      I live with long-term chronic pain and my parents died a few years ago but loving myself means that I’m happy to be alive. I was able to reassure my mom that when she died, it would be hard but I would be okay. And that was true.

      These days my big thing is telling people silly jokes because everybody needs a chance to laugh, especially during this miserable pandemic. Here’s one for you. I hope it gives you a moment of feeling better.

      Why does a chicken coop only have 2 doors?

      Because, if it had 4 doors, it would be a chicken sedan.

      I wish you the best!!

  9. JS says:


    I read your post stating that someone submitted a comment that they hope you die. I am sorry to hear that. There is no excuse for such animosity, you have done nothing to merit it. On the contrary, you are running a site that deals with a tough subject with a grace and kindness that I can only aspire to. You are willing to state your views, admit that there is no perfect answer, and allow conflicting viewpoints to be heard with a respectful consideration; that is both rare and refreshing. I have nothing but respect for you, and I implore anyone wishing to engage in discourse to please be considerate in your dealings with others.

  10. JS says:


    I confess to being a bit late to the party, and was simply perusing the comment section here, when a subgroup of posts caught my attention. Specifically, back in October, there was a discussion on reparative therapy which compared it to suicide prevention. I am not going to join the full debate, as AB did a brilliant job already, but i would like to add some observations as a gay man to this conversation.

    First, you wrote that “I don’t think the comparison you make with gay people and so-called reparative therapy is a valid one”. I take issue with the term ‘reparative therapy’ as I am not broken and therefore do not need to be repaired. I understand it is a commonly used term, but it sets the stage for furtherance of the argument that there is something wrong with ‘the gays’ that needs correcting and it establishes a preemptive higher moral ground.

    You also wrote that ” Subjecting gay people to harmful therapy harms only them and doesn’t harm the majority who aren’t gay. When I first read that, I thought how callous that sounds, but then I realized that there is truth in the statement. It sums up exactly why so many heterosexual people favor reparative therapy: if it works, great, if not , no harm done (except to the victim of the therapy, of course).

    You following that up in the next post with ” I was (imperfectly, it turns out) trying to make the point that the analogy with protecting people from suicide doesn’t fit” and “To the contrary, *not* protecting people from suicide does harm to communities and loved ones”.

    Please understand that this is not an attack on you, I just needed to quote certain relevant statements in order to rationalize my stance on why a juxtaposition between suicide prevention and reparative therapy is, in fact, more closely aligned that is first apparent.

    So, lets look at the similarities between the two: both are aimed at an individual, someone that a group feels is wrong in thought and/or action, and both attempt to facilitate a change in the individual in question. They both utilize similar processes, akin to brainwashing techniques, to achieve their goal (i.e. isolation, restrictions, loss of freedoms, loss of privacy and autonomy, until the subject capitulates and agrees to accept the mindset of their captors. One uses conversion therapy camps (mostly aimed at the young), while the other uses involuntary hospitalization – but that just a case of a rose by any other name.

    The main reason that I feel that the two are comparable comes down to this;
    they share the same goal. By this I mean that, as you mentioned, reparative therapy harms only the victim, and spares the group. In essence, the group, whether it is society in general, or family and friends, or even strangers, is in some way hurt by the perceived difference of the individual, and acts to change the individual. This can manifest in many forms: violence, social and/or peer pressure, or negation (kicking youth out of the home for non-conformance, refusing any contact). The end goal is to change the individual, ultimately sparing the group the horrific pain of having to see, hear, or interact with a gay child or adult. That gay person is in effect left to hold the all that pain so that the others are spared . Now compare that to suicide prevention. Again, someone is asked (or forced) to change, to live holding all the pain so that others may be spared. Ultimately, in both cases, one person is left suffering so that a group of people don’t have to.

    Looked at in the right light, it is evident that both reparative therapy and suicide prevention utilize the same methods, with the same goals and outcomes, just focused on a different subset of the population. Contrary to being invalid, rarely has a comparison been so apt.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Thank you for your thoughtful reply to my comment. I’d like to respond to a few of your points.

      Your comment implies that there are only two choices for a suicidal person: be required to suffer in order to spare others from suffering the grief of loss, or be allowed to die by suicide without anybody interfering. I propose that this dichotomy is overly simplistic. There are many more options that do not involve the suicidal person suffering limitlessly if they are alive.

      Suicide prevention isn’t only about keeping somebody safe from suicide. It’s also about trying to help the person to feel better, to suffer less, to cope better when suffering is present, to connect with people and resources that can help them, to find meaning and hope, even to feel happy or at least content. In other words, helping a suicidal person to stop wanting to die by suicide requires trying to make the person’s quality of life better.

      The same cannot be said about trying to force someone to, somehow, stop being gay. Another difference is that suicidality is a fluid, often temporary state. There are many people who felt abjectly suicidal and even attempted suicide but who later felt differently (myself included).

      Further, being gay doesn’t hurt anybody, least of all oneself. There’s nothing wrong with being gay. Being suicidal not only hurts oneself by depriving the person of opportunities for life, growth, etc., but it’s also a symptom that something is wrong in the person’s world, social environment, or even their mind, as in the case of mental illness. That is, somebody who’s suicidal usually has been gravely hurt by conditions such as poverty, trauma, stress, depression, addiction, and the like. Helping that person requires trying to alleviate the problems that trigger suicidal thoughts, which, again, means trying to make the person’s life better.

      You state that efforts to convert someone from gay to heterosexual and efforts to help a suicidal person stay alive “both utilize similar processes, akin to brainwashing techniques, to achieve their goal (i.e. isolation, restrictions, loss of freedoms, loss of privacy and autonomy, until the subject capitulates and agrees to accept the mindset of their captors. One uses conversion therapy camps (mostly aimed at the young), while the other uses involuntary hospitalization – but that just a case of a rose by any other name.”

      Your statement implies that helping suicidal people is limited to involuntarily hospitalizing them. Most psychotherapy with suicidal individuals does not involve hospitalization. Only in extreme cases is somebody hospitalized.

      Those are some of the reasons why I think conversion therapy and suicide prevention are very different. I understand you feel differently. I wanted to make the points above for the sake of others who might come upon this exchange, too, and who might benefit from more information.

      Thanks again for sharing your views here, especially in such a respectful, thought-provoking way.

      • JS says:


        I would like to thank you, both for your thought-provoking response and for this website that gives people a chance to communicate their views and, perhaps, to appreciate the viewpoint of others. It is much appreciated.

        I would like to to attempt to clarify a few potential misconceptions between my post and your reply; these are strictly my thoughts and not meant to be the voice of anyone but myself.

        There are actually only two choices for a suicidal individual (by this I mean someone who is actively suicidal, has a plan, means, and intent, or is physically in the process of suicide): to live or to die. That’s it. Anything else is complicating the matter unnecessarily. To die is an end, full stop; Game over. The other side of the dichotomy, however, is to live; and this is where things get complicated. To live has various outcomes, most of which are variants on a few themes: one may end up living with suffering that continues endlessly, or live with suffering that abates with time (for whatever reason). One might, instead, live with suffering that leads them to attempt suicide again and again, never quite accomplishing their goal; alternately, they might complete a suicide on a next attempt, or a third, or fourth, or more. The point here is the there are a number of possible outcomes related to preventing an actual suicide, and of the four main paths that I can see, only one is acceptable. The others all lead to more suffering in one form or another. All of these outcomes have occurred and will happen, but only the survivors that are ‘glad’ they survived are ever mentioned when discussing suicide prevention.

        When you talk about suicide prevention not just being about keeping somebody safe, it is in my mind that you are referring to the movement, for want of a better word, of suicide prevention and not the prevention of the act itself (although that’s a part of it, obviously). I view suicide prevention as the actual actions taken at the time of crisis, the other things mentioned are not actually prevention (again, to me), but instead the methods or tactics used to facilitate the goal. Yes, it is splitting hairs, but if you do those things and someone does not commit suicide, you cannot be sure you prevented a suicide, only that one did not occur. it may not have happened anyway, as many people who feel suicidal do not actually attempt.

        You mentioned, as part of the prevention tactics, connecting with people and resources that can help them find meaning and hope. That’s great when it works, when the resources are available and affordable, and when the people are engaged and willing; but many times that is not the case. Frequently there is no one, as family or friends are absent or aloof foe various reasons; as professional help is priced for the well-off and wealthy; and as the availability of mental health care is close to non-existent in many geographical areas.

        As for hope (again, this is my viewpoint only) – hope is a false prophet. Hope promises salvation but rarely, if ever, delivers. I read somewhere that hope is disappointment delayed, but it worse that that; it’s also disappointment magnified. The more you hold onto hope, the greater the disappointment when you finally realize that its never going to be fulfilled.

        Suicidality is indeed fluid, but then again, according to the latest science, so is sexuality. Not sure of the correlation there to be honest.

        I never said being gay hurts anybody, I said that the group is in some way hurt by the perceived difference of the individual – the hurt comes from the groups perceptions. As for being suicidal being a symptom of environment, all i can say is to look at the last several years, as well as current events in this nation. The extremist views espoused, the hatred for anyone different, the violence – I don’t see how you alleviate that. Especially when our politicians are fanning the flames.

        Yes, conversion efforts and suicide prevention share many overlapping characteristics ( or processes) to achieve their goal, and no, involuntary hospitalization is not the only method of help; but it is the last method of help, and a harmful one at that. Your statement that “only in extreme cases is somebody hospitalized” is how it should be, but unfortunately, it is not entirely true. I know; as a young man, I had experience with a 3 day stay because I reached out when i was having a hard time with my sexuality vs my religion. I did not state that I was going to kill myself, but was forced into the hospitalization anyway. It caused near irreparable harm in my family dynamics that echo to this day.

        As an aside, I have worked in healthcare, and I have seen firsthand many abuses of the 3 day hold (or whatever its called in various states) where the hospitalized did not meet the criteria, but was forced in to the involuntary hospitalization anyway. This happen far more often that it should.

        So, I still believe that suicide prevention and conversion therapy (and thank you for respecting my opinion on the name, it does mean a lot that someone hears me on this) are very similar. They both are about one carrying pain for many. It does not matter where the pain originates, or for how long they carry it, just that it exists.

        Thank you for listening to my rambling monologue.

      • Mark S. says:

        “Being suicidal not only hurts oneself by depriving the person of opportunities for life, growth, etc., but it’s also a symptom that something is wrong in the person’s world, social environment, or even their mind, as in the case of mental illness.”

        If we change the word “suicidal” to “gay” in your sentence, we get a sentence that has been said and written countless times about gay people in the past. Today such a sentence would be considered homophobic. It is conceivable that at some point in the future, the unchanged sentence may become equally controversial.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Linguistically, yes, perhaps the two sentences could be equated with each other. Qualitatively, the meanings are vastly different. It’s a fact that suicide does great harm to children who lose a parent, parents who lose a child, communities who lose a valued member, and so on. That is objectively true; research shows that children who lose a parent to suicide, for example, experience negative effects on their mental health. (And, of course, premature death robs the individual of opportunities for change, for growth, even for joy, but I know that argument may not be compelling to some people.)

          There is NO empirical evidence that being gay harms others. Some people with homophobia might say that being gay harms the gay individual. However, the only thing about being gay that harms gay people is the bigotry, abuse, and hatred of others.

          To sum up, while there is no evidence whatsoever that loving somebody of the same sex is harmful to oneself or others, the same cannot be said for suicidality or suicide.

          I appreciate your sharing your views and adding to the discussion.

        • Mark S. says:


          With all due respect, your arguments seem flimsy.

          It is objectively true that being gay affects a person in ways that most people would agree are negative. To give a few examples: 1) Dating is harder for a gay person, because only 10% of the population is gay or bisexual; 2) Becoming a parent is harder for a gay couple, for obvious reasons; 3) A gay man has a higher chance of contracting or spreading an STD, simply because the chance of contracting an STD via anal sex is higher than in other types of sexual activity (this is based on empirical evidence, which you can easily google for).

          So being gay definitely harms a person, irrespective of the way they are treated by their friends and society at large. You may argue that this harm is very small, maybe even negligible, but it is objectively there. I hope that making this statements will not have me labeled as homophobic; I have no interest – good or bad – in other people’s sexual preferences. I merely bring this up since it is relevant to the discussion at hand.

          As for the question of whether being gay harms *others*, there are all sorts of arguments for this as well; some of these arguments are preposterous and fallacious, while others merit some consideration (for example, the 3rd point above is valid here too – contracting and spreading an STD obviously does harm not just to the person but to others as well). But rather than mention these arguments, I’d like point out that any condition (positive, negative or neutral) that a person has, regardless of what it is, is always likely to indirectly affect the person’s environment as well. People do not exist in a vacuum. Depression, suicidality, physical health, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, religious beliefs, physical appearance and even something as minor as dietary preferences – all of these things affect not only the person, but their environment as well, or at least the people that care about the person.

          To sum up, I think that the comparison between homosexuality and depression (and the efforts to treat each of them), while very far from perfect, is in no way outrageous. The strongest evidence for that, I think, is the fact that the American Psychiatric Association considered homosexuality to be a personality disturbance (at least in the DSM) until the 1970s. I think we can safely assume that the APA, by and large, was never motivated by bigotry or hatred of gay people; they merely interpreted the condition of homosexuality in a way that only seemed sensible because they lacked perspective: namely, the harms of homosexuality (such as the ones I mentioned) were overstated and, more importantly, they didn’t consider the question of whether gay people themselves thought there was something wrong with them (and therefore whether they had any interest in being “cured”).

          The fact that a large and respected institution like the APA could make such a mistake should caution and humble us. I feel that, as with homosexuality, we are now repeating their mistake on the matter of suicidality. Psychotherapists, social workers, psychiatrists and other medical professionals seem so certain that they are doing the right thing. But are they? In one passage in Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” he talks about how “never had men considered themselves so intellectual and so completely in possession of the truth, never had they considered their decisions, their scientific conclusions, their moral convictions so infallible.” It seems apt here.

        • Aiah Z says:

          I completely agree with you, Mark: “as with homosexuality, we are now repeating their mistake on the matter of suicidality.” Unfortunately, until the legal system rights this wrong, people will be able to inflict harm on others because they can (have the right) and because they perceive the harm they’re imposing to be good. Our moral reasoning evolves at a glacial pace. Same issue (personal freedom regarding one’s OWN life and body), same objections (But, I know what’s right for you, as evidenced by my OWN experience with this phenomenon and others agreeing with me!).

      • Chad N says:


        You said “Your comment implies that there are only two choices for a suicidal person” but I think you missed the point. He was not talking about the suicidal persons choices but the choice of society on how they view said person. More specifically, how society chooses to take the individual’s choice away from them.

        You said suicide prevention is “about trying to help the person to feel better, to suffer less, to cope better when suffering is present, to connect with people and resources that can help them, to find meaning and hope, even to feel happy or at least content” but what if they have no interest in this. I mean, lets just assume you have ran into a person that is 100% actually done with the bs of life and just wants it to be over. For the sake of discussion lets say you have some gizmo that can confirm this with scientific accuracy. They are fully aware of the potential for better things to come, have thought it over well, have no underlying conditions to be committed for and just prefer to be done. Now, can someone ethically work to improve the life of a person in this situation?

        Sure the same can be said. Per some theology some group believes being not gay is an improvement to the persons life. They have just as much evidence to back this up as there is to back up being alive is an improvement over being dead. Heck, according to some trying to convert the gays death is much better than life although I guess that would be considered hear-say.

        You said “suicidality is a fluid, often temporary state” but what about when it isn’t? I mean I hear “often temporary state” regularly in these context but often temporary means sometimes permanent. I am by no means saying society should treat act like it is always permanent. I know it isn’t since I have been there for others who were fighting it, seen them recover and look back on it feeling differently. All I am saying is shouldn’t society at least consider what to do when it isn’t temporary because it seems we all know sometime it isn’t.

        Some would argue that another being gay causes them emotional distress based on violating morality. That it is a sin and thus a form of self harm. I don’t agree with them but I am aware of them. I believe they make the exact same case against suicide and even formed the basis of our societies views on the subject back when the pushed for laws against both acts. You said “There’s nothing wrong with being gay” but there is nothing wrong with dying either. You said “Being suicidal not only hurts oneself by depriving the person of opportunities for life, growth, etc.” but it also can be the only way of ending suffering. You call it “a symptom that something is wrong in the person’s world, social environment, or even their mind, as in the case of mental illness” but sometimes it is the only actual cure. Yes the suicidal have usually been gravely hurt, sometimes that hurt is small enough to mend, other times they are strong enough to keep it hidden and suffer through but sometimes…. they can’t. Where is our morality as a society if we will put down an animal that cannot recover from a grave injury but will force that suffering upon another human? You say “trying to make the person’s life better” but what about when shorter is better? I don’t expect you to answer these questions, I know the APA/AMA disapprove of such considerations which I get based on their financial interests. If you feel attacked here I apologize, this is a topic that hits close to home for me.

        You said “Only in extreme cases is somebody hospitalized” which I agree is true but mandatory treatment is more common and I have seen the system threaten hospitalization to gain compliance. Now, while mandatory treatment doesn’t have all of the brainwashy components JS mentioned from reparation therapy I believe it may better match being counseled by the pastor/priest/whatever in an attempt to convert you without having to send you to the camp. I think the camp was, like the hospital, also used as a threat to drive compliance with attending those sessions. Although my source for that information is the movie “Saved” and a small amount of church exposure, perhaps JS can comment.

        Thank you for listening,

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Once again, thanks for sharing your insights. I may not agree, but I don’t feel attacked at all, and I appreciate your concern that I might. To the contrary, I find your discourse to be respectful, and I like having my thoughts challenged. It’s one way we learn and grow.

          Some people do respond to my posts and comments very disrespectfully. This week, somebody submitted a comment saying they hope I die. In keeping with my policy of not publishing personal attacks (against anybody, not just myself), I usually don’t publish such comments. I mention that here only because without seeing that extreme of vitriol, you don’t have the context to see that your comments are not attacking! So thank you. 🙂

          And you’ve given me much to think about. Your comments here go beyond whether conversion therapy and suicide prevention are comparable, extending to whether suicide prevention is morally acceptable. I do struggle with the extremes to which suicide prevention will go. I talk about this struggle in a post In Defense of Suicide Prevention, which I published a few years (and hundreds of comments) after the one here.

          Where I find my peace (at least, for now) is with the recognition that people can end their lives — nearly 50,000 in this country do every year — but it’s not their right to demand that other people participate in their suicide, either by providing the means for suicide or by not intervening when a death is imminent or in progress. Just as you don’t want someone to be forced to live, nobody should be forced to sit passively when they have the ability to prevent a suicide, in my opinion. To make my premise less abstract, I’ll give an example: The mother of, say, a 25-year-old adult shouldn’t be expected or required to say, “It’s your choice” and do nothing. It’s quite natural that she’d call for help and do everything in her power to save her child’s life.

          My stance is not ideal, I realize. It requires a suicidal person to die in fear and isolation if they don’t want to risk intervention. But when it comes to suicide and whether it should be prevented, there is absolutely no way to please everybody. At least on this one point, that there can be no universally accepted “solution,” I think you and I probably both agree.

          Thanks again for sharing, Chad!

        • Chad N says:


          I appreciate your reassurance. As I stated, the topic just hits close to home for me. By the end of the paragraph I realized my questions had drifted from my normal neutral counterpoints and became more pointed. That is below the standard of behavior I hold myself to, thus my apology. Also, I take the approach that agreement should be the last thing one looks for when trying to answer difficult questions. Since I am not silly enough to believe I have the best possible answer,… to anything, your disagreement is enlightening and appreciated.

          I am sorry that some, if not many, if not most, hold themselves to no standard of civility at all. I admit that I do at least conduct myself on here better than the person in your example.

          I feel I am reaffirming the original comparison between conversion therapy and suicide prevention but adding a post script to the discussion. Although I admittedly did this across my response to you and the one to JS. In short I assert that the comparison between the two is accurate if the suicidal person is otherwise cognitively competent legally. I then question the morality both on the point I made in my response to you and that if conversion therapy is accepted as immoral then why isn’t the equivalent instance for a suicidal individual so as well.

          Not to take away your source of peace but I am going to share my concerns with it. Yes, people can and do end their lives, often in some of the most traumatic situations one can imagine not just for themselves or their family but for everyone directly involved in the aftermath as well as anyone that hears the story later. To make it worse this trauma, that society is mandating by not providing a less traumatic alternative, is then used in the argument against providing said alternative. As for the issue of rights, neither side has the right to impose their will on the other. What makes the rights of one side of this divide more valuable than the other? I feel nothing does, thus both sides should make some allowance for the other. Out of mutual respect if nothing else. With your example, of course that mother shouldn’t have to just say “it’s your choice” and pretend like they don’t care. In fact they should care, they should talk, express why they don’t want the child to die, what they will miss, offer to help, just listen, offer to check out therapy options with them, etc. The only thing I think they shouldn’t do is use society to impose on the child’s rights and walk away like the problem is fixed so they don’t have to care anymore. I know that in your example that is not the impression this hypothetical mother would want to make, I am just saying it is the one they would likely make from the viewpoint of the child.

          I appreciate that you recognize your stance isn’t ideal, none on a topic such as this could be in my opinion. We are in lesser of many evils territory so ideal sits in the imaginary plane (to use a math reference). I just wish more people would have the discussion so that perhaps we as a society could develop a way to respect everybody and come up with a generally accepted solution. If only people cared enough to try despite the task being hard and uncomfortable, maybe one day.

        • Mark S. says:

          Hello Stacey,

          This is in response to your comment from April 17, 2021 at 10:15 am.

          Maybe I misunderstand, but the line of reasoning in your comment seems inconsistent with your position of generally rejecting the idea of legalization of medically-assisted suicide for non-terminally ill patients.

          According to your arguments it seems that you would be fine with medically-assisted suicide if the person’s family (and whatever medical staff is involved) approve and support the person’s wish to die. You give as example a 25-year-old adult who’s mother tries to do everything in her power to save their life, but you do not consider the possibility of the mother supporting her child’s decision and wishing to help them in whatever way she can.

    • Chad N says:


      I wanted to attempt to add to it from my perspective as a individual without a approved terminal illness within the USA that has interest in euthanasia.

      I feel your issue with “reparative therapy” can be directly laid over suicide prevention in any instance where the suicidal individual does not feel they are broken and therefore does not want to be repaired. While in some locations there is an allowance made for those with an approved terminal illnesses, for anyone else suicide prevention is effectively mandated. As with your example, this mandate logically requires the presumption that there is something wrong with ‘the suicidal’ that needs correcting thus establishing the same preemptive higher moral ground despite. I would expand this to pose that the basis of this presumption in both cases is equivalent. i.e. “Some gay people went on to live ‘normal lives’ after therapy thus all gay people simply need to fixed in a similar manor.” = “Some suicidal people went on to live ‘normal lives’ after therapy (or failed attempt) thus all suicidal people simply need to be fixed in a similar manor.” I could expand on this but I think this is sufficient for now.

      Your statement on harmful therapy is also equatable. To explain, lets presume to be discussing an suicidal individual such as above and add to the description that they have no other psychological condition other than the desire to end, call this person “the patient” and substitute in for the references to gays. Now I would pose that the therapy is harmful if by no other measure than it is being forced upon an unwilling patient and making someone do something against their will causes emotional distress a.k.a. harm. Sure, some may be claimed as “repaired” just like with reparative therapy and I see no way to prove the claim any more valid in either case. Some may say that isn’t enough harm to count but then there is the question of forcing the patient to continue living using the therapy as the means of force. This currently can go on for decades until, the patient conforms to the psychological pressure, they finally and mercifully die of another cause or they run out of money. The financial cost being yet another form of harm since they are being made to suffer financially for a service they don’t want. Thus I would paraphrase as: “Subjecting the patients to ‘suicide prevention’ harms only them and doesn’t harm the majority who aren’t the patient.” This is again a callous statement that sums up exactly why so many favor mandated suicide prevention: if it works, great, if not , no harm done (except to the victim of the therapy, of course).

      Your correlation between reparative and suicide therapy was very well put but I would alter one sentence from my point of view. “One uses conversion therapy camps (mostly aimed at the young), while the other uses involuntary ‘intervention’ – but that’’s’ just a case of a rose by any other name.” The hospital is claimed as an “extreme” case despite it being the threat used to enforce compliance upon the unwilling which is why it was used as a counterpoint.

      Again, you state your reasons well but I want to point out a detail I am unsure if you missed. The act of being gay does no physical harm to the group, whether it is society in general, or family and friends, or even strangers. The group just seeks to be spared emotional discomfort with the actions of the gay. This is the justification they use for trying to force a change. Likewise, the act of suicide does no physical harm to the group, whether it is society in general, or family and friends, or even strangers. The group just seeks to be spared emotional discomfort with the act of suicide. This is the justification they use for trying to force a change. Now some may say the suicide physically harms the group by reduced population or that being gay does so by reducing the rate of procreation but the population is so large these effects are within normal variation.

      • Anonymous says:


        I read with interest your corollary between my statements on reparative therapy and your thoughts on suicide prevention, and I must acknowledge the validity of your conclusions. There does seem to be a very large cognitive overlap regarding the reasons for suicide prevention and reparative therapy. I particularly enjoyed your equivalencies; i.e. “some suicidal/gay people went on to live ‘normal’ lives after therapy thus all suicidal/gay people need to be fixed in a similar manner”. I do wonder if it might be too broad a statement, however; for example, consider replacing suicidal/gay people with child abuse victims/cult members and the statement still holds up under scrutiny. Definitely some food for thought there, I may to have to reconsider my views somewhat.

        Your missive on therapy brings up a great point, namely, that financial costs can be (and in some cases most definitely is) harm. Being mandated to therapy and forced to use drugs is prohibitively expensive for some, particularly if the individual in question has a illness that prevents them from being financially stable or secure. What good is saving a life if that life is then going to be a life of poverty, or at the least of labor as they owe so much that they will never get ahead?

        Intervention can certainly be substituted for hospitalization; I was working from my perspective when I wrote that. Where I live it seems that the courts become involved once a person is hospitalized, I have not experienced or heard of anyone being forced into involuntary treatment otherwise. It may indeed happen, I simply have no knowledge of it. I agree that the hospital/conversion camp is the stick used to force people into treatment, so where is the carrot? It seems to me that something is very wrong if it is all stick and no carrot..

        When I said harm, I was using it as a blanket statement meant to cover harm of all kinds: physical, mental, sociological, etc. The group, as you point out, suffers emotional discomfort, or harm. They seek to mitigate this harm by forcing a solution upon the individual, with no thought of the harm they are causing (the irony is almost palpable). This applies equally to the gay person and to the suicidal individual; as you say, the justification is the same.

        The reasoning that suicide harms the group by reducing the population is specious at best. I can accept that it may harm the subgroup of family, but not the population as a whole. The planet is overpopulated as it is, I would note that the coronavirus killed more that 500,000 in the United States alone, yet there has been no outcry over a harmed population, because it is such a small percentage of the overall population. I accept that view even less for being gay; the reduced rate of procreation is negligible and predicated on the assumption that everyone is going the have a child. Even then, some gay couples do, in fact, have children.

        • Chad N says:

          Anonymous (JS I assume),

          Thank you for taking the time to read and think about this. Yes, it is a broad statement and you could substitute in any kind of abuse victim, cult member and likely several other disturbing options into that framework and end up with an argument that the group exerting the power in those instances would likely use as justification if required to do so. For example, in some places terrorists kidnap women then force them into marriages as a means to increase their future fighting force. These women may have several children with their husband (rapist) and function as a housewife (slave) for many years. To these terrorist that woman is now living a ‘normal’ life after they provided ‘treatment’ (beatings) so in their mind she is better and they should repeat the process with other women. It is a logical fallacy, can’t remember the type but the structure is basically ‘I was told ’X’ is good so I did ‘X’ then told myself ‘X’ was good’ which makes a loop with no validation.

          Some will still say that such a life is better in their view than the person’s death. I would approach it from the standpoint of why is the treatment and thus the financial burden only required so long as the patient’s has the money to pay for it? You talk about a life of poverty or of labor attempting to cover the bills but that implies they are in fact paying thus making someone money. Once there is no money to be made it is amazing how quickly the medical industry will put that person out. This leads me to question are they mandating the patients treatment or the industries income?

          You should read my response to Stacey as well. I actually had a part in there that was more developed then my comments here. Effectively I was posing the question of ‘mandatory treatment’ = ‘required to talk with religious figure’ and ‘hospitalization’ = ‘conversion camp’ to better align the steps and outline the ’stick’ in each instance. As for the carrot, it is ‘X’ in that logical fallacy I talked about earlier. It is more of an imaginary carrot since it isn’t actually valued buy the subject of the motivation but rather the one setting up the motivation system. Think of it like a gamer trying to motivate a farm animal by either hitting them with the stick or offering them time on the xbox.

          In my opinion the group is exhibiting something known as inattentional blindness (selective attention). If you haven’t heard of it check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo before reading on. Basically, the harm being caused to the subject of their action is the gorilla and the players in white passing the ball is the harm they think they are avoiding. To expand further, the harm they are trying to avoid is the players in black passing the ball since without this added stimulus the gorilla might stand out. Not trying to excuse, just to understand as well as I can.

          Again, the arguments I made for the opposition were an attempt to understand the other side. I do feel both arguments are flimsy at best and intentionally deceptive at worst. Although I do not know if they are trying to deceive themselves or the subjects of their actions. I am not entirely convinced the world is overpopulated, unless you mean from an industrial resource and impact perspective. I disagree that gay couples have children in the sense I was meaning. I was talking sexual reproduction as a closed system and do not think it is currently an option for a man to carry a child he had with another man to term or for a woman to fertilize another woman’s egg though maybe I am wrong. I am thinking you meant have children in a open system allowing for a surrogate or adoption which I know is done but didn’t support my premise for the group perceiving itself harmed.

    • Chad N says:


      My apology for not using the term “conversion therapy”. I saw you say you took issue with the other term but it was used in the next paragraph and I just didn’t follow the switch at the end.

      • JS says:


        No need to apologize, my issue with reparative therapy stems from the fact that, to me, it sounds too positive, suggesting a fix for something broken, and it sanitizes the whole process, making it far more acceptable. I feel that conversion therapy is a far more apt term, as it much more accurately conveys the intent of the ‘therapy’. I am not offended, per se, by the use of reparative therapy, I just find it to be grossly inaccurate as a descriptor.

        • Chad N says:

          I was more apologizing for my oversight when reading your original comment than from fear of offending you by word choice. Personally, given your description, I think you could forgo “conversion therapy” as well and just go with “brain washing” given that is a colloquially known term and meets your original comparison.

  11. N says:

    So basically, sever all connections before I take my life. If I mess up and continue to live, lie through my teeth and tell people I’m glad I was successful, while being miserable for the rest of my life because I’m too much of a coward to try again. Exhausted reading about therapists come up with ways to make dying look bad. There really isn’t a good reason to force people to live. Just let us go. There are ones who didn’t really want to die in the first place. Some of us do. But whatever helps therapists sleep at night and avoid legal issues.

  12. Gus says:

    This probably won’t get published, but here it goes. I want to commit suicide. I have felt this urgent need for over 2 years. Every minute of every day. Therapy and meds and zapping hasn’t changed this. My circumstances are personal, but suffice to say, I have access to the best therapy available. My physical needs are met. I have a loving family. Due to my reasons, I want to go. I don’t appreciate comments about being irrational, or “oh” it’s my distorted thinking – let’s just keep trying to help him change that. Not interested folks. There are (obviously) others like me. Please show us some respect and empathy for the way we feel. I am all for suicide prevention, but not to the extent of perpetuating one’s suffering because you are convinced they’ll “see the light”. Some of us just need to check out. It’s tragic, but it’s true. Please provide us with a peaceful exit. I don’t want a brutal, lonely exit, that traumatizes everyone I love.

    • N says:

      Thank you.

    • Jamie says:

      I understand you Gus. I had a troubled upbringing. I had parents who I believe had no right bringing kids into this world. They are lazy and emotionally unstable, in my opinion. I’ve tried numerous times in the past, as young as 8yrs old to end my life. I’ve always turned to pills, drinking toxic stuff and eventually started cutting myself. I’m older now and have lives that depend on me, animals that are my kids and a husband. The thought of killing myself is always present. I always say when or if they go before me, I will immediately let go of this life. I hold on to my Faith, that may not be your thing, but it’s the one thing that gives me strength to keep holding on.

  13. Chad N says:

    My involvement in this conversation has admittedly all but ended when I felt it quit being a search for truth and turned more into a bully pulpit. With that said, I am contributing again in hopes of adding some content that I believe might be of use to someone in pain and wanting help.

    To that end I wish to pose a question based on my own situation. I have been hoping for a heart attack or similar since 2015. This entire time I would be open to attempting diagnosis and treatment but do not wish to give up my rights or be discriminated against for doing so as that was my experience from a previous attempt here in the USA. I tried looking for anonymous options in the states but the best I found was some hotlines, apps and forums. So I wanted to see if anyone on here had experience with mental health services in countries other than the USA and if so what they were?

    To start off the list, I have been primarily considering Belgium but even before the pandemic I was having difficulty finding work there to facilitate relocation. I like this option as I feel they have the greatest protections for the patients autonomy since their euthanasia program covers many with mental illness as well and their diagnostic/treatment options look to be diverse. If there are others with such options and rights protections that I am comfortable with I would like to try expanding my search.

  14. E says:

    Do you believe there’s always a way to get to being okay with life?

    • Chad N says:

      I see suicide as one such way. That is why I advocate for its adoption as an option. The simple fact that there is a potential way out may help some feel less trapped. This can be enough in itself to help some feel better and if it isn’t enough then they can go though with it to find peace.

      • Aiah says:

        Chad, thanks for your contributions. And bravo to you for even exerting the energy to engage others who presume to tell you how to feel and think about your own life. I don’t engage those kind of people anymore as they often exhibit a kind of religious fanaticism, not satisfied to be entitled to make decisions about their own lives.

        You’re absolutely right that for many of us, knowing suicide is a potential way OUT of life’s suffering makes us feel better. And you’re right, again, that, owning ourselves, belonging to no one else, we can choose to go through with it to find peace. The problem, as I’m sure you know, is that others who work to legalize their opinions and values then seek to prevent the rest of us from carrying out our own decisions. So, many end up in even worse positions.

        If others want to be entitled to tell those they disagree with how to think, feel, and act, then those others should be financially… responsible for those lives. Of course, they’ll offer excuse after excuse for why this isn’t reasonable. Anyway, just wanted to send you thanks and support.

    • Sheila Bliss says:

      Maybe try asking yourself, “Does this emotion serve me?” [Be it depression, love, lust, greed, grief, etc] If the answer is “no,” then it’s just an emotion, and it doesn’t mean anything. Every emotion has it’s gift, but if you’ve already honored what that is, and so the emotion no longer serves you; then it no longer means anything if it ever meant anything at all.
      With something like love, lust, or greed, etc.; it’s really more than one emotion involved. And, if those emotions aren’t serving you, then they’re just emotions and they don’t mean anything.
      I know of someone who suffered thoughts of suicide practically constantly. When the person looked at it from the perspective of, “It’s just an emotion. It doesn’t mean anything” it was a game changer. The person now seldom has a thought of suicide.
      I learned this perspective from that person. I’ve been using it for about 2 weeks now for emotions that don’t serve me. It’s working pretty well. Far better than anything else I’ve tried. Sometimes I say it to myself over and over again until the emotion passes. Other times the emotion passes quite quickly. And, using the technique, the emotions that don’t serve me are felt less often.

      • Chad N says:

        Ok…. I am glad this is working for you but I do not exactly follow. I mean if the answer to the question of “Does this emotion serve me?” is “yes,” then it’s also just an emotion, and it doesn’t mean anything. The same statement is true either way isn’t it? You seem to just be setting up a sorting mechanism for which perceptions of reality to deny. My understanding is that trying to make someone deny their own perception of reality pretty much the definition of “gaslighting” and a recognized form of mental abuse. Maybe some see a difference resulting from someone trying to do so to themselves but if they are doing so due to pressure from society to be “normal” then I fail to see how such a difference could be justified. I guess I just think that too often such efforts are taken more to appease society than for the benefit of the suicidal individual. The unfortunate consequence being examples of why those with mental illness shouldn’t be allowed to “make rash decisions” that are equally arguably an example of someone being forced to suffer in silence.

        • Sheila Bliss says:

          Thank you – yes, I’m glad it works for me, too. I was skeptical, but I tried it, and have been impressed with how well it works for me. It’s not meant at all to question a person’s sanity – not gaslighting. For me, it’s like getting some control over what I feel. Actually feeling like I have some choice in how I feel. Yes, the emotions I deem as serving me are also just emotions, but I choose to believe that they mean something – because psychologically they do mean something to me in a positive way. For me, experiencing grief has always been a positive thing that takes some time for it not to hurt as much. For me grief reminds that I care, and caring is meaningful to me. But, if I felt like it was going longer than I think healthy, I would now try looking at it as just an emotion that doesn’t mean anything. To me it sounds a lot like stuffing emotions instead of feeling them. But, instead it really does seem to work for processing the emotions I don’t want in a healthier way – after I’ve honored the emotion, but it’s become intrusive. At that point, I decide it doesn’t mean anything, and it’s worked. Then an emotion settles in that has me feeling ok about what my then current thoughts happen to be. And I decide “This emotion is what I want – it serves me” and I feel good or ok about pondering those thoughts and feeling that emotion. I haven’t tried this process for grief yet, but it really seems to be a game changer for depression. I hope that makes sense. For me it’s not that I want to be viewed as “normal.” For me it’s about feeling ok about being alive – it’s for me, not society.

        • Chad N says:

          @Sheila Bliss: By googling “What is gaslighting” and going to pretty much everything but the dictionary definition I found confirmation that gaslighting isn’t limited to questioning sanity, making someone question judgement, perception of reality or memories all qualify. Just trying to explain my perspective on the practice you are espousing. Again, I am very glad it works for you and am only trying to say I see it as a potential slippery slope if depending on the motive of the adopter.

        • Sheila Bliss says:

          Chad – Thank you for the continued concern about gaslighting. I especially thank you because I haven’t been using this method I’ve described for very long, and maybe any negatives that come with it are yet to come. I guess to question whether any particular personal emotion has actual meaning would be to question one’s natural inclination of how said emotion is personally perceived remembered, or judged. And, I think I understand how that can be gaslighting. I’m hoping it’s not because it’s the person themselves looking to change an unwanted habit that has shown up; & I’m hoping not because gaslighting would cause psychological damage. I’m hoping the method I’m using is allowing me to have control over parts of the software that run me (such as my emotions). I think that’s different than an outsider dabbling into my software trying to have their way. -I hope. But, I think I understand your concern that this could be a form of self-gaslighting is important to continue to consider. On a positive note, I’m not saying that any of my unwanted memories, perceptions, or judgments of my emotions didn’t happen. But, I am telling myself that those unwanted memories, perceptions, or judgments don’t have to mean anything. I’m attempting to pull the foundation out on it all that I deem to be emotions – and train myself to perceive those emotions in ways that serve me. I think it’s a good dodge to medication that does the same thing basically – forcing the body to have or not have certain emotions, etc. And, that’s not called gaslighting. It’s my hope that the method I’m using continues to work. I am noticing it takes a lot of persistence, but it feels good when the emotions shift to something that serves me.

  15. Lamb says:

    How did suicide become an issue that warranted LAWS to be made to prevent it ? How did people set themselves up as authorities over individual emotions & thoughts of others ? I’m outraged over the presumption of said people telling me my thought process is flawed or misguided but theirs is correct . Listen … listen to the people who have experienced the deep despair that gave them the idea , Their Life is not worth living & Their expression of how They Feel . NOT Your own philosophy . Not until You experience that level of despair do you have the right to cling to your philosophy & judge . If you should be so blessed as to never getting to that point , you can thank the heavens above for your good fortune . Those who live in the world of despair are the rightful judges of choosing suicide . They are the ones who know what it feels like to once have felt their hearts burst with joy upon seeing a humming bird on a beautiful flower . But because of pain, loss, illness & a myriad of other infirmity both physical & emotional can no longer SEE with the same eyes they once had . Listen … listen to those who KNOW !!

    • Sheila Bliss says:

      You are relying on anecdotal evidence. But, since you are going to do that, at least consider the preponderance of it. Please do take your own recommendation to “listen to those who know.” I’m one of those who know, and I disagree with you, particularly based upon the preponderance of the evidence. I support laws against suicide because statistics of the anecdotal evidence shows that right around 90% saved from suicide are thankful for it. Then it can be argued that 90% are people that would have survived their attempt anyway because , and so weren’t really wanting to do it. Which I do think is a really low accusation. But regardless, there are attempted suicides that the person most definitely should not have survived, and the suicidal person is thankful it didn’t happen – such as jumping over the Golden Gate Bridge. Why are you so bent on NOT protecting people who are happy their attempt at suicide failed? I’m NOT for punishing people who would NOT change their wants after a failed suicide attempt, but please tell – how to you predetermine the difference? Or, do your beliefs really lie with that it’s more important to protect the 10% or so of people’s right to kill themselves than it is to protect the 90% of people who are happy their suicide attempt failed? My beliefs are to continue to use laws to protect the 90% who are happy their suicide attempt failed, but to absolve the expenses of botched suicide attempts that didn’t physically harm the life another. What do you think?

      • Nodscene says:

        I’d really like to see this study that everyone is referencing and if there is any bias in it. Did the survivors have a mental illness, were they in chronic pain, how many people were questioned, what was the demographic etc etc. It’s easy to make any study turn out the way you want it.

        The biggest flaw to this argument is that you can’t ask everyone who succeeded if they are happy about it or not so you are only getting half the story at best.

        Was there any follow-up of those same people done 5 years later, 10 years later or more and did they still feel the same.

        I’d also like to add that one of the benefits of having a government run service is that there is an application process that you first have to be approved for which takes time and requires multiple doctor’s to sign off on it (at least in Canada). Then if you get approved you still have to chose a date to end your life.

        All these delays will ensure that it gives the person a lot of time to make sure that that’s what they want and it’s impossible to have it be a rash decision.

        Having these safeguards should dramatically reduce the issue of people regretting their choice.

        Of course this won’t stop people from trying to do it on their own but what do you think is the smartest way to approach this issue of people who want to end their lives?

        And what happens to the people who live in unending hell either mentally and/or physically when you force people to stay alive because you refuse to have a law that offers the only cure for their illness. And let’s not be mistaken, it is a fair number of circumstances where this is the only option wether you agree with it or not.

        Are you really so callous and cruel as to subject this “10%” to decades of suffering which you can’t even comprehend because you only believe in an all or nothing philosophy.

        I’m not sure why people can’t see the benefit of having a proper, government regulated system in place as it will only move us towards helping the people who truly want to die and saving those who don’t.

        As a bonus, there is also a certain percentage (I don’t have any numbers but I’ve read enough posts on forums directly dealing with people who want to die) have said that even if they qualify for euthanasia it gives them the peace of mind that the option is there for them whenever they want it. Just having that comfort alone gives them the ability to hold off on making that choice right away as its a huge burden they no longer have to worry about.

        Obviously this is not the case for everyone but that alone is a positive outcome. It may also keep them alive long enough where things may change for the better or the possibility that a new drug or surgery can give them enough relief where they never make that choice.

        When you aren’t feeling like you are backed into a corner it leads to more rational choices which will inevitably reduce the number of “unwanted” suicides.

        If that’s not a win win then I really don’t know how much more you can ask for considering how things are currently being handled.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          As usual, you make many compelling points, some of which are the reason I struggle with the question of how far society should go in preventing suicide. I take issue, however, with your implying that Sheila is “callous and cruel” for wanting to protect suicidal people who will go on to live a long life if only they survive, instead of letting those die who (one can only presume) would never again want to live.

          If her stance on protecting others is callous and cruel, then we must also consider it callous and cruel for you to favor letting loved ones of the suicidal and entire communities suffer because of a suicidal person’s death. And I don’t think either of you, based on your comments here, are callous and cruel.

          As a therapist, I don’t invoke the welfare of others when listening to a suicidal person. I understand that such a statement can create guilt and shame in those whose suicidal thoughts are not truly voluntary. But the reality is, a person’s suicide doesn’t just end the person’s life. It also places their loved ones at higher risk for suicide, bequeaths to them feelings of grief and guilt, and broadcasts to others, including children, that suicide is a solution when there are so many others.

          I know, some people say the suicidal are selfish, and some say their loved ones are selfish for wanting them to stay alive. I don’t think the label of selfish can be applied to suicide, but I do think we can’t ignore the harm it does to others when we debate the merits of suicide prevention. A good book on this topic is Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Stay: A History of Suicide and the Arguments Against It.

          Thanks for sharing here and adding to the discussion.

      • AB says:

        Sheila, that the majority of us are heterosexual doesn’t justify forcing the minority who are homosexual to undergo painful treatments that some claim helped them become what we, the majority, expect them to be. Decades after such programs, once sponsored by various psychological research publications and organizations, have been increasingly shown to be harmful to the minority and based on bogus “science,” they’ve largely been repudiated.

        But yet, we’re supposed to deny freedoms to individuals who seem to be among the minority in their own self assessments? I don’t buy that. And I challenge anyone to provide statistically rigorous, validated evidence about “the majority of suicidals.” As a statistician who’s poured over decades of published studies on suicide, I’d be very interested in reading such studies.

        There are, as has been published in the professional literature, major inferential biases in making claims about suicidals in general based on the skewed populations of those who’ve survived suicide attempts (and then subsequently interacted with values-biased law enforcement, court, and health care… systems), the inaccuracy of coroner judgments of cause-of-death, and understanding the complex thinking behind why some who, despite being suicidal, do not actively attempt suicide. These latter studies suffer from common but serious reporting bias.

        Furthermore, there are other admitted data collection biases among suicide researchers–such as longterm follow-up among the suicidal to determine how people’s views change over time. And this doesn’t take into account the obvious anti-suicide cultural bias–much like it wouldn’t be inferentially valid to conclude that anti-gay psychological reprogramming “works for the majority” because, in a broadly anti-gay culture, the majority of those who go through such programs APPEAR to have been “cured” of homosexuality. People will often openly conform to the strong moral perspectives of their cultures–especially when these are enforced by law enforcement, the courts, and the authoritarian mental health system–very often brutally or even lethally so.

        Interestingly, we also know that patients in a therapy setting often change their behavior and modify what they report based on their therapists’ biases. Again, the dominant values-based therapy-model in the West is extremely-strongly anti-suicide. Based on JUST this, we’d expect a strong reporting bias, at least during therapy, of “no longer feeling suicidal.” And this doesn’t even begin to capture the population about whom we know suicide risk INCREASES due to forced commitment and treatment–many who will say what the strongly anti-suicide therapeutic industry wants to hear just to escape what can be brutally abusive circumstances.

        It’s also disingenuous to use another variation of the red herring I mentioned in my comment above: “Why are you so bent on NOT protecting people who are happy their attempt at suicide failed?” I mean no disrespect, but it’s hard for me to believe a reasonably well-educated person would conclude that supporting freedom-to-decide-for-self constitutes arguing AGAINST protecting people. No one anywhere in this comment section, or on any of the similar discourse boards I’ve ever participated on, has ever remotely argued people shouldn’t be entitled to seek out help or decide for themselves. This is, sadly, a common emotional ploy and reasoning fallacy used to justify denying people freedom.

        Lastly, it’s curious that some argue “to use laws to protect the 90% who are happy their suicide attempt failed,” (I’ve already discussed why that claim is statistically specious) while many of these vote AGAINST policies international research tell us significantly lower suicide risk–such as affordable housing-first mandates, universal health care, a basic income to protect the poor, MORE worker rights, transforming legal systems so those who most desperately need help can get it reliably and affordably… Our culture, our best minds have published evidence on, has been becoming LESS “equal” over time and this diminished democratic (or, if you prefer, authentic representative) government and economic style pushes the vulnerable to their limits. It also pushes, as coronavirus has shown us, many of the so-called middle class into poverty with its attendant increased suicide risk (studies on the relationship between unemployment and suicide risk show, for example, that it is financial insecurity rather than merely unemployment that drives the bulk of increased suicide risk in this population). Suicide risks among the homeless, for example, have been found to be TEN times higher than in the general population. But culturally we aren’t doing much effectively to address these factors, despite having more than enough wealth and resources. The politically active and influential anti-suicide community is conspicuously absent from the fight to force politicians and other legislative powers to change most of this.

        Some argue that we can do BOTH–address the social failures pushing many to consider suicide while continuing to FORCE ALL suicidals to behave as we expect. But while we’ve increased the power of therapists and the courts and police to often violently coerce the suicidal, we haven’t done much about the former we claim to also care about. I think this is because it’s much easier to treat the suicidal as “sick” and personally responsible for their condition than it is to collectively assume responsibility for building a kind of culture that precipitates suicidality.

        One quick comment about your statement about ” the expenses of botched suicide attempts that didn’t physically harm the life another.” Many suicidals suffer greatly in their determination to die because they are censored in speaking about suicide and acquiring means to leave life peacefully and relatively painlessly.

        But more and more countries around the world and local jurisdictions are changing laws to empower personal autonomy. So opinions about what is “right” are changing. Since no one is financially or personally responsible for the suicidal–especially those who don’t have loving families and enough money to stay afloat–I predict that freedom-to-decide will become the prevalent legal position in the future.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          I appreciate your commenting here and sharing arguments that show how complicated this topic is. I want to address a couple points:

          I don’t think the comparison you make with gay people and so-called reparative therapy is a valid one. I vehemently oppose efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation, and those efforts just aren’t comparable to suicide prevention. Subjecting gay people to harmful therapy harms only them and doesn’t harm the majority who aren’t gay. However, failing to protect suicidal people does harm to those whose death is unnecessary and premature, as demonstrated by research that shows that the majority of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide.

          Which leads me to another point. I think your comment (and others here, as well) mix up two constructs. There’s the question of whether we should protect people at imminent risk of suicide, which U.S. law currently permits. And there’s the question of whether we should create a law permitting assisted suicide or euthanasia for suicidal people, even in the absence of terminal illness. Obviously there is overlap between these two constructs, but they are not the same.

          When I speak of suicide prevention, I’m referring to the first construct. I may write a blog post sometime down the road differentiating the arguments between the two.

          Thanks again for sharing here.

        • AB says:

          Thanks for continuing this discussion, Stacey. I want to address some of your replies to my argument.

          You wrote, “Subjecting gay people to harmful therapy harms only them and doesn’t harm the majority who aren’t gay… However, failing to protect suicidal people does harm to those whose death is unnecessary and premature, as demonstrated by research that shows that the majority of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide.” First, it is a convenience of historical perspective that reparative therapy is now considered “harmful.” It is also arguable that a society that permits the revocation of some citizens’ civil rights based on others’ perspectives and evaluations does, indeed, harm the rest of us, too. Minimally, it sets a precedent for what the courts and authorities can do to the otherwise free, law-abiding citizen.

          When psychology and therapy felt differently about homosexuality, these professions offered arguments justifying treating homosexuality as a mental disease–including forcing individuals to undergo painful procedures because therapists and doctors were convinced they knew what was in the best interest of patients, their families, and society as a whole. Then, as now, there were published studies supposedly validating the personal and social threat of homosexuality–and validating anti-gay therapies. Now, society is making a similar reasoning error in presuming to know what is best for individuals and society, again, where individual life evaluation is concerned–a matter that is outside the realm of scientific scrutiny. This is what some scholars have called “secular religion,” in which the views of some can be used to circumscribe the personal values, judgments, and freedoms of others regarding their own lives.

          Second, I take issue with the justification of using force to prevent deaths deemed “unnecessary and premature.” Indeed, medicine already allows deaths that are unnecessary and premature–in the case of abortion, patients’ entitlement to forego medical interventions evidence shows lengthens lifespan, and remarkably the prerogative insurance companies enjoy in choosing to deny medical experts’ advice for life-saving interventions or setting drug prices beyond the affordability of millions.

          None of the preceding even begins to touch on massive systemic state policies we know contribute to excess morbidity and mortality burdens we not only permit but also allow to become more widespread–like decades-long exploding income inequality. While I understand you and others likely think these precipitating issues bad, too, that they remain so firmly entrenched in American society (and are getting much worse) I think argues there is some OTHER reason we justify FORCING the suicidal in particular to stay alive–not that we want to prevent “unnecessary and premature” death.

          You also shared, “There’s the question of whether we should protect people at imminent risk of suicide.” The answer to this question cannot be based in either science or statistics as neither of these disciplines is morally evaluative. The answer people come to is based on their individual and cultural values–as the US Supreme Court has commented in its record-setting Citizens United vs FEC case (558 U.S. 310), a JUDGEMENT as to whether to fall on the side of freedom or imposed responsibility. Regarding suicide, US culture falls in the imposed “responsibility” camp. Now. Despite the majority of Americans surveyed preferring freedom to choose regarding end-of-life decision-making by a growing margin.

          Lastly, I want to address the assertion, “…research that shows that the majority of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide.” This betrays a common statistical fallacy–generalizing (about what is true everywhere) based on inferences drawn from limited research and populations (important unaccounted for differences between patient populations and the real-world population–especially those research has not/cannot account for). A common source of this statistic is the 2002 Owens-Horracks-House BJP publication, “Fatal and non-fatal repetition of self-harm: systematic review.” Even in this frequently cited European study, repeat attempters’ suicide rates significantly increased as follow up time increased–by as much as ten-fold. And this in a strongly anti-suicide culture.

          And studies such as those in the Owens et al. systematic review generally fail to account for survivors’ quality of life over follow up. This betrays another fundamental evaluative bias that being alive is always better than not being alive, even when the life is just the sort of life all parents are terrified their children will have (chronically lonely, suffocating in lifetime poverty, tied to desperate and exhausting low wage labor, enduring insidious chronic pain, weighed down by ubiquitous systemic discrimination…). Again, the answer to this question (Is living always better than dying?) is outside the purview of the sciences. It instead varies with individuals’ values and perspectives.

          The problem in answering the question about the value of being alive is that one set of cultural values and perspectives is presented in the US as if these were themselves unimpeachable facts. It should be humbling to researchers that different countries at least as sophisticated as the US conclude differently. Just as in a largely homophobic culture, data collection, patient assessment, and meaning ascribed to data are all biased by researchers’, patients’, and society’s general worldviews, the same is true of at least some of the meaning we ascribe to suicide data.

          I’ll end by sharing that if we’re going to force people to stay alive, then we ought to assume responsibility for their lives–financial, medical, social services, affordable housing, companionship… It’s breathtaking to me that we will go so far as to rescind patients’ civil rights to prevent them from dying from suicide, but we’ll release them back into the same environments abundant published evidence divulges increases depression and suicide risks. Maybe we’re discussing two different communities, then: those who have enough resources (loved ones, money…) to help them reconsider life once therapy and the hospital are done with them, and those who lack such resources. In the meantime, sadly, many who MIGHT otherwise benefit from interacting with the healthcare system, if they can afford it, will choose not to out of an understandable fear of coercion and an awareness that they simply lack the resources to afford staying alive with appreciable dignity.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          These are all important points to consider. Thanks for making them. I want to say for now that, yes, you’re right that people in the majority are harmed when others’ rights are taken away (as Martin Niemöller conveyed so powerfully). So-called reparative therapy is, as you note , an example of that. I was (imperfectly, it turns out) trying to make the point that the analogy with protecting people from suicide doesn’t fit. To the contrary, *not* protecting people from suicide does harm to communities and loved ones. With that said, that’s not my motivation in helping suicidal people to stay alive and feel better; I say it only to show why the analogy doesn’t fit, in my opinion.

          I agree completely that society needs to do more to make life worth living. A good place to start would be to not charge people for unnecessary medical care that they received against their express wishes. I know someone whose ex-partner called the police about the person’s suicidal statements. The police took the person to an ER for an evaluation, and it was judged they weren’t in imminent danger of suicide. And a week later they got a hospital bill for thousands of dollars. I think if the government creates a mechanism for this to happen, then the government should pay for it.

        • Mark S. says:


          This is in reply to your comment from October 27, 2020 at 12:21 pm.

          You wrote: “*not* protecting people from suicide does harm to communities and loved ones”.

          I would like to point out that this is not necessarily the case. In many of the documented cases of euthanasia on psychiatric grounds in Belgium and the Netherlands, the people that request euthanasia clearly have the support of their family and close friends in their decision. In several other cases, which are sad indeed, the person making the request is estranged from their family and the family doesn’t care for their decision one way or the other.

          Personally, even if euthanasia on psychiatric grounds was permitted in my country (it isn’t), I would not request it as long as both my parents are alive, because I know it would devastate them. I suspect many others think the same.

      • Michael C says:

        The evidence of the 90% who were purportedly glad their suicide attempt failed has to take into account the fact that, if they were to deny this and say that they still wanted to die, they could be forcefully confined to a psychiatric ward, with potentially no end in sight until they were ready to say that they no longer wanted to die – whether or not they actually meant that. I personally may have reported, if asked, that I was glad to have been intercepted in my attempt, simply out of fear of when I might see freedom again and whether I would ever be able to reattempt suicide.

        In any case, it is unacceptable and downright medieval to use the force of law to trap even a minority in a life that they find not worth living, and there are ways in which you can give people who might be inclined to attempt suicide impulsively a cooling off period whilst also not having a blanket law that prevents self determination. My suggestion would be having an assisted suicide system which required a waiting period and counselling before the person could be assisted to die. Ultimately, even if there were still a large proportion who would have ended up wanting to live if they were forced to, they won’t regret their decision once they’re dead, whereas the ones who you forced to remain alive and didn’t come to be glad at that will be tormented. On a personal level, I have overcome a lot of psychological suffering in my life, but the one thing that still causes me great anguish is to know that if I decide that I no longer want to live, people such as yourself believe that I should still be legally forced, through any means possible, to continue my life against my will. That is a terrifying thought to me and makes it really difficult to focus on ways that I can help myself to enjoy my life more. A prison can become a home once you have the key, and life can become more bearable if I know that there is a safe and guaranteed way out of it.

        I believe that this would go a long way towards allaying any honest concerns that you might have about people who were in a distorted state of mind at the time of their suicide attempt, because not only would this system not provide assistance to people at the first point of contact, but it would also draw in people who might otherwise have killed themselves on an impulse, because they would rather wait and ensure that they have a safe, dignified and reliable suicide method.

        People who are anti-suicide will tend to brook absolutely no compromise at all, because at its heart, they object to suicide based on either some religious notion that human life is sacred, or perhaps out of fear that suicide really can be, and often is, a rational choice. I think that their defence mechanism against this is to avoid addressing the philosophical arguments in favour of the rationality of suicide by lumping all suicidal people together into one category of deranged people, all of whom are uniformly incapable of rational thought and incompetent to make decisions based on their own values and in their own interests. This approach further entrenches the stigma that exists towards suicidal people and also the mentally ill.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Thanks for your rich and well thought-out comment. I want to address one thing you said: “people such as yourself believe that I should still be legally forced, through any means possible, to continue my life against my will.” Laws in the U.S. permit professionals to protect someone from suicide only when the person makes it clear to others that they are at imminent risk for suicide. There is no mechanism that allows anyone to force you to continue living against your will in the absence of this evidence. Your statement makes it sound like suicide prevention advocates want you to be locked up in a hospital for years or subject to invasive home visits and constraints to ensure you stay alive or to some other measure – “through any means possible” – to force you stay alive, and such a system simply doesn’t exist.

        • Michael C says:

          Stacey, thank you for your response. I am not able to submit this in direct response to your comment, however I know that you will see this comment. As far as I am aware, in this country (UK), there is absolutely no provision for someone to be able to waive suicide prevention even if, like myself, they have previously been in contact with mental health authorities (in my cases, I was intercepted prior to a suicide attempt…which is a long story that I can’t really go into without sharing details of suicide methods!) and found to not be suffering from mental illness. Which is quite an achievement, especially since the criteria for mental illness are so subjective and arbitrary and prone to change with each new iteration of the DSM.

          The thought that really gives me particular terror is in relation to the expansion and development of surveillance technologies. I fear that if human civilisation does not correct the course that we are on (suicide must be prevented at all costs and there is never a legitimate reason for suicide, save perhaps for those facing terminal illness), we could end up in a situation in which everyone has to have a chip implanted in their skin in order to conduct basic everyday transactions such as buying food; but that this chip will also have the facility to monitor certain vital signs and also GPS technology. If such technology were to be invented and widely rolled out, suicide could become impossible in the future, because the data from the chip could detect disturbances that correlate with what is known to happen in advance of or during a suicide attempt, and this would immediately send an alert to the police or ambulance services to the person’s coordinates.

          I know that this sounds like a dystopian sci-fi scenario. But it is very clear that society has absolutely zero appetite for allowing suicide to occur outside of the cases of the terminally ill, or even admitting that it is possible for a suicidal person to be in a rational frame of mind; and there is even a ‘zero suicide’ initiative that you may have heard of; which is trying to do exactly what the name suggests. I’d be interested to know what your views on this are, as a professional in the field:


          I was absolutely terrified to see this published in The Guardian, which is one of the most liberal news sources in the UK. There was also a documentary on the BBC which explored the zero suicide initiative. After overcoming a lot of my mental struggling, I am finding it very difficult to get past the anguish about my entrapment.

        • Sheila Bliss says:

          Michael, Yes I agree the 90% statistic I used was a bad statistic, and I now realize that. Thank you for your wonderfully balanced statements aiming at protecting the rights of those who would want death, those who would decide they want life, and those who would legitimately change their mind after a cooling off period. And, I think you would agree that there are people in a state of mind that they are not thinking rationally at the time.

          Thank you for describing ways to treat all people in these varied situations with dignity. Particularly the people capable of rational thought and competent to make decisions based on their own values and in their own interests currently do not have their thinking supported well.

          I agree with everything you’ve said here. And, I’m one of those who have some notion that human life is sacred. But believing life is sacred, it’s hypocritical for me to believe that my “rational” thoughts are somehow right in comparison to someone else’s rational thoughts to commit suicide based on their own values and in their own interests. If life under the circumstances of the current world status is sacred, then so is liberty to make rational competent decisions based on one’s own values and in one’s own interests. In my opinion life loses its sacredness if liberty to rational competent decisions isn’t just as sacred . I believe it is just as sacred as life, even though it’s not treated as such.

          But, I also believe that the life of a person making irrational decisions isn’t any less sacred than the person making rational decisions. I like how you’ve worded valuing all people.

      • Lamb says:

        Sheila , I don’t think you grasped what I said . For the 90% of those who are grateful for having failed their attempt ( though I question that statistic ) have you followed up on the many in the 90% who have made 2nd & 3rd attempts ? You’ve set yourself up as a Protector . That’s quite noble but you are not With these people you claim you want to protect …. you leave that to Law Makers & Mental Health professional to do the ” protecting” . The survivors are left feeling More guilt ridden , & Shame along with feeling even More of a Failure than they were before . If you are amongst the survivor group & able to resolve the reason you made the attempt in the 1st place , I applaud you . NOW … let’s get back to Suicide !! To those who try … it’s their last ditch effort at SELF MERCY… probably the only time they will ever feel Merciful toward themselves !! You can’t protect a persons mind from himself . You don’t have the skill & certainly not the right to control a person’s mind . As the incidents of suicide are increasing , it is apparent that LAWS aren’t fixing IT … the same for Therapists . Both of these methods only foster a larger sense of FAILURE for those who attempt the act . Talk to me when you’re sitting & talking to someone who you KNOW you convinced & thanked you for saving them . You’ve then earned the right to say you are a Protector to someone’s life .

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Some people who are thwarted from suicide might feel guilt, shame, etc. Some might attempt suicide as an act of mercy toward themselves. Some might feel like a failure afterward. But not all. Definitely not all. I am somebody who attempted suicide, who was protected, etc., and I do not fall neatly into the group you describe. I did feel some shame, but it passed, and I achieved mercy toward myself in ways that didn’t involve my death. I’m not saying that because I survived, everyone can. I know it’s not that simple. But I also know that it’s an overgeneralization for you to speak for all survivors as if your opinions are their — are my — truth.

          Thanks for contributing here again. This is a very rich, provocative discussion.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


        Thank you for adding your thoughts about this contentious topic. You raise the excellent point that we must decide whether we should let suicidal people die even though the vast majority would survive once the suicidal crisis passes, or protect suicidal people from themselves even though a minority of those will oppose it.

        I struggle with the laws that permit (and even require, in some jurisdictions) therapists and other professionals to thwart somebody’s suicide attempt. I understand all too well the limitations that this places on people who want to seek help, but are too afraid of being involuntarily hospitalized to do so, or who do seek help but are too afraid to tell their therapist of suicidal thoughts because … again … they don’t want to be involuntarily hospitalized. Or stopped from suicide, either.

        But I always go back in my head to the point your comment implicitly raises: how do we predetermine whose suicide is going to happen, regardless, and who will be glad to be alive after the suicidal crisis has passed? It’s impossible to know that someone’s suicide is inevitable. And whose plight do we privilege, those who want to die (and whose survival is revocable) or those who will want to live (and whose death is, of course, irrevocable)? I know the argument that those who would want to live won’t be able to regret it if they’re dead, but I’ve seen too many lives restored after their survival – and too many loved ones’ lives destroyed after a suicidal person’s death – to disregard the very real possibility that helping even a profoundly determined suicidal person to stay alive is a good thing.

        With that said, I do want to raise a question about what I think is an error in your comment. I’m not aware of any research showing that 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt are thankful they survived. Could you direct us to such studies? What I’m familiar with is related, and it gives me hope: research shows that 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt don’t go on to die by suicide. Not incidentally, this objective fact refutes those who say people will say they regret their attempt only as a means to avoid hospitalization.

        Even if you have misremembered the research or can’t provide a citation, the essence of your statement still holds true, with minor modification: “Do your beliefs really lie with that it’s more important to protect the 10% or so of people’s right to kill themselves than it is to protect the 90% of people who will go on to live life without dying by suicide? My beliefs are to continue to use laws to protect the 90% who survive well after the suicidal crisis ends.”

        Thank you again for jumping into the fray. I know you’ll receive many comments disagreeing with you, and I think it’s important to let you know that I agree and appreciate your sharing.

        • Sheila Bliss says:

          Thank you so much for correcting me regarding 90% regretting suicide attempt! Sorry about that. Yes, big difference between that and “90% of people who survive a suicide attempt don’t go on to die by suicide.” You are right that there are so many other possible reasons for that than that the person regrets the attempt. And, specifically the regret being that person now wants to live, and not some other regret.

          Yes, I think it important to consider whether we are deciding it’s more important to protect people’s right to kill themselves than it is to protect the people who would go on to live life without regretting not dying by suicide. And, can we protect both?

        • Sheila Bliss says:

          Stacey, I sooo agree with this: “I think if the government creates a mechanism for this to happen, then the government should pay for it.”

          That should TOTALLY be a federal law.

      • scott says:

        90% of the people (approx) are glad they wear a helmet riding a motorcycle, specially after a crash. But that SHOULD NOT CHANGE LAWS if i don’t want to wear one. IT IS MY RIGHT… it is my life and my choice. i don’t know the % of women who regret having an abortion.. but i know it is high specially after time has past. Should we make laws taking women’s rights to have one away? Because others regretted it? I know these are not the same, but the end result is. YOU and people as yourself, your beliefs and wishes you want to trump MY wishes, because others also agreed with you who ‘tried’. You also know some who ‘tried’ really never intended on taking their life but as a desperate cry. THOSE people need help and i wouldn’t not consider then the ‘suicidal’ people who really want to die. What about smoking? people who smoke and ended up with horrible health say they wish they never started and wish laws were in place so they couldn’t. NO.. take responsibility …. you smoke.. you were in control. But people want us to have laws to govern people who just can’t or don’t’ want to own their own responsibility. Will this cause some to perish that maybe really didn’t want to? yes.. but that shouldn’t change laws because they cannot and won’t take full responsibility for their own actions. that is WRONG in my opinion.
        Also, what about the people who did try, got stopped (by law) got committed for a month and have to pay all those bills AND NOW, if they have any surgery (which i did) wasn’t allowed to sign a DNR unless they have a doc (therapist) sign off for them. HOW WRONG IS THAT??? THAT IS ABSURD. If people demand others live.. then i demand to stop their freedom on what they want that i think is wrong. Like maybe praying to a God or going to church. See when you bring it down to the level that is taking away others freedoms and choices … people start to argue and say, no that is not the same. but it is.
        thank you for listening. blessings to you.

        • Bruce says:

          Scott, you touched on a lot of valid points. Im not disagreeing with how you feel. Those of us who have prayed not to wake up in the morning, feel much the same way as you.
          Consider the bible. God gave us 10 commandments one being “thou shall not kill”. Yet in the old testament, God told Abraham to kill his son Isaac. God himself kill a lot of “sinners” like Sodem and Gomora. (Excuse my spellings and typos).
          We kill our pets we believe to be suffering. We do kill unborn children through abortion. This is supposed to be a free country. Freedom to live our lives the way WE choose. If we choose to smoke, do drugs, over eat, etc, its our choice, yet are we only hurting ourselves? Think of smoking. Second hand smoke can kill or harm others. Abortions are killing another would be person. Suicide does not only affect the one who dies. It leaves others who care and love them with pain and suffering.
          Our own pain, physical or emotional pain can leave us suffering daily. But there is help. You have to concentrate on finding that help rather than focus on our pain. Finding help is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. Suicide is “the easy way out”. Its not easy. Each of our pain is different and for different reasons. Finding that one person who can help us ease that pain can be like finding a needle in a hay stack. But trying, focusing, self help, one step at a time, it can be done. We are all made up of flesh and blood. Molecules, neurons and electrons, etc. There are ways to fix the problems. If you focus on finding the fix not focus on the problem….things can turn around and you may see why you are still here. You have a purpose and can possibly help others who pray for death too. You are valuable and have a purpose. Just my 2 cents.

        • Sheila Bliss says:

          Scott, a society rigged for people to make uninformed decisions is not “choice,” that’s cruelty. It’s harming others if we as a society favor allowing systemic cruelty based on people making uninformed decisions that easily didn’t have to happen that way. Women who later regret an abortion do so because they made an uninformed decision. It’s assumed ALL know what they are doing, despite the evidence to the contrary that many made an uninformed decision. Blindly choosing between door number 1 or door number 2 is choice. But, it’s far less a choice if some magic trick has you thinking you know what’s on the other side of each door, but you find out it was really a clever (or not so clever) illusion. It’s not so simple as me “choosing” regarding what concerns me; & you “choosing” as to what concerns you. It’s more about caring that people get to make informed decisions. And, that would include society not rigging things to punish suicidal people with bills over attempted suicide. There’s a whole lot going wrong that’d be greatly improved if strong focus was put on people getting to make informed decisions; and also not giving people who’ve attempted suicide even more reason to want to die – such as monetary costs. Thank you for your response and blessings to you.

        • AB says:

          Scott, I–and a lot of others whom you won’t read about thanks to the overwhelming censorship of pro-choice arguments–agree with you. But just like we can’t convince people of other religious arguments (god exists/doesn’t exist…) because these arguments aren’t based on demonstrable facts but instead how people feel about things, we’ll never be able to convince most people their position on suicide is harmful or even philosophically indefensible/inconsistent. I generally won’t waste my time having these non-facts discussions.

          Sadly, those who presume their tastes and values are sufficient to subject others to their moral scrutiny and even deny us freedom to choose for ourselves will fuel a significant underground for people to do with our own lives exactly what they’ve successfully made far more difficult. We lost the war against alcohol (Prohibition) and modern scholars write about how we’ve lost/are losing the war on drugs. We’ve never succeeded in commanding others how to feel about and what to do with their own bodies/private lives. But America thinks it can eradicating suicide…

          Life is tough and often unfair. No one should be obliged to keep living when methods they’ve tried have failed to make things better enough for him/her. It boggles my mind that we’re even having such a discussion. Like very, very many others the world over, I am certain that I will do what is in my best interests–as I alone determine–when the time is right for me. I feel utterly justified in ignoring others’ OPINIONS on the matter. Thanks to the anti-suicide platform’s openness, however, I know I must protect myself against coercion.

          Best of luck to you and thanks for adding your voice to the insistence on personal freedom.

      • Src says:

        Regardless of what you think or say about so called 90%. Well then let’s make abortion illegal because a very very high percentage of women who have abortion later in life regret it. Let’s make eating all kinds of badd food illegal because as we get older we all wish OI should 8 better I should exercised so if we don’t exercise let’s make that illegal and start punching people in jail or throwing him in the hospital your argument is absurd. If the people didn’t want to kill themselves they want of and it just because other people decide I changed my mind because I made it you shouldn’t make it illegal. Yes some people do change their mind. So let’s say they changed their mind now you’re putting more legal issues on them more restrictions more money problems you don’t think that also makes those people decide some of them that Hey now I’m worse off now. Just because people change their mind doesn’t mean you have the ability or the right to decide this should be a law for the people who don’t want to change their mind! I don’t create laws of something I don’t like that you like or that you want to do you shouldn’t be able to create laws just because you disagree with what I want! That’s making you God and your not God!. Sorry but this burns me up. ONE group, because they disagree and think they are smarter and know better than PEOPLE who really know cuz they are living the pure hell EVERYDAY… You dont know anything. We all are different. Even if you went through same exact thing as me and surviving and want to live….doesnt mean you still know how I FEEL… think about that.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          You bring up good, insightful questions about why we protect people from suicide but not from other actions they might regret. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

      • Jeff says:

        Ninety percent do not die by suicide. That is not the same as being happy to live or being happy the attempt failed.

    • AB says:

      Perfect, Lamb!!

      Many who use force (legal, law enforcement…) to compel ALL suicidal people to stay alive are the same people who, when pushed, will admit that (1) they can’t guarantee the cessation of pain (they’ll use purposely vague language like “It’s our goal to help people MANAGE their pain” or “…to improve their coping mechanisms”…) & (2) they’re entitled to dismiss/fire/abandon the suicidal (whom they’ll often, as a last resort, vilify for being manipulative or selfish) if the suicidal don’t begin showing signs of “progress” (thinking and behaving the way OTHERS deem appropriate–even when this behavior/thinking concerns JUST the suicidal).

      And this has never been about preventing those who want help from accessing it. That’s the common red herring used as a counterargument to personal autonomy. It’s about entitling people who’ve sought help but found it ineffective or insufficient the dignity to decide for themselves what is best for them. But after tens of thousands of years of civilization, humans still find it hard to grant each other such personal freedom.

    • Maggie says:

      I agree with this – “I’m outraged over the presumption of said people telling me my thought process is flawed or misguided but theirs is correct “…the assumption that people who are suicidal must have a Mental Illness. Furthermore, “Not until You experience that level of despair do you have the right to cling to your philosophy & judge . If you should be so blessed as to never getting to that point , you can thank the heavens above for your good fortune . Those who live in the world of despair are the rightful judges of choosing suicide . They are the ones who know what it feels like to once have felt their hearts burst with joy upon seeing a humming bird on a beautiful flower .” All of these apply to me. I used to have hope, was sensitive to all the beauty and potential in this world, had hopes and dreams. But through my own actions, I inadvertently prevented those hopes and dreams from materialising. I was given a Mental Health label, but it hasn’t helped me. I truly cannot see a comfortable future, I can only see myself getting old, continuing to be alone, and having too much time to be haunted by my appalling life choices. I think that the majority, including Mental Health professionals, are so frightened by the idea of suicide that they will do anything to portray it as an irrational act, by irrational people. Many of us who are suicidal will have contemplated suicide for many years, and sought help and alternatives to it. We will have fought for our own survival. But eventually there is no solution anymore, and suicide seems to be the only answer. You have to get to this point to understand it.

    • Nodscene says:

      Lamb, I just want to thank you for that post. It was passionate, accurate, and honestly no one can’t rightfully debate anything you said. If they try then they have absolutely no clue what hell people go through on a minute by minute basis.

      I want people who read this to try and get an inkling of what life is like living and suffering through it not on a daily basis like most, or even in their 8 hour increments, but having every second and minute be a timeframe that is a struggled to get through.

      Thankfully here in Canada it looks like they are finally going to change the law that prevents people without a life threatening illness to be able to apply for euthanasia (or whatever the politically correct term is now). Let’s hope they don’t screw it up this time. With any luck I’ll be the first in line.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Your message is powerful and conveys the important point that we need to listen to those who know the pain and suffering that causes people to no longer see reasons for staying alive. What do you think, though, of those who know all too well what it’s like to be deeply suicidal but also support suicide prevention? I am one of those people.

      I describe some of my experiences with suicide in my essay A Suicide Therapist’s Secret Past and Why I Came Out of the (Suicide) Closet.

      A big reason I publicly disclosed that I’ve attempted suicide is because so many commenters here made assumptions that I couldn’t possibly understand what it’s like to live in the world of despair that you describe. I understand all too well. I lived there for years. And I’m tremendously grateful now to have survived.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here and adding to the conversation. I hope that you recover from the deep pain or infirmity that prompted your message or, at least, find reasons for living in spite of it. I list resources for help at https://www.speakingofsuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp.

      • AB says:

        Stacie, after re-reading this blog’s comments thanks to an email alert, I came upon this comment from you: “…we need to listen to those who know the pain and suffering that causes people to no longer see reasons for staying alive.” I wasn’t going to make a comment, but there’s a point I think is critical to the end-of-life decision-making dialog responsible for more and more nations around the world expanding citizens’ legal access to medical assistance in dying.

        I don’t mean to argue that YOU meant this, but the construction “causes people to no longer see reasons for staying alive” suggests there are objective, hard-scientific reasons (beyond the physiological) for staying alive. That we know of, this simply is not true. Rather, people tend to create—and change—reasons that appear to work for them. That so many can create such divergent “reasons” argues that reasons-to-stay-alive are another kind of perspective. That so many of us hold the same perspectives (“my children are my reason…” “protecting my group/country… is my reason…”) is hardly surprising in a species that shares a neurological (and hence behavioral) heritage.

        I think the above is critical because it can change the argument from “I cannot see the-reasons-that-are-there to stay alive because my ‘sight’ is impaired” to “Even after searching, I don’t find a reason that to me is sufficient for staying alive.” Only if reasons exist objectively is there a scientifically valid justification for expecting others to perceive such reasons. And science, that I know of, has never divulged such reasons. That many of us have created such reasons doesn’t logically imply that the reasons are real outside our beliefs. Equally important, it doesn’t imply others are “sick” (or “possessed” or “wrong” or whatever other scarlet letter a given culture wants to use to label those who don’t conform enough to the culture’s ideological standards) simply because they reject all others’ reasons OR conclude there are no reasons for them.

        As I’m sure you’ve followed it, the Supreme Court of arguably our closest cultural neighbor, Canada, ruled in 2015 that Canadians have a constitutional right to medical assistance in dying (MAID)—and that MAID does NOT exclude what, to the individual, is unbearable psychological suffering absent a physical condition that independently would imminently abridge lifespan. Since there doesn’t seem to be any scientific reason an individual must ascribe value to (her/his) life, and since cultures at least as sophisticated as ours conclude radically differently on end-of-life decision-making, it strikes me as intellectually indefensible to conclude that people cannot rationally decide to leave life. Or that grave psychological pain necessarily dissolves rationality. To the argument that there is no societal construct preventing such people from leaving, all we have to do is consult verified news reports and legal proceedings of adults being apprehended for seeking out peaceful exits. Or websites vigorously sanctioning adults from discussing such matters.

        A zero-suicide culture is not a “free” culture. It’s a culture in which life, unsought, is an obligation rather than a gift. I would rather we all work towards a culture in which no one WANTS to leave life because it is so easy for us all to find reasons that justify our continued existence.

        Thanks for allowing another perspective.

    • Blah says:

      I think the most sterile reason is capitalism. If you delete yourself, the government loses your taxes, a potential worker, debtors will never be repaid, plus all the work that comes along with dealing with ‘you’. Paperwork and logistics will need to happen, which is more time & money. Not a lot in the greater scheme of things, and your family won’t even be liable for it (depending on where you live, etc.) so shame isn’t the issue. From the lawmakers point of view, suicide is a problem and laws are made to tell you, officially, not to cause the problem.

      It’s the same argument for/made by most religions, but here on Earth. For the small number of people who have to be told “No, bad” not to do something AND who will care about the potential consequences, laws might dissuade them. You go on about philosophy & feelings, but the LAW has neither. It is a cold, unfeeling rule book.

      Laws/rules exist because something happened that caused them to “need” to be. Every sign you see that says/shows you not to put your hand into something dangerous exists solely because someone somewhere put their hand in it already. Which again, on the emotional side says “hey, you’ll get hurt”, but on the unfeeling, lawful side says you’ll be less uselful with one less hand, maybe damage the dangerous thing, and the time it takes to clean up the mess is also lost productivity, so boom, it is now ILLEGAL to put your hand in the thing. NO. BAD.

      • Chad N says:

        There are far too many illogical laws for your description to be completely accurate. Also, you’re relying on reasoning and community interest to guide the law makers but most politicians are not that intellectual and I haven’t seen one in decades I would describe as selfless. I think you’re giving the opposition to assisted suicide far too much credit with your argument.

      • AB says:

        @Blah Many of us agree with you, Blah. Suicide prevention largely comes down to the entitlement the powerful feel to CONTROL others who’re useful to the powerful. Look at what we learned JUST from the pandemic (in the US). Many of the poor who’re barely surviving check to check were labeled “essential workers,” and the wealthy corporate moguls who own the businesses that employ the poor–including the state–DEMANDED the poor go back to work despite unsafe conditions and assume risks the wealthy owners refused to be responsible for. We all know that right now the US Senate is considering legislation to shield businesses from lawsuits resulting from employees getting sick while on the job due to coronavirus. All because the poor are so critical to the economy but otherwise considered so low-value. They do the dirty jobs the rest of society doesn’t want to. And in return, it can cost them their lives. Still, the status quo doesn’t care–responding with threats of firing and the specter of homelessness. What’s important is the precious economy which depends on armies of low wage, devalued human laborers.

        Another benefit to the state from an anti-suicide position is that, thanks to the “mental health” industry, the state can justify ignoring the evidenced negative relationships between chronic poverty, childhood poverty, homelessness, relentless attrition of worker rights, lack of affordable housing, unaffordable health care, and lack of affordable access to protective legal services because, the state can claim, many victims suffer from a “mental illness.” Therefore, the appropriate intervention is drugs and therapy, not changing laws or improving the administration of justice or redistributing survival resources equitably. The state doesn’t have to do anything to address the cripplingly acetic life circumstances that can rob humans of hope, personal value, and the motivation to live. Because we’d succeed, or minimally gracefully endure lifelong poverty and survival insecurity and poor health, if only we thought the right thoughts. Absurd.

        • Sheila Bliss says:

          Reality so well put! Thank you for wording it so well! Such oppression is put on the poorer people of our nation ( USA). The nation would do well to at least financially remedy that disparity, Sadly, it would not be hard, but simply isn’t being done.

    • Lamb says:

      I haven’t given my opinion in quite some time because I’ve been reading the replies from the people who have responded to this site . I think many feel there is still a stigma attached to suicide . The labels of mentally ill , not in your right mind , seem to foster the idea that due to you mental state you’re not too intelligent either. It is implied , especially from the “authoritative ” bodies that make the laws & yes, even your friends & loved ones. Having read so many replies , I found myself riveted to the comments . Why ? Because every person who has weighed in ,is So bright , intelligent & cogent. I excuse myself from this observation because I didn’t give my opinion on suicide by measuring how intelligent I was or the intelligence of other contributors, I was merely talking from emotion. This observation led me to being amused by how “outsiders” perceive the suicidal. I continue to read the comments with the zeal of one reading a great book of knowledge & learning . Thank You to all who comment to this site . Lamb

  16. Mark S. says:

    Hello Stacey,

    I would like to give an example of a dilemma where the consensus among the legal and medical professions, as well as the general public, is not to “err on the side of hope” as you prefer to. The example is abortion of fetuses that are found to have non-fatal mental or physical defects detected through prenatal testing. For the sake of concreteness, I will focus on Down syndrome, although many other non-fatal birth defects can be successfully detected with prenatal tests nowadays.

    For the readers who aren’t familiar with it: Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that manifests as intellectual disabilities, stunted growth, vision and hearing problems, a high risk of early onset Alzheimer’s disease and other problems and symptoms. Because of the intellectual disabilities, most people with Down syndrome require special support (financial, legal, educational, medical); some manage to find a job with a work environment that is suitable for them, but many are not employed (you can google to find more specific statistics; there is some variation in the numbers for different countries). Although there is no cure for Down Syndrome, with proper healthcare, individuals afflicted with it can have a relatively high life expectancy: 50-60 years, and for some people even more. And although this is a bit subjective, I think it’s fair to say that with the right education and care most individuals with Down syndrome can and do have a good quality of life.

    Nevertheless, when prenatal tests determine a high probability of Down syndrome in the fetus, the most common decision is to abort: the estimated termination rate for fetuses with Down syndrome is 67% in the US, 77% in France and close to 100% in Denmark and Iceland (see [1]); it is also very common in Israel (see [2]). Note that even though many countries permit abortion only up to a certain gestational age (e.g. 12 weeks), almost all developed countries allow a late termination of pregnancy, even in the third trimester, if fetal abnormalities are detected. This is despite the fact that at that point, the baby is very much a living, sentient life-form and it may well be able to survive outside the uterus.

    Moreover, in cases where a baby with Down syndrome was born despite prenatal tests failing to detect any abnormality, parents have successfully sued doctors and hospitals for negligence and medical malpractice. This is known as a “wrongful birth” (see [3]) lawsuit, where the parents allege that they would have terminated the pregnancy had they known they would have a special-needs child. See [4] for a specific example (googling “Down syndrome wrongful birth” turns up many other cases where high damages were awarded to the parents).

    Additionally, some jurisdictions (several US states, the Netherlands) also recognize “wrongful life” (see [5]) lawsuits. These are similar to a wrongful birth lawsuit, except that in this case it is the child himself that sues the doctor or hospital for negligence in failing to prevent his birth, usually via a legal guardian. The thesis behind such a legal claim is that it would have been better for the child to not have been born in the first place, because congenital defects have rendered his quality of life very poor; hence the child’s right to sue for damages.

    All these developments have drawn some criticism from disability rights groups. They worry that the habitual abortion of fetuses with disabilities like Down syndrome will lead to a society where disabled people are but a minuscule minority and therefore would undermine their efforts for equal rights, greater integration within society and an end to social stigmas against them.

    The relevance of all of this to the discussion of hope, the value of human life, suicide prevention, physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia should be obvious. The following assertions are often made by you and other commentators:
    1. Human life is sacrosanct; thus, we should always try to prevent a person’s death, regardless of circumstances.
    2. Life is a precious gift; it is always better to be alive than not to be, regardless of quality of life.
    The way the medical profession, the legal profession and the general public perceive the issues I mentioned suggests that these assertions are highly subjective, if not outright dubious.

    If abortion (even at a late pregnancy stage) of babies with Down syndrome is ethical and legal, if wrongful birth and wrongful life lawsuits by parents of and people with Down syndrome are ethical and legal, then it doesn’t take a great leap of faith to accept that physician-assisted suicide for people suffering from painful and chronic, but non-fatal, illnesses is also ethical and is likely to legalized in most countries at some point in the future.

    [1] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/down-syndrome-iceland/
    [2] https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-abortion-conundrum-how-far-israelis-go-to-ensure-their-babies-are-born-perfect-1.7362524
    [3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrongful_birth
    [4] https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/03/10/parents-get-2-9m-in-down-syndrome-girl-wrongful-birth-suit
    [5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrongful_life

  17. Maggie says:

    I have felt increasingly suicidal with time, despite having had interventions from a Psychiatrist, Therapists – have taken the various meds, done the talk therapy, also DBT. I don’t blame the professionals, I blame myself for not realising when still young that if you have mild or moderate depression, you can do a lot to help yourself. Now in my 40s, alone, alienated, facing a future of more loneliness plus poverty, I now understand properly what it is to not have reasons to live any more, and to want to find a way out. If I could find a way of ensuring I didn’t survive an attempt, didn’t distress the person who found me, and most importantly, didn’t destroy the lives of my birth family, I would go ahead. The problem is that there are too many uncertainties about being able to succeed, and ultimately I cannot pass that pain on to my family. So that makes me feel trapped and I am sinking deeper into Hell each day. I have had one hospital admission, it was a waste of time and resources, I was simply used as a guinea pig for various drug treatments, and then discharged. I don’t have faith in the medical model. If there were a place I could go to reset myself, somewhere where I could begin again, get help back into employment whilst receiving support, just a basic ‘haven’, I would take that option instead. I want a second chance, and to use the gifts I was given to help others. But that doesn’t exist, so like many others, it is a case of existing and suffering profoundly.

  18. jason robert says:

    Some people do commit suicide, and this has surely happened since humans first walked the earth. This is not a treatise on the causes or possible reasons for suicide, but the complexities behind the act have puzzled me for many years. In particular our seeming abhorrence and our obvious dismay, regret, and great sadness that anyone should even contemplate the need to end their life, by whatever means has taxed my understanding and the meaning of my life.

    What follows below is my opinion.

    I ask the question-why is suicide considered such a bad thing? Now I am not advocating that anyone should commit suicide. I am just trying to pick apart the emotional clutter that accompanies this very personal and private act. The only answers I get are that it is a waste of a (usually) young person’s life; that they were loved; that they had unlimited potential, now never to be realized; that they had a future to live for . . . etc, etc.

    This is partially correct but is not a real answer. The person concerned-the person now deceased-obviously had a different view of life. I am not discussing his or her view-I have no idea what that was. I am discussing our view-that of the outsider-the ones left behind.

    Why are we “outsiders” (I deliberately use this word because we are “outside” that person’s inner world) affronted because someone considers living-in their current situation-to be so bad, so threatening, so limiting as to be not worthwhile continuing? Are we discomforted because this rejection, this dismissal of all we have striven for (in “our” world), may reflect poorly on us, those left behind, regarding the way we have organized the world? Are we disturbed by the confronting prospect of having to admit that we make mistakes and that the way in which the economy, our legal, welfare, and education systems are set up may actually cause distress, that we are not always fair or just in our dealings? Do we feel guilty that we have developed a financial system that promotes the massive imbalance between the very wealthy and the very poor and the disadvantaged?

    We have to recognize that we are all, all, party to the ills of the world. We created them. If we look with even a modicum of insight, we should see in ourselves the cause of these shortcomings and see ourselves reflected in the eyes of the distressed. And we should be dismayed.

    Is this why we consider suicide a “bad thing” and are so shocked when it occurs?

    It is needful to remember that we, each one of us, have our own experiences of life. These are our own. No one can see the world through our eyes with the same imagery and emotional response. No one can see the world through our eyes with our life experiences and our interpretations of those experiences-these are our own.

    So, I ask the question again-why is suicide considered such a bad thing? Obviously for the person concerned the prospect of death is more alluring than continuing living as currently experienced. What is “wrong” with that? It is their choice.

    Then, for some to say that only God can decide when or where a person dies is surely a gross over assumption-how do they know? What special insight do they possess? Is it not possible, because (I assume) God gave us free will that God may have already decided to allow a person who wants to die, to die?

    Furthermore, to declare (as some authority figures do) that most people who commit suicide suffer from a mental “illness” or disorder is surely wrong. It is also highly presumptuous on the part of the person making such a declaration-how do they ACTUALLY know! This is categorizing a person, who now has no recourse or ability to refute the presumption. This is putting a label on someone. And what about those “outsiders” left behind to live with the event-the family and friends?

    Are they to be made to suffer further pain with the stigma provided by so called experts who provide the “knowledge” that their son, daughter, friend, brother, sister “must have been mentally deranged” to have committed such an act. This implies that no “normal” person would ever do such a thing! What about self-sacrifice when there is loss of life? Isn’t this an act of suicide? But if it saves the life of others it is considered “noble”! (“There is no greater love than this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends,” English King James Bible: John 15:13).

    Research on completed suicides is notoriously difficult. It is always referring to an historic act-something that has already happened. Police, the coroner’s, autopsy, psychiatric and psychological, and counselling reports are analyzed and carefully combed through to try and establish some reason or motive for the suicide. This is fraught as it is impossible to know what was actually going through a person’s mind at the precise moment they took their own life. At that moment they made a choice. Why? We can never know.

    Shall we now look at what suicide actually is? Someone taking his or her own life-right? It seems that the “act” is only considered suicide if it results in the quick death of the person concerned. But what about those who commit suicide in the “long term”? Those who drink or drug themselves to death over a number of years, what about them? They may suffer from abuse, or from unbearable pressures associated with their domestic arrangements or at work. They may determine that the easiest and most “socially acceptable” way of easing this pressure or pain, is to get drunk or to get “stoned” on a regular basis. It may take some time but in possibly 5 or 10 years they will be dead. The emotional (and economic) “cost” of this (“long-term suicide”) far exceeds that of any number of “quick” suicides.

    To get back to the “mental illness or disorder” accusation. Disordered from what? What are these people supposed to be disordered from? From “normal”? As far as I can discover, there is no accepted definition of “normal.” Possibly those considered “disordered” react to life’s trials and tribulations differently from those around them. Are they wrong? Or are we “outsiders” just being intolerant and lacking in understanding or compassion? Maybe these people are just eccentric-God knows there are enough odd-ball people in the community! Some behavior may be considered maladaptive or possibly antisocial by “outsiders” but not by the people concerned-otherwise they wouldn’t act the way they do!

    Similarly, why should anyone “live” according to another’s expectations?

    The Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) wrote the essay, “Suicide,” wherein he said, “I believe that no man ever threw away Life while it was worth keeping.”

    Finally, I give you a quote from the Indian sage Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), who said, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

    -Jason Robert

    [This comment was edited to abide by the site’s Comments Policy. – SF]

    • Maggie says:

      Excellent and comprehensive response to the original article. Particularly with regard to those “experts”who state that the choice to end one’s life suggests ill mental health, which as Jason says, adds another layer of pain for bereaved loved ones. I can understand the attempts to dissuade young people to take their own lives..in your 20s, 30s &possibly 40s, there is still time to turn things around, find a partner, have children..all of which provide stability and a purpose. But for those of us who have lived the first half of our lives, and haven’t forged the building blocks of security, familial or financial, or who simply suffer and endure life, perhaps we are simply making a logical and merciful choice. The mental, emotional, spiritual pain is unbearable. When we feel so powerless in so many aspects of our lives, can we not exercise power about how we end those lives?

      • Maio says:

        The claim life is an amazing gift and death is a terrible tragedy is a remarkable claim. The burden of proof is on the person making the claim, not vice versa

    • Maio says:

      History is full of examples of people being too sure of themselves causing enormous problems and harm on many people. When you make an remarkable claim such as life is always a fantastic gift and death is a terrible tragedy, the burden of proof is on the person making the claim not vise verse. Most people position on suicide claim that their judgment is is so superior to someone who is suicidal they should be able to make the choice for them, drug them, and do anything to force their position of life on to them but offer no evidence or proof of their position whatsoever—just feelings. It’s very much like a cult—you want to leave you are out of your mind.

    • Stella says:

      Thank you James.

      I think that research on “survivors” of suicide is somewhat biased. It has to be, from the inherent nature of what is being studied. The sample consists only of those people who, for whatever reason, didn’t succeed the first time and didn’t go on to complete a successful attempt. It is not inconceivable that some of those attempts were made as gestures rather than in earnest. And of course the survivors say they regret it; otherwise, would they still be alive? Even if one has another attempt in the works, one has to pay lip service to the idea of “recovery” in order to remain at liberty (for this gives the best chance of future success).

      I resent the idea that someone can tell me what my life is worth, or that things will improve as though they have somehow ordained the future. A significant minority of psychiatric patients go through life without substantial improvements. I have had depression on and off (mostly on) for the last 16 years. I’m 27. I don’t remember what it’s like wanting to wake up in the morning. I can’t describe my mental state to someone who’s never been there. They probably wouldn’t believe me, just as I have difficulty believing the mainstream narrative that depression is a temporary problem. I do not understand why I must drag myself through the next 70 years on a cocktail of psychotropic substances. Who is supposed to benefit?

      • Chad N says:


        Very good point on the biased nature of survivor statements.

        I think you have your answer on “Who is supposed to benefit?” right there. The benefactor is the medical industry. Specifically pharmaceuticals and the mental health branch of medicine. A person with ongoing and unending suffering is just good business to them. I expect they will not give up this is a significant advantage over other medical practices easily, in fact I expect the others may attempt to adopt it. Think of how much money cancer doctors could make if they could force patients to continue treatment against their will, just as an example.

        I expect someone will bring up the question of religious objection, often in religions human suffering is a form of penance so perhaps they either feel they can pass judgement that it is deserved or hope in some way that your suffering benefits them spiritually.

        You could alternatively look at it from a historical perspective since at various times the human race went through significant downturns in population. At those times it would have made cultural and biological sense to attempt to force people to live longer for the good of the society or species, depending on your preferred basis for subverting an individuals free will. In all honesty, this is the one I find personally least objectionable however it is also no longer relevant given the current human population.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Sadly, one of the problems we face in suicide prevention is that many mental health professionals will not treat suicidal people. They are frightened of the risks, liability, and extra time demands that can occur. So I don’t think that can be seen as a motivation for protecting people who are at imminent risk for suicide.

    • Sheila Bliss says:

      I think the person themselves going thru the situation of considering suicide in hindsight can have accurate opinions of themselves of whether they were “mentally deranged.” If we are to consider there are people considering suicide claiming they are NOT “mentally deranged” are possibly correct; then there is definitely need to consider that people who considered suicide who in hindsight say they were “mentally deranged” are correct. I don’t say “possibly correct” because I know of no example of someone truly believing in hindsight that oneself was “mentally deranged” when indeed oneself was not. The wrestler known as “Hulk Hogan” at least once almost accidentally committed suicide because he was not in his right mind. He was mulling over the misery of his recent divorce at the time while sitting in his bathroom when he suddenly realized he was holding a loaded gun and knocking against his teeth! He was appalled and stopped as soon as he noticed. He has no memory of getting the gun! He was not conscious of any want to kill himself! Sometimes people most definitely ARE suffering a mental illness that is causing the action of suicide. It’s wrong to say that NEVER happens.

      • Michael C says:

        It’s wrong to assume that it must be the case that someone who is suicidal is in a state of derangement. They should at least be given the chance to lay out their thinking on the subject, and have that scrutinised for delusion or signs that they irrational. Not have it presumed before they’ve even had the chance to speak on their own behalf that they must be “deranged” because no sane person would ever commit suicide. If you allow assisted suicide but require a waiting period with counselling, then you give people who would otherwise commit suicide in a rash frame of mind the chance to cool down and possibly see things differently, then choose to live. When they might otherwise be dead without having even tried to reach out for help.

        I’ve been suicidal most of my life and was prevented from committing suicide once in my life. I would be willing to go up against anyone to lay out my philosophical views and have them rigorously examined for evidence of delusion or unjustified bias. Philosophically, it basically boils down to the fact that I did not yearn for life before I was born, and as there is no compelling evidence to suppose that consciousness can survive bodily death, I cannot see how it would be possible that I could yearn for life once I am dead either.

        And I would argue that most people live lives that are perhaps not filled with unbearable suffering, but in which they are constantly working towards prevention and relief of suffering and if they lapse in that for a brief period, or even just get unlucky, terrible and sustained suffering can be the consequence.

        [This comment was edited to abide by the Comments Policy. – SF]

        • Sheila Bliss says:

          I agree with you that, “It’s wrong to assume that it must be the case that someone who is suicidal is in a state of derangement.” Maybe that is the case, but I don’t think it is. And, unless it were ever proven to be true (not gonna happen) it’s definitely WRONG to assume anyone who is suicidal is deranged.

          Also I agree with you that, “They should at least be given the chance to lay out their thinking on the subject, and have that scrutinised for delusion or signs that they irrational. Not have it presumed before they’ve even had the chance to speak on their own behalf that they must be “deranged” because no sane person would ever commit suicide.”

          Thank you for well explaining this. I agree with you that it’s wrong to assume no sane person would commit suicide. And, I think you also agree that it’s wrong to believe that no insane person would commit suicide and it’s a good thing to offer such a person a measure of protection.

          Thank you for your further details, too.

  19. Ricky says:

    I am 39 now, but for 35 of them I could only remember the bad. And i hated my life and there was nobody there to talk to. I shot myself in the head, only 3 feet from my baby mamas face. If i had anyone who cared at all for me ii might not have done it. Being a meth addict and alcoholic i have fought so hard. Harder than anyone cares to hear. As i was coming to, the whitest light was shining and i saw what i believe to have been an angel glowing in the light. She had a long robe to the ankles and a halo on her head. And the space between us spread and my family was all right there. And i was alive! I was confused for long time. Trying to figure out why i am alive and not the good kids. I wish i knew what it was for?

  20. Guy Marsden says:

    Im 57 years old maybe the health profession should have recognised whats going on im mentally incapable of a happy memory so every day is depressing this is nothing new its happened all my life and i honestly mean since i was about 5 years old ive considered suicide me staying alive is putting me through Hell or Purgatory take your choice if you really want to help people like me do studies of kids find a way to sift through and help

  21. Jason Robert says:

    I’ve been pondering my death for a while and like my conclusion of: Why cant I decide the how and when?
    People who are in short term pain may regret thier failed attempts, but I have a date, a time and a how.. thought it out carefully and have told people.

  22. Old Geezer says:

    Today is my 69th birthday. My landlord gave me a 30-day notice to vacate at the start of August because she is selling this building, the last marginally affordable property in our old Midwest city, to a luxury developer. I saw the writing on the wall so four months ago spent my credit to visit all over the US to look at “affordable housing”. I visited the South, the Midwest, the Mountain Region. I didn’t visit the Coasts because all the US data says they’re absurdly expensive.

    I have two sons. I haven’t seen either in more than 15 years since their wives got pregnant. I’ve seen my grandkids once each but get Christmas cards with their photos. Every year they say they’ll visit, something else comes up. I volunteer nearly every night in my neighborhood. I know it’s important work but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I was a social worker in Chicago for 18 years before finishing a DSW, then teaching about and specializing in elder depression risk factors and services (including isolation). I’ve worked with some of the leading specialists in this field at Harvard, Stanford, U Chicago, Penn… Thousands upon thousands of academic papers are published on the effects of loneliness, but nothing substantive is done. Why? Because you can’t force or even entice people to be with those they don’t want.

    My wife used to be a psychiatric nurse until cancer put her in the hospital between insurance coverages. No insurance company would take her so I worked double time while caring for her. It wiped out our savings. Including a second mortgage on our house. She died. I was distraught. And lonely. My kids never spent a single night with me. I cried out to my friends. They all stopped talking to me. I know how grief affects communities. Again, I’ve seen it all before.

    I lost my teaching post at the university because they wanted a different type of professor. When I filed a discrimination law suit, I lost on the grounds that it is legal to displace male faculty for non-male faculty due to federal guideline about what constitutes discrimination. I was the second most published faculty member in our department. Oh well. I couldn’t pay off the second mortgage or even come up with enough to pay the taxes on my house so the city auctioned off my house and threw me out. Now I have less than $200 in savings, no place I can afford to live (trust me that I’ve tried all the venues I counseled my own clients about for over 45 years), and will be homeless in less than a month.

    At nearly 70, my body can’t take the stresses working at a local Walmart would mean–if I could get hired. I’ve sent out nearly 1000 resumes in the last 2 years alone. I’ve also paid professionals to redo my resume and LinkedIn profile. I even got an ESL/EFL certificate. I’m too old to work in the US and abroad. Thousands of resumes. Not a single job offer. Yes, I’ve tried to companies that advertise interest in older workers.

    Why am I sharing all of this? Not at all for pity. For nearly 50 years, I’ve seen or read about this happening to tens of thousands of clients over the decades. When my wife, whom I loved more than everything else in the world, died, I knew it would happen to me, too. Not because we didn’t plan. But because these things can just happen. To a lot more people than you think.

    Dr. Freedenthall claims suicide is never justified. As an ex-professor of social work and a field worker of nearly half a century, I’d like to ask Dr. Freedenthall how the people who want to stay alive but who don’t have the money to anymore and who, for a million different reasons, the government isn’t able or willing to help stay alive, are SUPPOSED to stay alive. I’ve read some good arguments, including here, about why suicide should be allowed, with s0me limits. If society doesn’t have the resources to keep people alive, it makes no sense to tell people they should stay alive. It doesn’t matter what some thing SHOULD happen. Nice thoughts or words alone don’t keep the destitute alive. First you provide the means. THEN you gain some entitlement to talk about “alternatives.” Until then, what a slap in the face to say suicide is never justified while people are homeless or dying from isolation (Google it; isolation kills) or abuse no one has a societal cure for.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I came across your site by accident after a bad day someone pointed out to me that I was lucky and had got people who I could turn to for help I know that but in that moment of despair you don’t think though I should also point out to someone how much in resources it costs the police and emergency services doesn’t help I wasn’t stupid and feel bad about that but someone who should have known better didn’t need to point it out to me and it just made me more depressed after I saw them today but I feel better for reading your site and have wrote the website details down to tell them many many thanks I will be looking regularly at your site

  24. AnonMay2019 says:

    With all that’s going on in the US right now politically, it’s not surprising that on such a sensitive subject as suicide people have very different views. But I have a question of practicality. If you’re unable to help people acquire the resources they need to stay alive, how exactly are they supposed to keep living? In my line of work, I’ve come to know several elders who committed suicide because they had run out of money to stay alive. And because our culture values, in most other settings at least, personal freedom so much, the family of these elders were entitled to neglect them for decades so they had no assistance. What was available from the state was far too little so that the elders had become homeless. So they chose to leave.

    Happenings like the above are very sad for those of us who come to care about the people who leave. I was around when several of these people, decades earlier, were facing increasing age discrimination and couldn’t find work so had to exhaust their savings to stay alive. While the cost of housing exploded. Yesterday in a town hall meeting, our jurisdiction formally defended landlords’ rights to expand rental criteria to include not only KYC identification documents (social security card, driver’s license…) but thorough financial documents–401k statements, a minimum of 6 months of pay stubs, 12 months of bank statements, credit card and bank account balances… Many residents have faithfully paid rent for over 25 years but could never pass the new financial rental criteria that have come about thanks to federal KYC guidelines. Our mayor asserted that landlords have a right to know the financial liquidity of people they allow in their investment properties. The impoverished elderly, disabled, and homeless and their advocates who showed up for the week-long battle at our city hall were all shut down. Reports from all over the US show these problems are very common and getting worse. No one in the US has offered a viable solution for over 30 years.

    I don’t mean to go on and on, but for those who argue that suicide is never right, what are you offering the people who can’t AFFORD to stay alive and who have been tossed out of society as useless and unemployable? What are you giving them so they are ABLE to keep living? Sometimes staying alive isn’t merely a choice. It costs money, lots, to stay alive in our capitalist society that deifies constant economic growth and profits for those who can afford the admission ticket to the business world. In the Developing World, for example, we’re commodifying drinking water locals have freely depended on for centuries such that they can no longer even afford the water in their own back yards. These are the realities in which people are struggling to stay alive.

    In reading these comments from start to finish, it seems to me that the people who say suicide is never the right choice aren’t even listening to the pain from people who share WHY they’re suicidal. A lot of people are suicidal because they’re desperate. They’re lonely, suffering from chronic pain medicine can’t or won’t help with, too poor to afford astronomical rents. Employers don’t want to hire them so they never get the money they need to stay alive. And the US Supreme Court ruled a few years ago to make it far harder to prove age discrimination in court. So a problem we all know is wide-spread we’ve just swept under the rug. Meanwhile, mental health therapy doesn’t solve these problems.

    The practical question, then, is if you can’t give people the resources they NEED to stay alive and you can’t “fix” society, why are you lecturing them that they HAVE to stay alive? That sounds contradictory to me. And please let’s not insult each other with semantics. If you CAN help people, awesome. I don’t think anyone is against doing that. But for those you can’t help enough (jobs, money, housing…), it seems cruel not to give them the help they need but then guilt them into thinking they have to stick around to suffer more. And while bad circumstance MIGHT change, statisticians and university scholars have shown over and over again how low the probability of escaping lifelong poverty is. This is especially true for certain demographics, like the homeless and the elderly.

    Someone else said in this comment section that if you save someone’s life, then you should be responsible for it. I agree and think if this were an official policy there’d be FAR fewer people arguing suicide is always the wrong choice.

    • Lith says:

      Thank you so much for making this point and eloquently so. This is extremely well said and a vital, vital point to be made. It is my thinking, too.

      I literally feel I have zero places to look for “help.” Real help. Actual help. Because I have no money. And I can’t GET money like this or from here. I can’t “just” get help for myself, I would if I could. It is not even a matter of being brave enough to ask for help, even. (For some it is, I understand, I speak of my own circumstance). Tell who that I would want to kill myself? And why? What for? So they can stress about it? They can’t pay for my life. What help I do receive from those around me, I feel so guilty about. Bits of paper here and there that mean whether or not I can eat or buy necessities. In desperate and determined times, I have asked for sums a month for therapy. And I went, thinking maybe it WILL help me. It didn’t do more than I was already doing for myself, I found. (Though may have been more so helpful with just the right therapist while in a stable situation).

      Society only views me as a leech. I have that swirling around in my head all of the time. I am alive right now only because there are people who can provide for me in one way or another if truly needed. But how long will that last? And how much strain am I putting on them? Sometimes they themselves don’t even understand why it is I am where I am and that sentiment reverberates. I feel endlessly misunderstood and set aside and like a failure. A failure at living. Every day there is guilt and every day there is weight and every day there is another day to dread for I am not “on my own two feet.”

      I feel like a giant woman-baby who doesn’t want to be; who can speak, have complex thought, build meaningful things, so on… I hate that people view me as dependent on others because I don’t FEEL like that. I FEEL independent without the freedom to be. I would rather go wandering off myself and figure myself out, my life, all by myself. But I can’t. Go where? Do what? Police don’t want your face anywhere. People don’t want your face anywhere. If it isn’t shut behind concrete you paid for. It is complicated for some reason to have a talk about. In my experience, people don’t really have sympathy for not being able to “make it.” And, fine. Really. But… might I kill myself for my own sake? Yeah. And will people come to my funeral (or not) wondering “why”? Yeah.

      • Sheila says:

        Lith – wow, I really resonate with all of what you said. Especially:

        I literally feel I have zero places to look for “help.” Real help. Actual help. Because I have no money. And I can’t GET money like this or from here. I can’t “just” get help for myself, I would if I could. It is not even a matter of being brave enough to ask for help, even.
        I have asked for sums a month for therapy. And I went, thinking maybe it WILL help me. It didn’t do more than I was already doing for myself, I found.
        Sometimes they themselves don’t even understand why it is I am where I am and that sentiment reverberates.
        Every day there is guilt and every day there is weight and every day there is another day to dread for I am not “on my own two feet.”

        Wow – I’ve been there, thankfully to a lesser extreme that you are there. I now stay away from “help” because the money it costs makes my situation worse. I only do as well as I do because of financial supports. And I feel bad about any financial support I get because I’m a “black hole” – so the money is better used elsewhere to at least accomplish something constructive.

        I’m still in that situation, but to a lesser extreme than it was, because I moved to a better area for me (thankfully I received financial help to move)

        If you had enough consistent financial help, I’m confident you could get on your feet. And, you’d stay on your feet with a little help now and then. I hate that others don’t understand who have their act together.

        The best place that has helped me several times is Independent Living Services. They can’t do enough – but at least for me they always head in a direction for helping because they don’t even turn a person like me away. They are not prejudice for who to help (that I’ve ever come across) – and a lot of that has to do with that their funding is rigged by that the more people they help, the more funding they get.

        Sorry for talking so much about my situation. I’m not always the best listener because I do comparisons because that ‘s what I do to try to understand. I like it when people try to understand me, so I definitely try to understand others.

        I’m happy your’re living (coming from a person who hasn’t met you in person) even though it feels like you are “a failure at living.” Wow is that a true feeling for me, too. I do hope you’ll keep trying (and me, too – on some level I value life despite being a leech)

    • AnonymousAugust says:

      You’re right. There’s also the reason I’ve had which you have stated before. When you have no money to stay alive, such kind of thinking comes easily to our mind. And actually, God is the last which can help us. All we can do is to lean on God’s help.

      • Aiah Z says:

        It’s convenient for the suicide-is-always-wrong camp to ignore the physical prerequisites of survival and the wealth of data that survival is harder and harder for a growing segment of the population. Or maybe these pundits mean suicide is wrong for the right kind of people, those sufficiently valued by their communities and cultures that people are willing to act on their behalf to mitigate some of the economic and other insufficient survival resources causes of suicidal preoccupation. An acquaintance of mine and I tonight had a long conversation about fellow citizens who’re vehemently opposed to abortion for any reason and who’re equally opposed to end of life self determination but who then refuse to support any interventions designed to make life gentler for the struggling. They aren’t paying for–aren’t willing to pay for–others to stay alive but yet still they demand others stay alive. Hypocrisy much?

  25. Thea May says:

    Sheila, I apologise for saying your comments had upset me. I myself have previously been an advocate for suicide prevention especially from a political and Christian point of view. But I have learnt from a personal point of view that everyones circumstances are different and must be taken individually into consideration. People seem too keen to make generalizations on the matter. I see a very good councilor who knows me and my circumstances well, I am level headed, I know myself, I can make informed decisions and that is why I have decided to end my life than be homeless at my age with no resources or support. It is a very dangerous and hard place to be and I simply would not survive long. I have no family or loved ones to consider either. But by no means would I make that kind of judgement for anyone else who is homeless, as we are all different and have varying capacity for survival.

    • Sheila says:

      Thea May, thank you for your apology. I agree with you on this about suicide, “But I have learnt from a personal point of view that everyones circumstances are different and must be taken individually into consideration.”

      That is so true.

      Thank you for sharing the personal details of your situation.

      I still do not know what I said that upset you.

  26. Lifeisfun says:

    It’s really nice when you go to a mental hospital to seek help, only to find out that you can’t leave without permission (so much about “voluntary” commitment), you see a lot of nurses abusing patients and so on.Basically like a prison.
    Best 3 weeks of my life.

  27. Thea May says:

    Thank you Aiah Z for your post May 15 2019. I was upset after reading Sheila Bliss post but couldn’t put it into words as you have done. In particular addressing the issues around quality of life and stats on the number of people who actually go on to take their lives after an attempt, as a reference to the fact that an individual shouldn’t have responsibility for the decision to end their life if they choose. Maybe they don’t attempt so readily again because of the fear of another failure and the consequences that involves. The survival instinct is ingrained in all living beings and we learn to adjust to the most horrendous conditions, but that certainly does not equate to any quality of life or lack of regret, suffering and pain. Society, culture and environment have to a large extent controlled my life to where I will be homeless in the forseeable future, struggling to survive without anything to keep me going. I simply do not want to live that way and believe I have a right to make that decision to end it. No one sitting in the comfort of their home should have the right to tell me otherwise, yet society, culture and religion confirms the belief that we do have the right and power to dictate and control how others less fortunate live and end their lives, it never ends. Its a cruel punishment. Justice and fairness can only come when we address quality of life for each individual, but sadly that is not the world we live in.

    • Aiah Z says:

      @Thea May Thank you for being vulnerable in being so honest. You’re right that it’s a cruel, unjustifiable punishment both to create an admittedly competitive culture that values people based on their credentials, capacities, wealth, appearance, age and other characteristics they have little control over with the cost that if someone doesn’t sufficiently satisfy our culture’s wants and values they can be treated profoundly hurtfully in ways researchers already know can even be lethal, but yet both assert, hypocritically, that such a human life is valuable and prohibit the individual from choosing, instead, not to play the game our culture has devised. Researchers who study the effects of different kinds of cultures on the average citizen’s happiness or mental health have for decades published evidence that certain kinds of cultures minimize the risks for depression and other mental states related to suicide. But at least in the US, enough of us do not want such cultures so we vote against the kinds of protective changes empiricism shows to nurture mental health and decrease suicidal ideation. Psychologists and other mental health professionals, though I acknowledge their interests in helping people, haven’t provided tools that eliminate or substantially measurably decrease the very real, significant problems scholars know threaten mental health. Until we are willing or able to make these changes, these otherwise potentially beneficial tools available to many will remain little more than Bandaids. And, of course, none of this gets at the root questions of whether value is an objective thing we’re intellectually obligated to recognize or whether someone is “sick” for thinking about life differently from the majority.

      I wish there were something I could do to solve your situation. I really do.

    • Sheila says:

      Yeah, Thea May, I’m feeling upset after reading your post. You’ve no idea what I’ve gone through being carelessly left to make uninformed decisions, or what it was like for me when I was making decisions during a time I was of unsound judgement and didn’t realize it. You’ve no idea the times I was stupid and was saved from making an uniformed decision by someone giving me further information I didn’t know about, and then still got to make a decision myself – a different decision that had far better results/consequences than the original uniformed decision would have.

      You know, I NEVER said a suicidal person is incapable of making an informed decision with unimpaired judgement. Yet, you are throwing it in my face that I don’t matter, and I ought not be grateful to people who eventually recognized my judgement was impaired, and ought not be grateful to people for recognizing I was being stupid and offered me help for making an informed decision.

      You said, “Justice and fairness can only come when we address quality of life for each individual, but sadly that is not the world we live in.” I agree. So please do that rather than throwing me to the curbside saying I’ve upset you without any explanation as to how.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


        Unfortunately, those of us who advocate for suicide prevention expose ourselves to push-back and criticism. I understand. I question my own views, too, as I note in another comment to you on this page. The tensions between respecting a person’s self-determination and protecting imminently suicidal people are impossible to resolve; we can’t do both.

        I would like to gently encourage you not to take such push-back and criticism personally. It didn’t seem to me that Thea’s comment attacked you. I can’t speak for her, of course, so I’m speaking only to the impression her words left on me.

        I also want to say I’m glad that others helped you, Thea, and I’m grateful you’re still here. Thanks for sharing your story. I’m certain it helps some others out there who read it, even if they are unlikely to leave a comment saying so.

      • Sheila says:

        Dr. Stacey Freedenthal – Thank you for your kind words and balanced perspective.

        Yes, I do easily take things personally.

        I really like this that you explain in the other post to me:

        “Obviously, there’s a great deal of variation on the spectrum of suicidality and connection to reality. I don’t know of a solution that will please everyone. I just know that if someone who would otherwise want to live is on the verge of dying because of delirium, intoxication, or other forces, then I want others to have the ability to help protect them.”

        How to protect everyone (including rights what to do with your own life)? How to treat everyone ethically and with dignity?

        I also liked how you explained, “It also needs to be about helping to lessen the person’s misery. There are social forces (e.g., unemployment, homelessness, poverty) that increase suicide risk. Those need to be addressed, too!”

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Thanks for sharing your story here. I’m very sorry about your suffering. I agree with you that suicide prevention should not only be about keeping a miserable person alive. It also needs to be about helping to lessen the person’s misery. There are social forces (e.g., unemployment, homelessness, poverty) that increase suicide risk. Those need to be addressed, too!

      If you decide you do want help, I hope you will consider calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, texting 741-741, or using other resources listed here.

  28. Chad N says:


    It has been a while since I was on here. This I expect to be my last visit. I used to see this as an open forum with a healthy exchange of ideas. Now I’m seeing it as just a platform to propagate a pro life regardless of reality argument. I miss the old feeling. It actually helped me not feel alone and judged as much. I’m not sure what is different, if you’ve changed nothing then maybe it’s me.

    For my last go, here is my reason that suicide should be allowed.

    Can death be prevented entirely? If yes then great, regardless of the issue there is plenty of time to fix it, 100 years of hell is a small percentage of an infinite lifespan. If no then there have to be hopeless situations, 50 years of hell followed buy 1 min of not hell then dying as an example.

    I am reasonably sure that death is not preventable thus I argue that hopeless situations must exist.

    Assuming they do now the question is whom should have the say on the evaluation of what an individual is experiencing. Should it be someone with knowledge of the experiences or should it be someone that has no actual knowledge of them?

    I would argue that it should be the person with the most knowledge of the experiences of the individual in question. That person would of course be the person experiencing them because they have direct access to the information source. Unless there is some scientifically proven form of accurately reading a persons mind, everyone is really just guessing.

    Again, I am reasonably sure that nobody is out there reading minds so I will move forward with the evaluation is performed by the individual experiencing it.

    Now the question is who should get to decide what to do about the situation. Should it be someone that is directly effected by the decision or someone with no personal repercussion from the decision?

    I assert that someone without repercussions would be easily swayed by things like financial gain or individual ideology over what is actually best for the individual in question when compared to someone with a little skin in the game. For that not to be true would require a person on par with say Jesus and I would say that anyone claiming to be so should just fix the situation with their magic powers or be viewed as of questionable honesty.

    So. Hopeless situations do exist. The only person that really knows what someone is experiencing is that person. The best person to make a decision on what to do about those experiences is the one most effected by the decision.

    Therefore, should an individual decide they are in a hopeless situation they should be allowed to decide how they want to address it.

    I know that people will say they don’t see it as a hopeless situation…. that is fine but it isn’t your situation, it’s theirs.

    I know people will say that they disagree with the persons decision about how to deal with it… that is fine but it isn’t you that has the most repercussions from the decision, it is them.

    I know people will say they don’t like that the person is going to die…. that is fine but death is unavoidable for both of you.

    The only real difference is in the timing and the duration of suffering.

    That is my logical argument for not forcing another human being to suffer when they don’t want to. Aka, suicide should be legal. Although I do prefer euthanasia for humanitarian reasons.

    • Nodscene says:

      Chad, loved your post and it really is that simple. There shouldn’t even be a debate about this truth be told.

      I’m am adult and my life has been hell for 95% of it or more and has only gotten worse over the years and will continue to deteriorate. I want out and I want out NOW!

      How dare anyone be in a position to tell me that I can’t do this in a safe an effective manner instead of having to find questionable ways of doing it that may or may not end up badly.

      We will never be a civilized society until this gets fixed and it needs to be done now. Enough with the discussions and lollygagging (always wanted to use that word).

      I don’t care what anyone’s opinion is because they don’t matter. Sorry but that’s the truth. If you don’t like it then too bad.

      And for anyone who dares to say there is always hope or some such crap then they have zero clue on just how horrific life can be for some people.

      If you detect some anger in my tone then you’d be right. Especially here in Canada where the Supreme Court stated how they were to proceed which was perfect. Of course the law wasn’t implemented in the same way and now there are too many restrictions and for those that do qualify, they still run the risk of being denied.

      This is cruel and unusual punishment and why more people aren’t disgusted by what’s happened is beyond what I can comprehend.

      • Thea May says:

        Well said Nodscene. It angers me when people say there is always hope. It is simply a false statement that dismisses the serious despair that many people contemplating suicide find themselves in. Yes for some there is hope and all situations are different, but the reality is once someone is down in life and all odds are stacked against them, change doesn’t happen and hope brings nothing but even greater intolerable pain and despair. I personally would rather end my life than live on nothing but suffering and false hope, full of disappointments and regrets. If someone has no quality of life due to sickness, poverty etc why must they be inflicted with guilt and forced to stay alive just because of society’s expectations of what is right and wrong. It is like some form of cruel punishment by society that would not even be inflicted on a beloved pet.

    • Sheila Bliss says:

      Very logical response. Thank you! If only all the various suicide situations were that simple. Unfortunately, the person going through the suffering isn’t always the person who knows best what decision to make. Maybe never, but I doubt that, because logically it makes sense that person knows their own situation best. But that isn’t necessarily true. For example children who decide they don’t like a food before they even try it, being made to try it, only to find out they really LOVE that food. And why? Because the adult knew things about the child that the child didn’t know himself – if anything simply based on their own past experience with being a child. I don’t think any of us completely grow up – I’m 48 and I haven’t anyway (& I’ve taken a lot of advice from children even at my age, because sometimes they know better than me). Regardless, there’s a scientific model that
      1) there’s things about an individual that neither the individual or others know
      2) there’s things an individual knows about himself that others don’t know
      3) there’s things others know about an individual that the individual doesn’t know
      4) & there’s things about an individual that others and the individual both know about the individual
      Putting those categories into 4 quadrants, the more you know about yourself that others don’t know about you, the smaller the area that others know about you that you don’t know about yourself, etc.
      I think that equates into, the higher your intrapersonal & interpersonal intelligence; the more likely that you are most definitely the best person for deciding whether suicide is the right thing for you to do. Interpersonal intelligence is also so very important because of having really good insight into what others lives are like ought to help put really good solid accurate perspective on things.
      I think you do realize that there are suicide situations that seem afterward to starkly point to that if only the person had held out a little longer, life really would have gotten better. Fortunately that’s true for me, my depression wanes and ebbs. And, I realize I most definitely can’t accurately say that’s true for everyone, and it’s most definitely NOT true for everyone. But, we really don’t always know what’s best for ourselves. Think back to the 1st time you had stomach flu (most have had this experience). It gets so bad, you’re scared you’re going to die. Then it gets so bad, you wish you would die. Then it goes away and it’s all better. And, you think wow! But, in reality, there’s different variations on this. Some people really do die. Some get it and aren’t scared and think “oh good, maybe I’ll die” – etc. But my first description is the most common experience most people can relate with.
      But, I am one of those people that I realize there’s a good amount of the time that I really don’t know what’s best for myself – and sometimes I’ll try out another person’s hunch, most often finding out the other person was right when I give their opinion a try. But regardless, I’m still the person who has to decide what direction to go – unless someone stops me from doing what I want to. That happens, too, for better and for worse.
      Anyway, I don’t think suicide as a whole is a simple thing. But, that likely there’s situations of suicide that KISS most definitely works – whether it be the perspective of the person doing the suicide, or the perspective of others happening to know better for that specific person and stopping it. I do think both situations happen
      1) the suicide person knows better
      2) the people who stopped the suicide person happened to actually know better
      I believe that because it’s true for other situations in life. And, and I think all of life situations are a microcosm or macrocosm for all other life situations.
      And, then of course there’s happening to do the “right thing” for all the wrong reasons, and dumb luck.

      • Nodscene says:

        This is kind of my whole point, it can be worked into the system and is essentially why the “system” part is there. It’s to determine whether someone truly has a quality of life that would allow for them to be humanely put down (I used that term deliberately because as least our beloved pets have this option and is practiced extensively).

        Come to think of it, why can’t we just use the same system vets use to determine which animals get put down. Sure we will have to modify it a bit but we already have accepted standards on how much suffering and sadness an animal has to be in before they are put to sleep.

        It may sound simplistic but that’s always the best place to start. Then add the least amount of safeguards necessary so you can prevent the wrong people (be it patient, family or doctor) from abusing this system.

        Most importantly, you need at least 51% of the people making the laws, stipulations, and final decision to be someone who has long term chronic illness (pain and/or mental etc) to have the deciding vote as they are the ones who actually know what they are talking about when it comes to this issue.

        No one who hasn’t a clue what long term, life ruining illness (of whatever kind) does to a person just doesn’t have the right qualifications. Simple as that. We don’t have art teachers running advanced calculus classes at our Universities/Colleges for a reason and I’m sure you can figure out why 🙂 Actually if you think about it that would cause way more deaths than this law would….with buildings falling down, planes crashing etc haha.

        As it stands in Canada at least, you must be dying in the foreseeable future to qualify for MAID. I believe about 20% or more of patients die before even getting accepted. Around 20%-30% are rejected leaving only approx 50% of the people who apply (and should qualify) able to take advantage of this supposedly compassionate law while denying it to a much wider group of people who arguably need it more. Their suffering (which can be as bad or worse) has no time limit and are forced to suffer for decades upon decades of excruciating pain and zero quality of life (unable to socialize, keep pets or be able to enjoy anything in life at all).

        Sorry, but I’d happily take cancer or any disease that will kill me in 6 months or so no matter how bad (at least doctors are understanding and compassionate at that point) the symptoms are. And yes, I’ve helped take care of my mom as she stayed home instead of a hospital while dying of cancer so I know what I’m talking about. She had a way better quality of life than I’ve had up until she was bedridden for the last week or two of her life. That would be a big step up and a relief if I were to “suffer” from the same fate. Sadly I’m not so lucky and neither are a lot of people.

        So do you think our current laws are actually all that humane or are they just enacting whatever they could to placate the masses and not actually help the majority of the people who need this service?

      • Aiah says:

        @Shiela Bliss There are two types of “know what is best” scenarios, it seems to me. One concerns facts. What kind of fuel is best for my car to get the best mileage or pollute the least? Another concerns value judgments. What kind of life is best (for me) to lead? The latter depends on the individual. Just because most of us might agree on what is “the best life” doesn’t make our agreement a fact. This is the problem with much of the modern social “sciences”–that they draw value conclusions based not on facts but instead feelings and then allude to these feelings-values as if they were objective facts.

        Those who argue end of life decision-making ought to remain the prerogative of the individual are right because without showing some objectively correct value judgment (like living life this way is “correct” but living it that way is “incorrect”), there are only opinions and perspectives. The role of the government, and its various authorities, should be to prevent individuals harming other individuals while preserving each individual’s freedom to live–or not–as they see fit.

        Modern medicine has finally come to realize that we physicians aren’t entitled to make decisions FOR our patients. We’re merely technicians, experts in health process. Patients are experts in evaluating what is “best” for them. The gold standard of modern medicine is for patients to remain the captains of their healthcare ships. The same ought to apply to end-of-life decision-making, at least for legal adults. Thankfully, more and more medical doctors and other clinicians are coming to this conclusion. We don’t baby adults when they’re signing life-altering contracts, deciding whether or not to use prophylactics during intimacy, or making any number of other potentially catastrophic decisions the rest of us disagree with. That is the essence of personal freedom. You decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me, regardless others’ feelings on the matter.

      • Sheila says:

        Aiah – I definitely agree with you that the majority most definitely is NOT always right. Beyond that we do have laws that are for safety’s sake – even for safety of the individual for the sake of at least making an informed decision. Such as making clear to everyone that huffing is illegal and so it ought to be a no-brainer that it’s dangerous. But something straight out infringing on freedom such as Iowa law that homeopathies are illegal except by like 5 homeopaths hand-picked by the state for the sake of so that people are not poorly spending their money on homeopathy which the state admits is SAFE to use (https://medicalboard.iowa.gov/policy-statement-homeopathy) – those kinds of laws really infringe on freedom. As the article says, “Consider that 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide.” Obviously it seems that perhaps 90% of the people who were successful may have changed their mind had they not succeeded. That 90% are going on feelings instead of facts. And, facts according to the article are:
        1) “His experience is one of many (including my own story) that illustrates that the wish to die is fluid.”
        2) “It comes and goes to varying degrees.”
        3) “A great many people who are saved from suicide are thankful, sooner or later, to be alive.”
        That 90% is a HUGE percentage to consider to not make it illegal for the sake of saving the 90% who are NOT making informed decisions. If the drunk drivers statistic MAGICALLY happened to be that they never ended up killing another person, but always only themselves, would it be ok to let them drive because they THINK they are making an informed decision when they most certainly are NOT due to their scientifically verified impaired judgment? No, it would not be ethical to let them drive. I’m not saying all suicides are done under impaired judgement. Maybe they are, but I doubt it. I am saying that it’s looking like 90% are done under impaired judgement. Of course that number may not be accurate in comparison to the successful suicides because perhaps a high percentage of successful suicides are done by people who definitely NEVER would have quit or changed their mind. But, consider in the article that suicide prevention advocate Kevin Hines chose a way that looked like a higher success rate than shooting oneself through the head, and changed his mind AFTER the deed was in progress, somehow survived, and became a part of the 90% statistic who NEVER die by suicide (considering that he’s seemed to make clear he won’t attempt suicide again). As a society, we really do things for each other in attempt to protect each other from being stupid. For instance, even credit cards are held within bounds of helping people make informed decisions. But, suicide is far more comparable to having laws against huffing, etc – not as comparable to people making catastrophic decisions that actually often there is legal means for against the scammer – but not always. Regardless, suicide is not a good comparison with that. Unfortunately, it’s not so simple as you put it, “You decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me, regardless others’ feelings on the matter” because as you’ve described, it’s important to go by facts and not feelings. And, stats are showing that suicide people are going by their feelings over facts. I doubt all suicide people are going by their feelings over facts, but it’s looking like 90% are doing it.

      • Aiah Z says:

        @Shiela Bliss

        I can’t find a way to reply to your last comment to me so I’m replying to your original comment, Shiela. Thanks for the chance to dialog.

        I’m just concerning laws proscribing suicide. Other laws, citizens will have to consider for themselves whether they want the laws or not. History is full of absurd, abusive laws. My contention is against the assumption that life MUST have value. No scientist, physician, or philosopher has ever offered any objective evidence that any value lies outside people’s minds, let alone that life has “value.” That’s not a trivial statement. If we cannot demonstrate rigorously that life has value, then we can’t say someone is “crazy” because they feel about life differently than the rest of us do. I might be crazy because I believe helium is a heavier gas than air at normal conditions. You can prove to me I’m wrong and therefore you have a reason to prohibit me from acting on my wrong belief (assuming it affects others, like engineering a product). The same can’t be said for a belief about life having/not having value. So controlling people as they seek to manage their own lives, not others’ lives, on this matter amounts to trying to control others’ minds and private actions. Sadly, humanity doesn’t seem to have learned how heinous this is even after millennia of crimes the attempt to control others’ private feelings and beliefs has enabled.

        As for the article’s statistic about the percent of people who attempt suicide not going on to die from suicide, the inferential flaw in the argument should be obvious. Unless you can follow all your patients until their deaths, you can’t accurately assert what percent didn’t die from suicide, especially since as in many other medical studies many subjects will likely be lost to distant follow up. Moreover, not committing suicide is not at all the same as being content being alive. There are outstanding patient interviews of those suffering from suicidal ideation over the long term (5, 10+ years) that bear this out, not to mention very many of the published public comments on sites like this one. There may be even more evidence sites won’t publish for legal liability reasons. Also, there are likely evolutionary reasons inhibiting suicide. This doesn’t argue that choosing not to commit suicide means one is remotely content with one’s life or that one is “better off.” More, just because the overwhelming majority of us subscribe to an ideology (religion…) or identity (gender…) does’t justify prohibiting alternative ideologies or identities.

        With respect, I reject the assertion that the article (above) provides “facts.” It presents the worldview of a professional–albeit a common one. I mean no disregard to Stacey, but merely mentioning a statistic does not prove an argument. Yes, it is as simple as you decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me where our private bodies and our values are concerned. That is, again, what freedom is largely about–in the personal realm. And there’s little that’s more personal than an individual’s assessment of life value. Of course, if someone feels that religious or psychological … counseling and the tools these provide for life management are beneficial to them, it’s great they have something they find helpful. But it’s quite another matter to impose values and worldviews on others as legal mandates over what others are free to do with our own bodies where there is no one else is in imminent danger. That is a return to a proto-religious state in which people had better act and think as others see fit or else.

        When the clinical world finally provides hard biomedical proof that neurological disease causes “mental illness” and when the scientific world determines that certain values are objectively true (like the value that life is good), then there’ll be good reason to reconsider my perspective. Until then, I see no good reason that an individual must believe, reason, and act (on his or her own body only) in ways anyone else believes to be right.

      • Sheila says:

        Hi Aiah – Thank you also for the chance to dialog. I still believe suicide is not as simple as,you put as “… you decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me where our private bodies and our values are concerned.” And, it does do harm to other people via suicide contagion. While suicide contagion is called a phenomenon, and whether it exists is controversial; it seems pretty obvious to me that it’s as simple as “monkey see, monkey do.” Wisdom of people pre-television came up with that one. And, some people are more prone to this “phenomenon” than others. My kid can’t do violent video games – not even boxing on Wii Fit – because he WILL copy them. To me, suicide contagion is a no-brainer to be true.

        Sorry I think I got off track a bit. The hugest reason I think suicide isn’t as simple as you describe is that people deserve to make informed decisions when making life changing decisions such as suicide is really life changing. A close 2nd reason I have is that people deserve to make life changing decisions when their judgement isn’t impaired. Regardless of actual percentage that this is a problem for suicidal people (it’s higher than 0%, that much is obvious) I really think informed decisions and unimpaired judgement are crucial. And, people deserve to be stopped when they don’t realize they are being stupid. Of course “deserve” doesn’t mean they are going to get it – but it does mean it’s not a bad thing for a person to be stopped when truly they are doing something they would otherwise realize is stupid. And I hope we both understand that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to recognize stupid. For the person being stupid – in general it’s the hindsight that’s 20-20. And, onlookers often recognize it for what it is (it’s stupid, and I’m talking about anything stupid) with 20-20 foresight. I appreciate being stopped from doing something stupid. “Do unto others as you would want done unto you” is an adage that really does seem to work in general – unless you hate yourself, and therefore want to do mean things to yourself – then it’s not so cool to do that to others. Then at least pretending “if Jesus were real” works past that problem with “Love others as I have loved you” as long as you are not messing around with trying to purposely interpret that into some sort of unloving way.

        I’ll try KISS with that – keep it so simple. While seeing the clinical world finally provide hard biomedical proof that neurological disease causes “mental illness” – might be impressive; I think simply combating stupid is more effective and easier to understand. Mental illness or not, stupid is harmful stuff and it happens to everyone. Again, that’s why I think people actually making informed decisions under conditions in which their judgement isn’t impaired is the very best way to combat stupid, and it’s being ethical with people. It really isn’t ethical to let people willy nilly go around committing suicide – it’s ethical to care that people make informed decisions while judgement is unimpaired.

        Value of life … Yeah, I went to some infinitely smart person to figure that one out. “God loves me, and He most definitely has a good reason for it or He wouldn’t love me. And, it doesn’t matter what that reason is because I know He is right, and I’m not one in comparison to Him to argue otherwise.”

        That’s got to sound really lame to non-Christians, or religions with a God that’s not loving like the one I described. But, there is a way that likely makes sense to man, too. Life, if it has no meaning, then no harm in living it out. Sure, no harm in offing yourself, esp. for a seemingly good reason such as suffering – but really for any reason if there is no meaning. But, also no harm in letting yourself suffer – really really really suffer. Since life has no meaning, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by dying either – ending suffering would be as utterly meaningless as the suffering itself.

        So then there’s the lame reasoning people sometimes use for believing in God. If God’s real, it’s a good thing to believe in Him. And, if He’s not real, you didn’t do yourself any harm for believing He is real. But, if God is real, and you believe He is not, there could be dire consequences for not believing He’s real – so you’re better off believing God is real – just in case.

        As lame as that is it can also be applied to the value of life. If it’s of no value – it doesn’t matter what you do with it. Suffer – don’t suffer – whatever. But, if it DOES have value, it’s of value to treat it as though it’s valuable. So if it does have value, it’s likely better to suffer whatever it is you are going through to wherever it leads to – even if it leads to death that isn’t suicide. So, if life were to have no value, no harm living as though it does have value. But if you live life as though it has no value, and it turns out that it really does – it’s a HUGE truth to miss out on. And, as lame as all that reasoning is, it’s still worth considering – whether life has value or not. Well I suppose not worth considering if life has no value – cuz in that case, nothing is worth considering. In which case, you may as well consider it anyway since it doesn’t matter.

        I do know of a person who was going to kill himself, but stuck around to answer the question, “why is the world such a bad place?” (His question was something like that). Over time, that somehow led to him living every day in joy. He now is a Spring Forest Qigong Grandmaster in Minnesota (he was originally from China – and lived through the cultural revolution). That’s what worked for him anyway – for not being suicidal anymore.

      • Aiah Z says:

        @Sheila Bliss

        Thanks for being honest in sharing your worldview justifications, Sheila. As it’s apparent now that your justifications for your stance against others’ freedoms to decide about our own private lives are fundamentally values-based, including religious, there doesn’t remain room for further discussion because there is no natural reason people must share the same values, especially in regards to our private lives. For reasons others have already elegantly asserted, I reject the claim that an individual has an obligation to act on their personal life in a way that minimizes others’ emotional discomfort. That assertion is blatantly false in nearly every other aspect of modern culture. Otherwise, we’d prohibit things like no-fault divorce which the majority of US states recognize. Divorce, by the way, researchers find to be among the top three determinants of worsening mental health.

        I respect your prerogative to feel about life what you do and if religion provides you meaning and peace, I’m sincerely happy for you. As we are not a country the legal policies of which are, at least ostensibly, based on religion, it’s justifiable as regards policy all 350+ million US citizens are legally bound by the expectation citizens have that policy be based on hard, reproducible, empirically sound, objective science. Your response and others like it, while I respect again the content is meaningful to you, doesn’t answer the questions of (1) the biological causation (not association) of mental states some therapists call “illness” as medical and legal justification for prohibiting people suffering from these assumed illnesses from acting on their own bodies, and (2) the objective evidence that value in general, and life value in particular, are real things outside human beliefs and values such that everyone on the planet ought to be intellectually obliged to respect claims about life value (that it is good/better to be alive). Without answering these questions, there remains no necessary reason any adult who concludes they don’t want to be alive MUST be forced to stay alive.

        I respect you don’t feel suicide is as simple as that. That’s your prerogative. The real question, though, is whether the reasons for this belief are sufficiently rigorous that the rest of us should feel the same. Respectfully, I don’t think the reasons are remotely rigorous enough and, as people keep demonstrating more and more year after year, many of us don’t feel the same.

        I’ll leave off here as, without addressing my two questions above, at least, there’s little point in continuing. Best wishes to you.

      • Sheila says:

        Aiah – Thank you for trying to understand what I was trying to explain. Sorry you didn’t get it.

        You said, “As it’s apparent now that your justifications for your stance against others’ freedoms to decide about our own private lives are fundamentally values-based, including religious, there doesn’t remain room for further discussion because there is no natural reason people must share the same values, especially in regards to our private lives.”

        I disagree that just because decisions people make in life are fundamentally values-based, including religious; that somehow means people must share the same values, especially in regards to our private lives. That doesn’t make sense to me, and I disagree that it’s true. People’s religious beliefs and values vary greatly. But, I’m all for informed decisions and unimpaired judgement. That’s what matters – and is there any person who does not want to make informed decisions for themselves when their judgement isn’t impaired? I guess it’s not unimaginable.

        I did answer your questions about the value of life. It’s not a hard thing.
        I’m seeing what you are looking for is that policy, “… be based on hard, reproducible, empirically sound, objective science.”
        I can respect your value in that, but it’s not something that impresses me. I value starting somewhere, and improving as I go – like how the Japanese came out with eventually fantastic cars.

        Also, I’m more impressed by intuition than analysis. Based on the science of intuition, analysis never catches the whole of what’s real.

        I see you said, “Without answering these questions, there remains no necessary reason any adult who concludes they don’t want to be alive MUST be forced to stay alive.”
        Why are you saying “adult”? What difference does it make what age you are?

        You also said, “I respect you don’t feel suicide is as simple as that. That’s your prerogative. The real question, though, is whether the reasons for this belief are sufficiently rigorous that the rest of us should feel the same. Respectfully, I don’t think the reasons are remotely rigorous enough and, as people keep demonstrating more and more year after year, many of us don’t feel the same.”

        Um, actually yes my statement that suicide isn’t as simple as you described as, “You decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me, regardless others’ feelings on the matter” is sufficiently backed by reasons abundantly rigorous enough; certainly in comparison to the evidence you presented to the contrary that, “as people keep demonstrating more and more year after year, many of us don’t feel the same.”
        Since you made the criteria for being rigorous enough to be feelings, all I need to find is abundantly rigorous evidence that SOMEBODY who’s been through suicide situation feels that it’s NOT as simple as, “You decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me, regardless others’ feelings on the matter.” Just one person, and I’ve proved it’s not as simple as that. Of course that doesn’t mean that NOBODY has it as simple as that. But, all I’m showing beyond the shadow of a doubt, is based on the undeniable rigorous reason, that it’s not as simple as that for everyone; is one or more people who’ve personally done the suicide situation to feel that it’s not as simple as that.
        1) Me
        2) The author of the article

        And here’s an obvious. You’ve not got it figured out whether life has value or not. That in and of by itself complicates things to be that your statement, “You decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me, regardless others’ feelings on the matter” is not an accurate reflection that suicide is as simple as that for ANYONE let alone EVERYONE.

        But, I am of the belief that it is as simple as that for some. Again, my core issues being that the person is of unimpaired judgement and making an informed decision.

        How do you feel about all the people who thank other people from stopping them from successfully committing suicide? Are they proof it’s not as simple as that, or are they all lying about being grateful? Or, did they not deserve to be saved?

        Yes, that’s enough for the rest of you to realize, it’s not as simple as “You decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me, regardless others’ feelings on the matter.” But, that is NOT enough say it’s NEVER as simple as that. It’s enough to say it’s not as simple as that for one or more.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          You make excellent points, and you are one of the few readers of this site who takes the time to advocate for suicide prevention. I thank you for sharing your views, especially since it entails opening yourself up to criticism from others. You’ve helped me to feel a little less lonely here. 🙂

          That said, many people who advocate for non-intervention with suicidal people also make good points. As I describe in another post, they have stretched my thinking.

          I do struggle with the government’s ability to deprive someone of their civil rights for the person’s own protection, especially since this protection a) isn’t always effective (some people die by suicide in psychiatric hospitals), b) can deter people from ever seeking help again, c) can lead to hospitalization-related PTSD, and d) can result in the person being billed tens of thousands of dollars for a service they might have abhorred.

          BUT where I struggle most is with the situation you describe: a person who clearly is not in their “right” state of mind and is grateful, when they are themselves again, to have been protected. For example, if somebody is delirious with 105-degree fever, or overcome with profound and sudden grief, or high on meth, or hearing command hallucinations telling them they will be punished if they don’t act on their suicidal thoughts, then doesn’t that person deserve care? Are people who love that person supposed to just sit by and watch as the person acts to end their life? That not only hurts the suicidal person. It also hurts the bystanders.

          Obviously, there’s a great deal of variation on the spectrum of suicidality and connection to reality. I don’t know of a solution that will please everyone. I just know that if someone who would otherwise want to live is on the verge of dying because of delirium, intoxication, or other forces, then I want others to have the ability to help protect them.

      • Nodscene says:

        Stacey, I’m sorry but this is the kind of reply that I find rediculous. I really hate to say it so bluntly but do you truly believe that when we have a system in place where euthanasia is available to everyone (especially mental illness) that they would allow such a person in your example to actually be approved? That you can just walk in like a fast food place and end your life no questions asked? Seriously?!?

        I’m sorry but it’s this kind of “thinking” that is really upsetting and frankly terribly misleading on how the process would actually function. Do you truly believe that once we have a system in place like those in the Nordic countries that you could just walk in and be euthanized without any checks and balances in place?

        It blows my mind that people actually think it’s going to be that easy where anyone under any circumstance can just get this done and no one will ask any questions or make sure that a person actually has a good reason to end their life.

        If I can ask you and/or anyone else who is opposed to this because they are afraid that we are going to be killing people just because they ask for it to put some real consideration into how this will actually play out.

        There will be an in depth and peer reviewed system to prevent exactly what you are so concerned about. How can people not believe that this will be how things will work? It just blows my mind how someone can actually come to this conclusion. You are playing on people’s fears plain and simple.

        I’m really trying to keep this as civil as possible but I’m having a really hard time to be honest. I’m hearing people on here who really aren’t using any logic whatsoever and worst of all, have the audacity to think that they magically know what’s best for someone who is suffering more than that person themselves. It’s kind of frightening.

        Now I’m all for certain restrictions, especially for specific mental illnesses and moreso when it comes to age.

        In some of these circumstances there should be a minimum requirement (depending on the situation I’d seriously consider a minimum of 2-5 years of treatment before being able to even apply) in regards to seeing a mental health professional and using medications to give them the best chance at improving their life.

        I truly thought this would be obvious to anyone who spent 5 minutes considering how this would be implemented. But maybe they have and there is an alterior motive to what they are saying. Like trying to push their ideology/religious beliefs but wanting to hide that fact. Who knows and frankly it doesn’t matter. This isn’t about you but the person suffering and what’s best for them.

        I truly beg everyone to think about what was their worst day they ever had both physically and/or mentally…then multiply that by 2 (at least) and then have that be every second of every day of your life. And no, even sleep doesn’t provide a true escape. You dream about pain, you wake up in pain (even after only a few hours after falling asleep)…this is true hell and there is no possible way you can even begin to understand.

        Anyone with an ounce of empathy should be appalled with the state things are in right now. And I don’t understand why people aren’t, and worst of all why people are against it.

        Sometimes I wish I could have someone feel what it’s like for a day, or even week but even then you can’t grasp the toll it takes as the months and years pass by. It truly saddens me that this is even being debated. This needs to be a law right now…simple as that. Just don’t forget that there will be safeguards in place to ensure that it will only be for people that truly require this compassionate act. Because this is precisely what it’s meant to be… compassionate.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          We are talking about different things.

          You are talking about euthanasia, which is not suicide. Euthanasia is where somebody else ends the person’s life. Perhaps you also are referring to assisted suicide, where people can legally obtain a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of ending their life. Can you point out where, in the comments thread to which I was responding, anybody spelled out the system you describe in your comment? I don’t recall that being described, but I might have missed it.

          In any case, my comments pertain to the argument that there shouldn’t be intervention (especially involuntary hospitalization), when somebody is suicidal. That is where I struggle. I see many grave injustices that occur with involuntary hospitalization and other interventions to stop somebody from dying by suicide. I do not resort to involuntary hospitalization with clients unless the person is clearly at imminent risk for suicide (which is to say, only a couple times in 20+ years of practice). Yet, as I said earlier, I also want recourse to be available for people who are in an acute, intense state of suicide risk and who would want protection if they were in a better state of mind. (Note that I’m not saying everybody would want protection.)

          The systems of euthanasia you’re referring to above, as well as physician-assisted suicide, are another matter entirely for me. I have made clear in other posts on this site that I support the right to physician-assisted suicide in cases of terminal illness. Though there are compelling arguments for permitting other types of assisted suicide, I can’t bring myself to support other cases of assisted suicide. That would require my believing that somebody’s situation is hopeless, and I am not omniscient. I cannot know that somebody’s situation is hopeless.

          I can’t know that someone’s situation isn’t hopeless, either. But if I’m going to be wrong, I’d rather err on the side of hope.

      • Nodscene says:

        I’m honestly shocked and saddened by your comments. And frankly it’s easy for you to say you don’t believe in doctor assisted death unless the person is terminally ill when you have no clue what kind of suffering people go through on a day by day basis. I can guarantee you that if you were in my position (and so many others who are worse of than I) you would change your mind in a heartbeat. I urge you to visit some chronic pain forums and see just how bad some people’s lives are.

        You can deny it all you want but you honestly don’t have a clue as to what true suffering people are going through. And until you’ve experienced the constant, life altering pain, lack of sleep, lonelyness, anger, isolation and lack of anything that can even remotely be construed as quality of life then I don’t feel you are qualified to be so firm on your position.

        Do you have any idea what it’s like to lose everything including friends, not being able to eat anything other than microwaved meals (with paper plates and plastic utensils) because cooking or even washing a couple dishes can cause excruciating pain. Not even being able to take care of a pet to have any sort of companionship, love or affection in your life.

        I pray for cancer every day (and I’m an atheist) or some other disease that will kill me sooner rather than later (at least I’d qualify for doctor assisted death). But in all honesty that doesn’t matter because I like so many others have to take matters into my own hands (at the risk of failing with unintended consequences that can make things even worse).

        I think this will be my last post as there is obviously no point in trying to explain further as people like you think hope is going to be some miracle that’s going to change the unchangeable (spinal issues etc etc that can’t be fixed and will only get worse over time). There really is such a thing as not having any hope for things to get better even if you don’t have a life threatening illness.

        I’ve always given people the benefit of the doubt and even though I’ve been let down way more than otherwise, I still let each person prove what kind of person they are from their own actions (or inactions as the case may be). Now I can see what kind of human you are.

        You deal professionally with people who have mental illnesses and for the most part they can get better. But that is only a small percentage of people who truly need their misery to end. If you truly can’t see how necessary this is for certain people then there are no words that I can write that will change your mind.

        Just know that it’s people like you who are directly contributing to the unbearable suffering of people where in any form of a compassionate society, this would not only have been implemented ages ago but anyone who would willfully force these people to stay alive would be considered inhumane at best.

        I know these are strong words and I’d be surprised if you actually allowed this but these are beyond dire circumstances for us and all we get in return is disbelief, treated as drug seekers, turned in parish’s to the point where doctors are actively refusing to take any patients with any sort of pain issues. As an example, I have to drive 8hrs every 2 months to see my doctor who I’ve had for 15 years because there is not a single doctor in my city who will take me as a patient even though I have legitimate chronic pain (amongst other health issues). And no, you cannot imagine how “fun” of a ride that is for me.

        I completely understand your point when it comes to mental illness. As for any comments about the so called “system” and where it’s been described…well that’s my whole point. People are jumping to conclusions and making up ludicrous scenarios as some sort of proof that if we were to allow doctor assisted death then anyone with a short term mental breakdown and is highly suicidal will be allowed to die if we were to implement the law which allows for non-life threatening illnesses. There are plenty of these being brought up by people as examples of why this shouldn’t be allowed when honestly they make no sense and would never make it through whatever system would be put in place.

        I’ll also admit that I have interchanged terms where I should have been more specific in reference to doctor assisted suicide. Sorry but my brain has a hard time writing down exactly what I wish to say but I figured it would be obvious to anyone reading what I’m saying. I honestly think you are pointing out these inconsistencies as a distraction from the main point of what I’m saying or trying to undermine what I’ve written…and you’ve done a great job everytime you’ve replied to me. Very clever.

        You also don’t need to be omniscient to know when a person’s situation is hopeless when it comes to matters outside of the mental health realm. Saying otherwise is a pure cop-out… especially of someone with your education. Anyone can see through that and it’s a bit rediculous stating as much don’t you think? Can you really not think of any scenario where doctors can’t help someone with intractable pain due to injuries, deformation, degeneration etc?

        Ask yourself, is this really the kind of society you want? I’ll say one thing, you can tell a lot about humans by how they treat the sickest and most vulnerable amongst us. And from where I’m standing it’s truly a disgusting sight.

        As a final word I do have to give you a lot of credit for having this topic open for people to discuss and even moreso that you reopened the comments after you turned them off for a time. I can understand how that must have been a very difficult decision to make and I’m happy you made the right choice. Obviously everyone will have their own opinion and they will range from one end of the spectrum to the other. But at least there is a place for discussion and that is truly important.

        Take care,

        David W.

      • Aiah Z says:


        Just to be clear, it is my position, and I believe it’s a logically defensible one, that if someone claims that suicide is never justifiable or that there is no such thing as rational suicide–and this without hard evidence to corroborate that claim–then, yes, expecting everyone to subscribe to the suicide-is-always-wrong belief equates to expecting others to hold the same value, namely that human life is so precious the owner of a life cannot rationally decide to discard it. Without corroborating objective evidence, this is a value/belief and one the prevailing clinical and popular sentiments expect everyone else to subscribe to.

        Respectfully, neither you nor anyone else has answered my question about objective life value. What others have offered is their beliefs, not objective arguments. Yes, I do personally value policy that’s based on hard, objective evidence as justification for prohibiting personal freedom. I don’t relish being told I can’t make personal choices because of others’ values and feelings. But I’m willing to circumscribe my personal freedoms when rigorous evidence can be provided that certain of my free choices would be immediately harmful to others.

        I’m not trying to “impress” anyone. I’m asking for objective evidence that value exists outside feelings and beliefs. No one has ever provided anything remotely akin to such evidence despite their assumptions that life value exists. In how I manage my private life, I ought to be free to ignore others’ beliefs until such time as there is good evidence to support their beliefs as factual.

        I respect that intuition impresses you. I recognize that, part of humanity’s evolutionary heritage, what we call intuition has helped us make sense of the world. But many psychology publications show that what we call intuition is very often biased according to cognitive errors our species is inclined to make–like our tendency to assume things we feel strongly about are more prevalent than they in fact are.

        I respectfully reject the broad, liberal ascription of “science of intuition” to the work of psychologists like UNSW’s Joel Pearson. Regarding the claim that “analysis never catches the whole of what’s real,” this is a general truism. None of us ever “catches the whole of what’s real.” But some have better demonstrable claims to “what’s real.” Moreover, the lack of certainty about “what’s real” doesn’t justify unilaterally prohibiting personal autonomy.

        I used the word “adult” because in this context the word “individual,” minors inclusive, tends to elicit a knee-jerk and violent dismissal or even calls for censorship of an entire argument.

        As for, “Um, actually yes my statement that suicide isn’t as simple as you described as, ‘You decide what’s best for you and I’ll decide what’s best for me, regardless others’ feelings on the matter’ is sufficiently backed by reasons abundantly rigorous enough…” I have never argued suicide is simple for “everyone” or that the decisions surrounding suicide are generally simple. I am arguing that as far as my body and personal thoughts and private life are concerned, my self ownership is paramount. I do not recognize anyone else as having a greater claim to my body or my mind than I do such that the other is entitled to coerce me to act as I do not wish in my private life. And I am confident that I am lucid enough to make this kind of decision for myself. I also believe this is true of at least some others.

        As for what is “obvious,” I don’t think it is meaningful to assert that someone hasn’t (yet) gotten it figured out if life has value or not any more than it is that someone hasn’t yet figured out if god(s) exist(s) or not. The lack of certainty about things many believe in but haven’t provided objective evidence of doesn’t oblige others to act as if these thing were factually true or even may be true. There is no good evidence to me that life value exists. But there is tremendous evidence, despite the common attestations about life value, from prevalent human behavior that what we value and how we value things are dependent on individual and cultural disposition as well as biology we share with many other species.

        I agree with this: “But, I am of the belief that it is as simple as that for some. Again, my core issues being that the person is of unimpaired judgement and making an informed decision.”

        I have never read among the comments here or on other forums like this one a serious argument that every suicidal person should be provided means to end their life. As @Nodscene (May 20, 2019) recently above me expressed, the strong argument is that suicide can indeed be a rational choice. The contention lies with the claim that suicide can never be a rational choice and the assertion that everyone who is suicidal is “mentally ill” and, therefore, should be restrained and treated against their will.

      • Mark S. says:

        Sadly, I am in full agreement with Nodscene’s last reply in this chain of comments. There is no doubt in my mind that Dr. Freedenthal has good intentions in mind. Unfortunately, this is one of those cases that bring to mind the saying “God save us from people who mean well” and similar adages.

    • Aiah says:

      Chad, I agree with you. Because, otherwise, one’s argument for forcing other adults to act the way one wants amounts to coercion based ultimately on feelings (personal, cultural…) woefully inconsistent with other cultural values like personal responsibility and freedom. It’s very telling, for example, that we don’t intervene when people are making poor financial decisions or signing contracts that are very likely to hurt them gravely.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Thanks for sharing your views. Your impression that the page has changed is likely a reflection of a change in stance that I described in my post, In Defense of Suicide Prevention.

      As I state in that post, my aim in starting this website was not to provide a forum to people who present suicide as a solution, or who oppose intervention with imminently suicidal individuals, or who advocate for providing lethal means to individuals who want to die by suicide, or who otherwise oppose suicide prevention.

      Unfortunately, many comments submitted here do at least one of the above. So I’m being more judicious about the comments I approve. The site’s Comments Policy describes comments that won’t be published here. Those guidelines are subject to change.

      I do want to clarify something. You said suicide “should be legal.” Suicide is legal in the U.S. and in almost all other countries. Except for some obscure, very rarely enforced laws in the U.S., suicide attempts are legal, too. What’s not legal, in most states, is assisted suicide.

      I’m sorry if the site no longer helps you. Perhaps the Chronic Suicide Support Forum would be a good site to try, or one of the Reddit forums on suicide.

  29. T says:

    Most people think that as long as you are still breathing and not dead everything is great no matter what your current circumstances are and must be greatful that you are still alive. The belief in pro life is pretty high for live adults, I suppose lol.

    When people try to prevent suicide it is really about them and how they feel about the person dying and not about the person committing suicide. This also activates the hero / savior complex in some people and they gain personal satisfaction from saving the person. So the person has been saved so now what?? Misery is just prolonged. Many people have practical reasons for wanting to end their life other than depression / mental illness. There is heaven and hell right on this earth, mainly hell which is worse than suicide. There is nothing worse than living like the walking dead.

    I wish right to life extended to people who are not terminally (physically ill).

    • SRC says:

      I agree. People don’t get that just because our not terminal (physical issue) that things will ‘eventually get better’.. NO… sometimes it don’t. IT IS WRONG to lock someone up for them trying to kill themselves. SOMETIMES IT ISN’T a cry for help. Sometimes they don’t have the ‘Painless ability’ to do it and they have to resort to other means, and sometimes it don’t work.

      I think, just like the abortion rights group, who by the way have a differing opinion on suicide ironically as that is, MY BODY, MY CHOICE…. NO ONE has ANY right to tell me if my life is worth living or not. IF i know it isn’t… I have the choice…. and there should be something set up to ‘help’ people in a more humane way then what probably will happen with people like me and driving their motorcycle or car in a cement brick bridge. Or others that try to OD, but due to the pills they get sick. Etc. and NO …. WE ARE ALL NOT MENTALLY ILL!!! i can’t stand people say that ‘well if that person wants to actually die, we need to do something because they are not thinking properly. Now i am not naive to think there are some who aren’t…. but guess what… it is their choice still. How many girls/woman who have had an abortion wish they didn’t. but we don’t stop all of them… even though the percentage is high that wished they didn’t. it affected the rest of their life….. Anyway… MY BODY MY CHOICE!..

  30. Tara says:

    I have been reading your articles for the last couple of days. I enjoy how you write, your experience, and your perspective. I do like the revised title you gave this article. I was surprised when I read the comments below, but I stopped to take a moment to understand many are searching frantically in pain for themselves or loved ones. In this desperation the mind is in a different state. Outside of that mind set, I enjoyed your article. Stats, logic and straight forward reasoning can be understandable to me. In the midst of my mind being clouded by past abuse, trauma, and suicidal thoughts, I found it comforting to read this article because of the lack of drama and fluff. I found it comforting. So, at the end of all of that, Thank you.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Thank you for your comment.It’s wonderful to hear that the article was helpful to you!

      (Apologies for my delay in responding.)

  31. kelly ferguson says:

    hi my brother went to his gp and told him that he tried to commit suicide the week before but it didn’t work he told the gp he was still wanting to die the doctor sent him away and told him it would pass in a couple of days well a couple of days later he hanged himself this was 2 weeks ago I blame the gp the gp should have listened u could tell by looking at him there was something wrong with him

  32. M says:

    Well, I didn’t come away from this article with viable reasons for not killing oneself other than regret from people who survived their attempt at suicide.
    I guess I was expecting from your article, reasons or methods on how to dissuade a person from the act of killing oneself, instead I found more quotes on statistics and some highlighted links.
    Someone in my family made two attempts to end their life, my Aunt told me that kids aren’t always thinking of the end result; that their attempt is permanent…they just want to end a pain.
    To me, a suicide attempt is really a cry for help, to bring about more attention on how to deal with the pain a person is experiencing in their life.

  33. K says:

    This world is a giant pile of shit.Any way you look at it.People are SCUM.Dogma is bullshit.And its all make believe.Time,religion,dogma,laws.The list goes on.People are parasites that feed of off each other and everything else without regard for anything.This is a way of realistic view on human behavior/The Devil/Lucifer created human beings to keep him company(because misery loves company).The Devil being an Angel and beautiful but a perversion and sick parasite itself loves and hates beauty.In turn human beings.The perfect creature of disgust and 1% beauty to fulfil the devils disgusting lusts his creation of perversion and filth that behave in a way he loves.We pray to our God The Devil who has us believe we are children of god and has trapped us here forever to be recycled into something else in Hell to amuse it.The true true God sees us for what we are the Devils creation and will forever remain in Hell for we are SCUM.Human history and human behavior speak volumes sir.And no matter what you say or do what I state is fact about humans and there disgusting behavior.

  34. Konna says:

    I’m not even getting into specifics but I’m sick and tired of this article popping up every time I search for something on Google (things completely unrelated to suicide).

  35. John says:

    If someone wants help then or is obviously going through an obvious short spell of depression that comes on very quickly and responds well to treatment, of course, any treatments that might help should be available for the patient. however, I would argue that there are a great number of people for whom there is no improvement in sight there is no treatment for the chronic illness that is at the root of their depression. If they have a very low quality of life which can not be improved then I think that they should be able to make that choice and ideally be assisted so they don’t suffer but at the very least, left alone to make the choice to end their life.

    • Gus says:

      I agree. But good luck with that. People like to prolong the suffering of others instead of admitting that others should have the right to choose the option of suicide. They’d rather risk your brutal and traumatic end, for their hope. When instead they should respect your right to self determination, and a peaceful exit with friends and/or family present, instead of a lonely and painful exit.

  36. Lauren says:

    I think you’re only concerned with preventing suicide, rather than preventing SUFFERING and I have a big problem with that. Until we can cure mental illness and fix the societal issues that cause people to take their own lives, suicide is here to stay and judging by the way the human race is going, it will only get worse

  37. Linda allen says:

    I think that if you stop someone from committing suicide and their life sucks, then you should be held responsible for making their life better

    • Bob says:

      Oh so right on. If someone is suffering, and you stop their suicide and do nothing to make life better for them, you are responsible for their suffering.

      And of course, they’re going to die anyway, like we all do.

  38. s says:

    if you only knew how bored, sick and tired I am about the whole thing….

  39. Throwaway says:

    I have existed for 23 years on this planet, before I was even born my father left because alcohol and partying were more important than me. Leaving my poverty stricken mother alone with no support system, she did her best but her dating a different guy every couple of years ended up turning out pretty badly as one of them happened to be a psychopathic, abusive, manipulative piece of shit paedophile. He groomed me and conditioned me and sexually abused me and my mother, I was seven. Before that I was a little ray of sunshine that was a bit odd but made friends easily, I enjoyed reading and drawing, all sorts of things. I didn’t tell my mother what happened until I was seventeen. For ten years I was isolated by my pain, bullied for reacting easily and being strange, ostracized because I couldn’t figure out how to control my feelings and responses. I’d cry at the drop of a hat and I didn’t understand why others were so cruel to me and when saying so and it just made it worse. Now: I am utterly unable to attach to another human being and feel love for them I don’t trust anyone so I can’t fuck either. I’m not able to anymore because the few times I’ve opened myself to it I am betrayed by that person. For the longest time I’ve hoped I’d get hit by a bus and now I’m actively seeking quick and painless ways to die, I see no point in sticking around when I can’t enjoy the good things in life like sex or love. I can’t escape those memories, I can’t better myself through schooling or therapy because like my mother I live in poverty that I can’t lift myself out of combined with low energy levels that ‘just working more’ isn’t an option for me. So far the only thing keeping me here is the guilt I feel for my mother, the pain and sadness she’ll have to go through when her second daughter dies. Every day I wake up hoping today is the day I get to die. Every day has been suffering and misery, and I just want it all to end.
    As far deep as I am I can already tell you there’s nobody who can help me because you can’t erase memories. You can’t erase trauma, so why should I continue to endure when all I am is a wage slave with not a single pleasure in life. Your obsession (and my mothers) with the need for every life to get better is demeaning for people whose lives are a fucking shitshow. I’m not saying mine is the worst out there, but it’s MINE, and if I want to leave I should have that right. As should everyone.

  40. Kev says:

    Ok well I’m not saying that I’m going to kill my self but life really has no meaning. It doesn’t matter how a human feels or really nothing matters. Your brain is made up of many molecules. We have no purpose, we are just here. So whoever wants to die, I’m not gonna stop them

  41. Bonnie says:

    Hello, my 12 year old son told me he might die tonight and he hates his life. He feels like an outcast at school and no one will play games while at recess.

  42. Mariam says:

    I have benefitted hugely.May Allah bless you awesomely in both world

  43. Anna Smith says:

    What about people suffering from terminal illnesses or in unbearable physical pain where it is clear it will never get better?
    Should their suicide also be prevented?

  44. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately, people commit suicide because they have been manipulated by someone they love into believing in a relationship that the manipulator never intended on following thru with.

    • SRV says:

      There was a time when I felt exactly as you do. My best friend took his life a decade ago under those circumstances. He was being manipulated by someone he truly loved who never followed through on their relationship. She lied to him repeatedly and ended up being with another man even though she swore she was going to spend her life with him. And he ended his life eventually after he had gone through this for a number of years. I blamed her for a long time, and even talked to a therapist myself to try and work through it. But after a number of sessions, and after doing some research myself, I came to realize that while that “relationship” was a contributing factor, it was hardly the sole reason he ended his life. There were several factors that led to his decision.

      The first reason? Mental illness. He was clinically depressed and had bipolar disorder, and he didn’t always take his meds like he should have. He had a history of hurting himself long before he ever met this woman and had in fact attempted suicide on more than one occasion before he knew her. He also had issues with some of his family members; some of them were themselves controlling, and some pushed him away because they could not deal with his illness. All of these factors combined with his bad relationship, and it was all compounded into a state of mind that he was unable to cope with. It was hard for me to admit that there was more than one factor, because it was so much easier to blame that woman for all of his problems. But the truth is – she was only one of many factors. Don’t get me wrong… I still am not her biggest fan by any means. But I can’t blame her any more than I can blame all of the other negative factors in his life that contributed to his decision.

      It was easy to pin it on one source, but it wasn’t healthy. And even though I will never talk to that woman again, I no longer blame her and have – in my heart – forgiven her. And you know what? It was a cathartic experience that has given me some measure of peace in my life. I am certainly not saying that your scenario cannot be a contributor to someone’s suicide, but I also do not agree that it is ever the only reason someone makes that choice. At the end of the day, we all have the ability and choice to leave caustic relationships. MANY people have bad relationships, but few of those involved in those relationships end their lives. There are always other contributing factors. I wish you peace and comfort in your specific situation.

      • Matt says:

        Im in exactly that situation, the problem is that one person can hold someone together no matter the problems they have, but once said person is no longer the support and chooses someone else despite saying we were together forever then things turn dark.
        It would not take much to change my life but it just wont happen. The person who held me together has gone.

  45. Henry E. Tegtmeyer says:

    I’m 85. During the past 30 years, or more, I’ve been through, at least, several bouts of severe depression. Each episode would have a duration of weeks. They
    always caused me to be unable to function. I couldn’t work, eat, etc. Fortunately
    my wife and place of employment understood or were very sympathetic about
    my illness. I finally began to see a therapist. I was and never have been suicidal.
    Of course my mind has pondered it but, I’ve always known suicide is a choice I
    could never choose. My father had episodes of severe depression that seemed to
    last for several days. As he got older they seemed to have ceased.

  46. LydiaS says:

    Suicide prevention is a sick joke.
    Consider the legislation being passed in the USA currently regarding late term and postnatal abortion.
    I suppose it’s now morally sound to murder a newborn baby, but I as an adult would be considered a pariah and a criminal for attempting to off myself.
    Abortion clinics are a matter of civil rights but euthanasia clinics are too taboo to consider?
    What a joke.

    • Andrew Williams (AndrooUK) says:

      It’s a joke where nobody laughs, except the person (Government) telling it.

      I suppose it’s because Governments don’t want people to start actually dying when they can still be productive. If too many people start opting-out, then that could lead to an unacceptable loss on investment.

      The fact that there are people suffering horribly, who are a huge burden on society, is irrelevant.

      Nobody must be allowed to die when there is risk to investment.

      It doesn’t matter at the early stages of life, as Government investments have not yet commenced. I wouldn’t be surprised if infant euthanasia were an option seriously considered, but then not for adults or teens, and then considered for retired elders.

  47. src says:

    I do not believe the stats of mental illness to suicide. I believe they ‘label’ people with the mental illness to justify or make people ‘think’ that …. see, thats why. The person was mentally ill. Because it is more scary to let people hear that…. no this person just wanted to die because of whatever was going on. That they really thought it out, and came to the conclusion this was the only answer.

    I’ve tried … really tried.. once in 2015 I OD’d when my wife said she wanted a divorce after 24 years married 26 together. She told me when i called to say goodbye to .. ‘if you get help, we can talk’…. i found out later that she lied. But i believed her and pulled over, went into a gas station and told them what i took.
    The next time was 5 months later when the divorce went through. I was going to jump off a bridge in MN. This time police called her from taking my phone. They said to me she wants to talk to you. She told me if i got down and got help… we would talk.. not for sure get back together… but talk. So i did. IF SHE WOULDN”T have lied. i would be here right now.

    Let me make this clear… I DON’T WANT TO BE HERE.. its been 3 years now. NOTHING has changed. She is my life.. her and our kids… but thats all gone. kids too. So i am ‘labeled’ with depression and mental illness. NO.. i don’t want to live without her. And one day… one day… hopefully sooner than later….. i know it will happen. (yes i see a psychiatrist, and tell him all the time and like you.. thank gosh he hasn’t committed me… He said same as you. so i don’t tell him i have a plan or he would.) i am on a ton of meds.. and he even said.. these meds won’t help you. Sorry this is getting to long… point being Three people know what one day will happen. i am over 50, and being with my wife for over half my life.. if that is all i get…. im okay with that. i had a GREAT life with her.. even through our issues and ups and downs… i had a great family… and i hope one day they will remember all the things i did and we did together.

    The prob i think we should look at… is if people really want to die… after really thinking, and analyzing… and making sure they are not ‘really mentally ill’… something should be done to help them. and not punish them more if they fail, they end up being arrested in jail.. or locked up in a mental hospital.. making everything even worse than before…. I mean it isn’t right for people to force others to live because of their way of thinking and what they believe. That ‘THEY’ know best… WRONG… you don’t know what i feel and whats going on and the hurt and unbearable pain and misery and heartache a person is going through. Sometimes.. the hard fact is.. LIFE ISN’T WORTH IT ANYMORE… to some.

    im sorry this was sooo long… but this is now a major hot button to me… ITS MY LIFE… I SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO END IT…. and not be punished or locked away…. WE KILL BABIES BEFORE THEY ARE BORN… with no punishment… that has a heart beat and fingers etc.. and wants to live… IT MAKES NO SENSE…

    thank you for listening…

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you forget what it would do to your children if you committed suicide?

    • jules says:

      Wow you have FIVE kids! And you just want to give up? 3 years isn’t that long in a lifetime, my own brother left the family and talked to none of us for over 3 years too. My parents had done nothing wrong he just hated our other brother and took off. He came crawling back when he needed something, he was selfish but my parents welcomed him back, we all did. He feels very bad about it now he’s told me, kids do stupid stuff like that when they are young. Thankfully none of the family were ill or died while he was gone-I can’t imagine his guilt if one of us had, he came back just in time before my mum was diagnosed with cancer and then my grandad died, thank god he made it back in time. Can you imagine your kids guilt if they never got the chance to make things up with you because you ended it all? And probably knowing they are the reason you did it? Would you really want to do that to your kids you think they’ve moved on but you don’t really know how they are feeling or how they would feel if you died. How would you feel if one of them just decided to commit suicide.

      You say at some point life becomes not worth it, well how do you know things wont change back and be good again? You made 5 children you have a commitment to them to be there for as long as your natural life will last should they want to reach out to you again, I hope they do I really do.

    • Jeff says:

      To a certain extent, what is and isn’t mental illness is arbitrary. When suicidality is considered a symptom of mental illness, people who are suicidal are (in a tautological sense) mentally ill.

  48. David says:

    I can completely sympathise with you and couldn’t have written it better myself. I think you make a perfect case for having the option for euthanasia. I don’t have bi-polar disorder but have several depression for the last 30+ years and now have had to endure daily chronic pain for years now.

    I thank you for your post as I believe it will help many more people understand the situation a lot of people face and also how many different situations lead to this legitimate conclusion.

    If you have the time or inclination I’d really love to talk to you, even if it’s just a short conversation. You can contact me at nodscene@gmail.com, it would be greatly appreciated (and no I’m not going to try and talk you out of whatever decision you’ve made).

    Thank you,


  49. Valtteri Kiertomäki says:

    Personally i never have really cared about living or dying
    i do not have mental illness or depression for me it has just been so that in case
    if i were personally to do suicide i would do it if i was hurt, i have lot of different medicines that would easily result in overdose, but even then my last trouble im having currently was pretty much solved 3 days ago so im not even planning in suicide, but there’s that when i live alone i might only for one reason
    i would kill myself if i didn’t have any interests in life or something was painful enough to make me even lose my interest to live to be able to read books
    because my faith is this, when person dies it was decided by faith and by god
    and when you die it was your fate and you could have not escaped
    thus i care not about life and death, it is one of the things i least care of .

    i was googling about “love is war” and was given this link i was not intentionally looking for this thread or anything suicide related.

    Valtteri Kiertomäki – Helsinki, Finland

    • Daphne says:

      Hello Valteri,
      I am a sufferer of anxiety and depression and still to this day I feel very tempted to tend my life it’s such a struggle, I haven’t attempted suicide for twenty years, life is a constant trying to bring me down,my faith in God, has helped me a lot, I was given lots of gifts, but if I ‘m not good at my first attempt to try something new I give up, I feel this is very selfish attitude, and hoping to overcome it,
      we all are individuals and suffer differently.

      I must fight my feelings even if its unbearable I have to realise this is abeautiful world the beautiful animals,plants, and scenery.

      • Will says:

        The scenery is often very beautiful.

        People vary, a lot, and I’d say their overall moral quality is mediocre, at best. Once in a blue moon you find a gem. Keeping them is the tricky bit.

        Of course, once in a while you think you found a gem and learn that they are awful. That happens too.

        You don’t sound terrible to me, incidentally, despite your lack of follow-through. I realize it would be a lot better to have more determination, probably, however this is hardly the worst people can be. I’m sure if we met in person after I read the above, I’d spend a few minutes at least engaging you in conversation if you were into it, because if nothing else it sounds like you’re making an attempt at honesty on several fronts. That is one of my favorite qualities in a human, and it’s not that common.

        I also think that honesty can make one be more likely to notice the negative parts of life/people, and that can be hard.

  50. Ash says:

    People lead other people to do stupid things they should realize when to stop, sometimes they just need help not fucking jail time

    • Devin says:

      Real help cannot be received, for his/her concept of reality is not real, as indicated by others. Tried for help didn’t work, life imprisonment didn’t go as expected. Sent to a mental hospital where inaccurate and most incorrectly dignosed.
      Almost killed by a corrupt officer!

  51. Gukshatuk says:

    What about people who become old & feeble or who suffer from extreme pain! Or who have no knowledge of god or a supposed hell that waits, & why is god never around when you have no one to turn to & how come evil people rule the world and the poor starve to death.

  52. A.B. says:

    Stacey, I’m what you might call a lurker of this site. I’ve been reading these comments for years but haven’t commented because I think the future of the suicide debate is already being decided. Polls around the world and in the US show a very significant majority of the population favors governments allowing people the freedom to decide on the matter of suicide. This is in stark contrast to the feelings of governments themselves and mental health professional boards. This curious divide amounts to governments and professionals deciding what is best for the individuals even when the population increasingly disagrees on this matter. Though slow, legislation in the US and around the world is nevertheless slowly changing.

    I really respect that you have your perspective on suicide, both as a professional and as a survivor of depression (I’ve read your article elsewhere about your own experiences here and am happy you are feeling much better today). What I don’t understand, though, is the anti-suicide justification of “life is inherently uncertain.” That is an apparent truism. It doesn’t justify forbidding doing anything else that may be irreversible and potentially extremely negative–like investing your entire life savings in a risky business venture. People make all manners of risky decisions that statistically lead to very bad outcomes but we don’t prohibit them from doing these things on the grounds that life is uncertain. I don’t see any logical reason why the case of suicide must be different.

    I agree with most of the many, many commenters in your articles’ comment sections who overwhelmingly advocate for freedom of decision. It’s not just a self-selection bias that so many people in your comment sections are pro-suicide. This perspective has become increasingly popular if you look at many reputable polls. While you personally don’t have to subscribe to it, what’s frightening is what many of your commenters and many others elsewhere have honestly reported: that the government empowers others to restrain and treat people against their will who don’t want to stay alive. To the expected reply that some such people later express gratitude about not having been successful in their attempts many published scholars have pointed out that the impracticality of long-term follow-up of these patients, and other factors, obscures drawing reliable conclusions.

    I don’t think anyone would have any problem that professionals or others advocate what you do here if the rest of us were still free to do what we want (meaning we had available safe, reliable, affordable means to do what we decide is best for us). But when both the government, with its unlimited powers, and mental health professionals (either directly or indirectly empowered to decide about people’s freedoms) are so staunchly and uniformly against people’s exercise of free will regarding our own lives, this only contributes to the emotional anguish of many, forcing them to hide their feelings and intentions instead of seeking help–if this is even available to them. As a survivor of a brutal involuntary commitment that ended my professional career, I can tell you that both the fear and realities of these forced commitments can be unsurpassedly terrifying. Again, others of your commenters and many people on other forums report the same.

    People who are ambivalent about suicide or who very much want help should have access to caring, supportive mental health workers. But unless we can give people what they need–nurturing homes, truly affordable education, fulfilling jobs, healthy environments in which to live, emotionally fulfilling companionship, a reliable and available legal/justice system blind to impertinent characteristics of those who need its protection, access to sound health care, freedom from physical and mental pain beyond what sufferers are willing to tolerate, and enough capital and other life resources research around the world shows directly impacts self actualization and contentedness, it seems unforgivably unjust to force those who have none of these things or who are in unremitting pain even after years or decades of various official treatments to continue to suffer. And there are many with extreme political power who demonstrate these are often not the objectives of the global/national influencers. The very facts that we can’t effectively treat everyone, despite laudable intentions, and that it is not or can’t be government’s intention to provide for people’s contentedness ought to temper our insistence on usurping others’ personal autonomy.

    I’m not attacking you or anyone else who is anti-suicide. I respect everyone’s right to their own opinions AND their right to act as they feel is in their best interest without bringing direct harm to other beings. I wish anti-suicide pundits would extend the same dignities to their ideological counterparts. As someone else in your comment section has already remarked, we are not free if we can’t even make this decision about our own lives and our own bodies.

  53. Alan Fay says:

    You are so so so spot on. I wont pretend my pain is as bad as yours, or at least everyone’s is subjective, but the way you think is exactly as I have. I am so understanding of this comment you made, (I continue to seek answers and cures that are not yet implemented and won’t likely ever be available to me.)

  54. Anonymous says:

    Just a question on the off chance the author of the above article may read this. I don’t mean to be morbid, that is not my intent at all but, are you aware of any situation, aside from illness and coercion; where it is clear and maybe even obvious the only logical course of action would be to end ones own life?

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      No, I am not aware of any such situation. What might seem logical to one person is likely to seem illogical to another, and maybe even to the same person at another time. Life is inherently uncertain. That is, people may think they know what the future holds for them without truly being able to know. Or they may make pronouncements about themselves or their life that are actually distorted by the filter of depression, trauma, or other stress.

      • mic says:

        I don’t understand why choosing to end one’s life is “illogical”. Deciding to remove onesself from suffering seems to be a logical way of responding to a situation where one finds the suffering not worth tolerating. You can say that life can change and they may be relieved of suffering later on without dying; but if you’re dead, you will not be deprived of enjoyment of life. So it’s not at all clear why just writing off your losses and opting out would be illogical.

        Or at least, even respecting that you and many others have a different perspective, it doesn’t make sense why anyone should be able to proclaim that it would be such a manifestly illogical choice that it would warrant the government intervening to prevent someone from exercising that option.

    • Anonymous says:


  55. Susan says:

    Prolonged, extreme and agonizing pain distorts thinking. Why must I be subhuman? Where are the marching to raise money my disease? Why am I sub-human? This article is written to an audience with a third grade. The pain I have suffered for a decade has crippled me. If there were a cure, and there is it would be available only for the very elite. I can’t take morphine and I’m Christian, so I can’t take my own life. I apologize. My pain is extreme and incessant. I lack patience with those who talk down to me. I’ve been abused, discounted and re victimized enough and my belly is full of it. I add to my own dilemma when I continue to seek answers and cures that are not yet implemented and won’t likely ever be available to me.

  56. Kayla says:

    How to deal with suicide when moving back with parents that makes it worst specially due to stress. I’m trying not to stress what they stress knowing that some responsiblities I could have done but being in college without work due to credit hours is so important to me specially when I have 3 more classes left to get a.a. after this semester. I can only do 2 classes at a time due to my learning disability. We have also have different opinions too specially with food where I just eat junk food at night and some during the day which is hard not to do specially when someone continues to criticize which makes eating worse along with stress. I have been dealing with anxiety/depression for years now and did not realize that suicide can come with it when I was so close to it in 2017. I do think about it occassionaly but more so now due to stress bc of my parents opinions specially not working due to college

  57. Chris says:

    I’ve hurt the person I love the most in the world. She’s my support system. 1 of only 2 people in the world I have for support and I’ve done this to her. I’ve ruined lives. I feel hopeless. Nothing seems to matter anymore. I come to work. I talk to people. I pretend to laugh at things. All I want to do is lay down and wither away.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      The guilt and hopelessness you feel sound extremely painful. I hope that you are getting help for your emotional state or will do so soon. I can’t imagine that killing yourself would help your wife recover from the hurt you say you’ve inflicted. It would probably cause her even more pain.

      If you want to speak with someone immediately, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. They also can help you learn about resources for mental health services in your area.

      I list some other resources, too, at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp.

      Help is available and there are treatments that can help you regain hope and come up with solutions to your problem.

      Thanks for sharing here!

  58. Dorothy says:

    I am suffering from depression,there is force which force me to commit suicide,it comes and goes and I don’t know how to control it,I want to get better but it seems like there is no solution nor hope for me

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I’m sorry you’re experiencing depression and suicidal urges. I truly hope you are getting professional help, as treatments are available that help many people.

      You also can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, or text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or use one of the other resources listed at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp.

      Please take care!

    • Brittany Odle says:

      I dealt with suicide so many times my only hope is Prayer, please try it.

    • Kayla says:

      Dorothy, definitely find help who you can feel comfortable with. I used to have EAP to have 8 sessions each year for counseling which helps a lot til I moved to different state back with my family which made it worse where sadly I don’t have EAP. I do think about it more often since I do have anxiety/depression together and didnt know suicide can go with it. Since I’m back with my family, I dont have anyone anymore where I dont feel all alone. Thankfully college helps me a little to keep me going.

    • Will says:

      I find friendship and/or love help; unfortunately, however, they are, to say the least, intermittent.

      I wish you well!

    • Taunia says:

      I feel the same and want to change but just can’t. I want to give up and stop hurting those I love. Why can I feel sad and guilty and want to not be this way but just continue to be?? I don’t understand I’m tired of hurting others and feeling so lazy and guilty for not being there. So I get it but guess I’m not the one to help

  59. Brian says:

    It’s 2019 every day I struggle with suicidal thoughts. In 1990 I tried killing myself I’m still here there are times I wish I had succeeded. For the last 3 years I’ve dealt with eating problems that no one can seem to help me with. It hurts when I eat – physically hurts me to eat. At times I’ve been down to protein bars to survive. 4 yrs ago I had to serve a prison sentence and 2 yr probation. I have gambling problems.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      How painful! You’ve been through a lot. I hope that you’re able to find some relief from your eating and gambling problems. You can always use the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or other resources that I list at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp.

  60. ThelifeoftheSaints says:

    I think that people say things that they don’t want to say or to mean. Six years ago, I was really threatened with police if I didn’t go to an emergency room. I went immediately and it was worst. The doctors, the nurses, obliged me to take their pills and the patients were very bad. Only one person told me that please don’t go back to that place. I did have goals and needed help, but it was not the right help. I am learning how not to talk to people about my problems and I have found another way to be my best friend and to depend on God, but my spouse.

  61. nope says:

    Dr. Stacey, I very much love your passion…but if you met me you would run into the wall that won’t tumble. Having been in every form of therapy most of my adult life I have not seen the world in any other way except as a holding cell for the end. I haven’t done it because it is nerve wracking. However, this is not a sliver opening to being happy about existing…I see it as having no reason anyway…being born is to be cursed to pain. In daily life I hide this mindset, but very rarely have I ever felt honest joy in anything…because the truth is there is no point to anything we do…humanity is destructive anyway…I myself am a very nonviolent nor angry person…I just know the truth and the truth is it doesn’t matter…any of it.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      It’s sad you experience no joy or meaning in your life. So much of what you write is consistent with what I’ve heard from people who are experiencing depression, trauma, or other challenges. I’m not diagnosing you but raising the possibility that maybe the lack of meaning and joy that you experience are themselves a symptom of a problem, rather than an immutable way of being. Maybe?

      Thanks for saying you love my passion. Not all readers of this site do. 🙂

      Please check out the resources at http://www.SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp if you’d like to be able to talk, text, chat, or email with someone about the despair you describe above.

    • Spencer Wilson says:

      I can see why you would feel there is no point to life I have had sexual trauma as a child. That wasn’t even the worst, try defending your life at your own home and being taken to jail for it. While at the same time being a drug addict who doesn’t want to feel any emotion in life except what the drugs do for u and then people wonder y u have no problem pulling a trigger on anyone when they cross the line. I used to feel homicidal and suicidal towards any one who steps out of line and when I see injustice is make me wanna go gangster on the ones who attack the innocent. But yet I’m the one with the anti social attitude. And yet the only people that hold a place in my heart are Jehovah’s witnesses bc they taught me how to overcome evil with good and the love they show calms the soul like the scriptures say your peace will become like a river and your righteousness.

  62. Annon says:

    I don’t know, to be honest it feels like your reasoning has come after you’ve already decided that suicide is not the answer, as opposed to coming to the conclusion that we should prevent suicide because of that reasoning. Not that that means what you say is inherently invalid, however it makes the reasoning seem so hollow — I don’t believe that you understand why you want to prevent suicide. Maybe you’re just targeting a more specific group of people who are contemplating suicide, but you make the very broad judgement that “therapists should never give up helping a suicidal person to stay alive”, so to me that implies you are referring to anyone suffering from suicidal tendencies (outside of the specific reasons you stated at the beginning).
    Since that’s been established I feel like I can explain my disagreements and personal issues with what you’ve written. I’ve suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts since a very young age, longer than I could possibly remember. The first time I came to the realization that, at least from a logical outlook, there is no defined meaning to life- and claimed that my own life was pointless- when I was only five years old. I’ve had psychologists and psychiatrists throughout all of my life, but my outlook on life and my feelings towards ending it have only just become more negative. Additionally, there isn’t anything about life that has made me feel this way, I’ve had a very pampered and spoiled life. I haven’t grown up rich by any means, but I never asked for much so on the rare occasions where I did want something I would never be disallowed it, and I’ve never truly experienced anyone being mean or hurtful towards me. I’ve never even experienced someone close to me passing away, and have always found ending relationships with friends easy to get over. Everyone in my life has made exceptions for me, warping school rules and even their own morals just to cater for me, and they’ve just done it out of the kindness of their hearts. I’m very grateful for everything everyone has done, but I also have to admit that none of it has ever helped. I’m still more and more depressed everyday. I am actually very self-conscious because I have never been bullied, I feel like everyone sees me as a privileged brat who deserves to feel pain. What all this is leading up to is that I think that it’s not fair for you to tell me that living is worth the gamble. I’m someone who finds a lot of thrill in taking chances, but I have no faith that I’m ever going to be happy. You have said that situations will change, and that it’s possible to discover things that can give enjoyment, but that wouldn’t change anything to me, I’d gamble away the winning lottery ticket before I’d optionally live the years it takes to find something that I enjoy.
    I never been in a bad situation in my entire life, all of my problems stem from just how inherently fucked up I am. I don’t have any hobbies or activities that I enjoy. I don’t agree with any of the fundamental political positions under the world’s available governments. I don’t have anything to strive for in life, and even if I did I honestly don’t get any satisfaction from achieving a goal that’s been set. I don’t even have the opportunity or money to explore the world for something to enjoy. Literally the only times I can confidentially say is a positive experience, is when I’m asleep and dreaming. Then when I wake up I remember that life isn’t like in my dreams, and feel worse because I then have something good to compare my life to. You’re emphasising the amount of people who are happy they didn’t commit suicide as if that’s meant to change the individual gamble people like me have. I’d gladly bet on a 90% chance, however it’s not that simple!
    I want to make clear that I’m not arguing against preventing suicide as a whole, I mean I wouldn’t have the confidence to tell somebody that they should end their lives. I simply just feel so bad for all the people in my life who are never going to be able to fix me, but are still forced to by their own morality. It’s not fair for people to sacrifice their happiness when I’m probably going to end it eventually anyway.

    • Steve says:

      Wow after reading this comment it was like reading someone narrating a big part of my life back to me. I’d have to be dumb to think I was alone dealing with the same issues I wish to talk more with this person “annon” if at all possible and maybe share experiences and coping techniques. I’m saddened this is a real issue others deal with but perhaps something good could come out of sharing each others stories.

  63. Anon says:

    Thank you for this article.
    I am wondering why you feel that “things can change for the better” for people contemplating suicide, or “they may find ways to cope”. I once read that most people commit suicide for financial reasons. Now I find that absolutely logical. After all, if you are unable to pay your rent, the lessor will evict you and you will become homeless. To me this is a fate INFINITELY worse than death. There is a lot of nonsense talked about “things will get better” or “maybe you will be able to cope at a later stage”. How on earth can anyone cope with being made homeless? Do you have any idea of what it is like to be homeless? Do you have any idea what it’s like to be in a situation of continuous grinding poverty? To have to pinch and scrape so that you are able to pay your rent, so they won’t put you on the streets? Never to be able to do anything nice with your pitifully small earnings, like going on holiday, buying new clothes or even new towels, or even postponing buying a new washing machine (which is NOT a luxury but a necessity) and making do with your old one which rattles and groans and dances around on the floor? Every time you run a wash your heart’s in your mouth because the thing may terminally break down. Having to exist in a medieval hovel which should have been demolished decades ago, while you long to move out but haven’t the money. Et cetera. It’s bad enough being poor in a poor country, but being poor in a country where most others are (comparatively) wealthy is sheer hell. So suicide seems the obvious choice, because things are NOT going to get better. And if you think they are, you are shockingly naive and unrealistic.

    [This comment was edited to correct misquotations from the article referenced. Please see the Comments Policy for comment guidelines. – SF]

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Your description of the trials of poverty and homelessness is excellent; I agree that living with such deprivation and uncertainty can cause great pain. I disagree with you, though, that suicide is the obvious choice, and that the lives of people in poverty cannot improve. Though suicide rates are higher among people with low income, the vast majority of people who are homeless or otherwise impoverished do not die by suicide. And a great many people who live in comfort today once experienced poverty.

      I say all this not to argue with you, but to (try to) give hope to others who live in poverty and might read your words. I realize you believe such hope is naive. If I believed that things got better for everybody, then yes, I agree, that would be naive. But things can — and do — get better for many people. That is not merely a hope. It is a fact.

      • Thea May says:

        Yes life can get better for those who are homeless and live in poverty. But surely the statistics are rare. We only ever hear of the few this happens to, while we turn a blind eye and don’t want to know about the majority who slip away into nothingness. It’s a gamble whether to persevere under such extreme suffering and abuse or end it through suicide. Life can only change if there is opportunity and thats extremely limited by homelessness and poverty and its associated effects on ill health. The emphasis is on fixing “mental health” as the onus is placed on the individual, not on society as a whole and addressing complicated issues like homelessness and poverty which are largely at the root of many suicides.

      • Jeff says:

        Suicide prevention works to prevent suicide, though it doesn’t do anything to make life worth living. Also, many people who truly, genuinely want to commit suicide do not do so for various reasons related to societal stigma. You can’t actively stop people from doing something and then claim that the fact that many people don’t do it is proof people don’t want to.

      • Aiah Z says:

        I’m always disheartened when the reply to a comment that, to the typical reader, doesn’t intend to make an absolute claim (All X are Y–no X are not Y) but instead a general claim or even a claim about a critical subset is dismissed on the basis of a type of logical fallacy (Aha! Here is an example of an X that is not a Y, therefore the earlier claim is false). I think most of us reading these comments know that there are some poor people who go on to live happy lives. We read these stories in the news often enough. What Anon is saying is that the lives of the poor CAN be exceedingly painful and deprived of many survival resources. And that the poor who’ve lived through chronic, unabated deprivation should be entitled to make the decision for themselves of whether or not they want to keep living such lives. The odds of escaping intergenerational poverty, especially if one is still poor by a certain age, remain low enough that the question isn’t trivial.

        I don’t think most readers (any?) would mistake Anon’s argument that no poor person can escape the horrors of persistent poverty. Or that suicide is THE ONLY answer. It’s too bad that THAT is what some anti-suicide pundits choose to highlight despite what the pandemic has brought out into the light–that in many countries, poverty is persistent, painful, and often deadly. Instead of arguing whether or not any poor CAN escape poverty, we should end the pain so many poor people live with. Oh, that’s right. We won’t because many powerful, wealthy people oppose policies researchers divulge COULD alleviate a significant amount of suffering related to poverty.

        Suicide rights are NOT about what anyone MUST do. They’re about what the individual is entitled to choose for her or his own life, given the options. And lest anyone add to this, “You’re not entitled to force others to violate their moral convictions,” this also isn’t about forcing professionals to do what they don’t want to. There are many professionals who’ve publicly admitted they’re willing to help in legally permissible ways. And there are many who’re content leaving on their own, so long as they’re not forcibly prohibited from doing so.

  64. Shannon Nealey says:

    I think it’s rather arrogant for others to take it upon themselves to decide whose pain is worse and who should be allowed to end their lives. So because one person is suffering from a terminal illness and someone else is suffering from mental illness, that means that the pain of mental illness is somehow lesser than that of a terminal illness? There’s all kinds of pain. It’s not for outsiders to decide whose pain is greater nor should they intervene based on their own conclusions and assumptions that one suffering from mental illness isn’t suffering as much as one suffering from, say, cancer or MS or some other terminal illness. Pain is pain; that’s like saying that a woman in labor isn’t suffering as much as the man who was hit by a truck full of hot garbage juice and that is not a good luck. People want to escape their pain and not because of the stigma, but because of the likelihood of someone afflicted with Superhero Syndrome coming to intervene by insisting that the pain of mental illness isn’t as bad and can be overcome and then insisting–forcing, in fact–that one has to stay alive, live against their will. I find it distasteful that one would insist that anyone suffering from mental illness and wanting an end to life to live against their will and continue to suffer and live on in pain. Pain is subjective. Do I get to tell my daughter or son that their heartbreak isn’t as painful because a family member is suffering real pain as they die a horrible death from cancer? Do I tell my granddaughter that breaking up with a friend isn’t as bad as when I broke my foot? Of course not. I validate their pain. They are the ones living with it and they are the ones who decide if the pain is something with which they can live. There shouldn’t be guidelines based on anecdotal evidence because everyone is different. Some people just want to get the fuck out of here and it’s not for anyone to judge them for their decision nor is it anyone’s place to intervene.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I think you make excellent points about pain, and I agree completely that one person’s (seemingly) worse pain doesn’t make another person’s pain hurt any less.

      However, I don’t think that the laws permitting assisted suicide in the case of terminal illness are there because of the pain of terminal illness vs. the pain of mental illness. Rather, I think it has to do with life already being shortened by terminal illness. In the case of assisted suicide for terminal illness (at least, in the U.S.), the prognosis is that the person has 6 months or fewer left to live. Helping someone to die when their terminal illness is going to end their life very soon, is very different from helping someone to die who could live for decades more.

      Of course, many will say that the person in pain with decades left to live should have the option of assisted suicide, too, to avoid living out those decades in pain. But for now, I just want to address that our assisted-suicide laws don’t discriminate against people with mental illness any more than they discriminate against people with non-terminal physical illness. If the distinction were between mental vs. physical pain, then people with excruciatingly painful, chronic conditions could legally receive assistance for suicide in the U.S. even if doctors believed their illness would not kill them within 6 months. That is not the case. The distinction is between terminal vs. non-terminal conditions.

      • Anonymous says:

        Honestly, that just makes it even more depressing.
        I’m 20, and I’m in a community college, unable to properly handle school, work, home life, and can barely even personally care for myself other than a shower. My long hair has fallen out unevenly due to feeling like everyday life is too hectic and draining to keep up with my hair. I am African-American. From middle school to college I was told things would get better, but it still hasn’t. I’m tortured every day on how people my age can handle tasks enough to stay in a normal college and I can’t even really tolerate more than taking out the trash. That’s a part of my mental illness. And I guarantee that I have more self hate for myself than anyone else around me. I don’t want kids because that would just be pathetic of me to reproduce.
        I’m not suicidal, nor advocate it, but I can understand someone’s desire to if they were mentally ill for so long. It makes me feel bad for those people. The one thing I wanted from people is to not judge me, so who am I to judge them for those feelings, especially if the law doesn’t even properly validate them….

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Your situation sounds deeply painful. The self-hate alone can be a form of mental torture, because it can arise with every action, big or small — sort of like having a bully live inside one’s head.

          Are you getting help? There are treatments for the pain and symptoms you describe. Your illness and self-hate need not mean that your current limitations are permanent.

          I hope you are getting help. Even though you are not thinking of suicide, some of the resources I list at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp also might be useful for you, such as the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.

  65. mimi says:

    I never in my life would have contemplated suicide. Now that is all I think of but I am afraid to go to hell..I am suffering so bad every day 6 months now..with undiagnosed illness which I have nerve damage on the inside of my body. Can’t barely swallow or eat..can’t digest and go to the bathroom. Spine and pelvis are in so much pain..meds don’t work and I sleep 1 hour a night. I can’t take it anymore. My body is shutting down but heart and brain still working well so I’m suffering for a long time. I just want to end it. But I’m a christian and believe in hell..don’t want my situation to be worse than the hell I’m in now. Also afraid of surviving attempt screwed up even more. I don’t want to die. I just don’t want to live like this anymore. Anyone else with a chronic painfull illness?

    • Jomar says:

      Hello mimi, an odd circumstance led me here. Let me start off by stating that while I don’t understand the physical battle that you encounter on a daily basis, I do however understand your mind state and how you are feeling right now. Hopelessness. Hopelessness is a very simple and somewhat long word but it describes and represents a myriad of underlying feelings and emotions. I myself have attempted it twice, been institutionalized for mental illness as well as take daily medication to help deal with depression. It’s a daily battle for me, one that I feel sometimes that I’m gonna lose one day. Right now in my life im very stagnant. I’m 34 years old, living with my mother, with no job, divorced, no car, overweight, and also having communication issues with my daughter who for lack of better words really doesn’t wish to hangout with me or even really talk to me. This is a lot for me to deal with and while the reasons I’m in the position I’m in are my fault, I acknowledge it but it doesn’t make it any easier. I have good days and I have bad days dealing with the emotional struggles of my reality. I don’t know what is important to you in life other than yourself and the belief in God, but whatever it is I hope and pray you hold on to that feeling. Me, about a week ago I started working out and eating better. I know what you’re probably thinking “how is this gonna help me?” The answer is this and that’s control. It’s an important thing in people’s lives and that’s the ability to control certain aspects of one’s life. For me it’s my weight I have complete control over whether I decide to exercise and eat right. It’s a decision that I can make every day and control. This also creates something else for me and that’s giving me something to look forward to on a daily basis. I say all that to ask you to try and find something even if it’s small to look forward to and try to find something that is within your own control and focus on it. Maybe just maybe you can begin to understand how important you probably are and that while the worst situation you can be in is only a hurdle or a roadblock keeping you from your higher and greatest achievements. God bless you Mimi I wish all the best and thank you for taking the time to read this

    • Cory says:


      Have you ever heard of MMS/DMSO or Colloidal Silver? I have read that these can be very helpful for chronic pain and disease sufferers. Here is a facebook group I joined with people sharing their experiences:

      You should join and poke around and ask questions. I sincerely hope you find something there that can help you. Wishing you the best in recovery.

    • Duna says:

      I am so sorry to hear your story mimi! My heart aches for your pain, but I genuinely hope you gain the strength and hold on. My problem that was leading me to depression is that I was fearful of death and its inevitability, and I personally also don’t necessarily believe in any particular god or religion currently and that only makes matters worse because death, to me, is a dark, mysterious, and scary fate. So this leaves with a constant sense of doom and anxiety. But by the end of the day, I still have hope, I still have a belief in something good, that justice will be served to all of us humans in the end of all this! Please hold on to hope of strength and better times! Again, my heart is with you sister/brother!

      If ever you need a friend or to just vent to some rando, I am right here for you! Just send me an email! 🙂 Please hold on, someone who doesn’t know you at all who’s possibly from somewhere else in the world loves you, respects your courage and patience and is really rooting for you!

  66. Anonymous says:

    If I’m determined to commit suicide why does society feel determined to change my mind. If they want to ask me about it, that’s fine, but if they don’t like my answer society wants to save me from myself, even lock me up and control me in an attempt to change my mind about what I’m considering, I suppose to the point of jailing me forever, or at least until I figure out that if I tell “them” what they want to hear, I’ll be freed to do what I want. Does this fall under anything that resembles human rights?

    • SariGee says:

      I agree tenfold.. i agree.. i’m saying the same thing.. why are strangers so quick to wanna save your life when your friends family and loved ones are showing u they don’t care.. i don’t understand how this is supposed to help me feel better .. it makes me feel worse..

  67. Anonymous says:

    I’m a middle aged male. I’m not physically ill, I’m not mentally ill. I’m a religious person, a Baptist, and have been my entire life. I’ve retired from the US Navy, a career I throughly enjoyed. I’ve also had a very successful second career where I’m currently working. There’s an old joke and a song which says “Everyone wants to go to heaven but just not today”. Well, I’ve decided I want to go today. Obviously everyone’ going to die and if heaven is waiting why not go. I wonder why I haven’t thought about this before, and furthermore why am I thinking about it now. It seems perfectly logical to me and I do wish I’d thought about it before now. I’m ready and I’ve always been ready, so what’s the excuse for putting death off. I can’t think of a single reason. Why would anyone want to grow old, possibly sick and or in pain. Society has an ingrained idea that “they” should keep me alive against my will. The law really gums this idea up, and I honestly don’t understand why. It’s my life, I own it, God gave it to me, why must a person wait to go see god. I know I can do this anytime I want but why must the law punish my estate and I’m not referring to insurance.

    [This comment was edited to abide by the Comments Policy. — SF]

  68. Nieman says:

    Why do you wish to stop suicides?

    Are you doing it for the person who wishes to die or is it for you and you?
    Do you even care about the person who is suffering so much that they wish to end the pain?

    You have no right to force someone to endure an awful life.

  69. Dion says:

    Thanks. Now, explain how I keep on living in a City/ State/ Country I absolutely hate? And how do I live in a world where I despise almost everyone I meet, and who I would rather see die than say two words to? Oh, and work 30 hours with more people I’d rather see dead, for a company I would rather go out of business? Oh, and when I’m unemployed please tell me how to deal with a job agency that humiliates me, calls me a liar and constantly threatens to cut off my meagre benefit? I have no friends because I don’t want them. I don’t want to talk to a therapist or take a drug to make me want to live because that would make me a totally different person and the idea of that fills me with even greater self-loathing. My drug of choice is alcohol. I read a depressing thing today. It is difficult to kill yourself with booze. I usually manage a bottle a night. I suppose I will have to up the effort. To keep me living in this damnable world is cruel. I pray to Satan for incurable cancer.

    • Anonymous says:

      I want to reply, I want to tell you everything I think and feel. But it just may not be real, just a distorted reality. Corrupt police and government impersonating texts, emails, comments, (possibly whole fucking blogs). Who I think…. who I hope and wish for you to be is most likely just another trick implemented to to to. To fuck with me some more!
      But on the off chance, let it be Chrons, an Ulcer, Cancer, or whatever else you can think up. I’ll still be here. The memories, are what keep me going. As much pain as they cause. They’re the only thing that bring me hope for the future.

  70. Miles Miles says:

    We don’t even know if life is actually worth it or not. It’s just a value. So you are essentially enforcing a value onto someone based off of feelings. Rather than caring about quality of life you people tend to care about quantity. Why do you just assume everyone is better off of alive? What about when you “save” prevent someone from dying and they constantly and considerably regret living for the rest of their life. Is that still a win? Is your judgment just superior to their own?

  71. Anonymous says:

    So your only reason is that the wish to die is fluid? Why does that make it better to live? I can’t come up with any reason why life is valuable, regardless of how decisive someone is about their desire to live or not to live.

    Take Kevin Hines. He jumped off the bridge and changed his mind in the air. Why does his newfound desire to live mean that he should live, or that it would be better for him to be alive? What difference does it make if someone wants to live or if things get better or not? I don’t see how the whim of an individual at any given moment lends itself to a value judgement about living.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      With respect, I’m confused by your logic on a number of counts. My confusion is best illustrated by making a minor change to your wording, as follows:

      “Why does a newfound desire to die mean that he should die, or that it would be better for him to be die? What difference does it make if someone wants to die or if things get better or not? I don’t see how the whim of an individual at any given moment lends itself to a value judgement about dying.”

      See the problem here? If it is meaningless to want to live, then it works in the other direction, too.

      Maybe you’d say the distinction is that the wish to live, in the case of Kevin Hines’ example, came suddenly. I suppose you are arguing (though I’m not sure) that an impulsive or “newfound desire” to live is meaningless, because it’s “the whim of an individual.”

      However, if that is your argument, the logic still leads in favor of living, because in the entirety of one’s life, the desire to live almost always has been present more minutes and hours than a desire to die.

      I don’t think wanting to live is meaningless, though. The fact of the matter is that the overriding forces in nature, when it comes to living beings, human or otherwise, is one of generativity and survival. This doesn’t mean that every human or other animal needs to procreate or to honor the fragility of their life. But it does mean that the forces of life are on the side of health. If this were not the case, people would choose to die even when happy and healthy. So far as I know, most – if not all – do not.

      Have I understood your argument correctly?

      I hope that life changes for you and you are able to feel better it — even to find value in it. I know it’s terribly painful not to be able to do so.

      • Chad N says:

        I believe the intent was more along the lines of: Why does one person (Kevin Hines) changing their mind about suicide mean anything to whether others should be allowed to decide they want suicide? That is just my interpretation but I admit I am reading between the lines a lot. Hopefully the original poster will clarify.

      • mic says:

        I think what anonymous means is that the anti-suicide campaign places an inordinate amount of weight on fleeting feelings of wanting to live. So that even if a person spends most of their time wanting to die but that is interrupted for even a brief spell of time; the temporary will to live is considered to outweigh the strong desire to die.

        People who are in favour of preventing suicide at all costs would usually aver that it’s the fleeting will to live that someone might experience mid-air whilst falling from the Golden Gate bridge is what reflects their ‘true’ desires after having spent most of their time with false thoughts generated by their ‘depression’ which, no matter how much time their thoughts are taken up with the desire to die, is never accepted as being representative of the person’s ‘true thoughts’.

        And of course, even if the person never experiences any relief from the persistent desire to die, people advocating suicide prevention will be unfazed in their contention that the desire to die doesn’t represent the person’s true thoughts.

        So I think that what anonymous is saying is that the weighting that you are giving to the temporary remission of the compulsion to die is arbitrary. I know in my own case, that it’s the rational and analytical part of my mind that drives the desire to die (which isn’t really characterised by periods of emotional distress or volatility); and it’s the fearful primitive instinct that always carries the day and keeps me living. People don’t commit suicide without having a compelling reason for doing it; because every biological instinct is pulling them back from the precipice. It’s not the kind of thing that one does on a whim, and their mindset in most cases would have to be strongly weighted in favour of dying for them to get to that point.

        In my case, and in many cases, the desire to die has taken up most of my life and I’ve never had any real change of heart on that subject. But the evidence would never be sufficient for pro-lifers to respect that as reflective of my genuine desires, no matter how lucidly and cogently I argue my case.

      • Miles says:

        “See the problem here? If it is meaningless to want to live, then it works in the other direction, too.”

        You missed the point entirely. The difference is the OP wants to leave the descion up to the individual. You on the other hand want to enforce a value-that life is always worth living onto others with the sole justification of feelings .

        “However, if that is your argument, the logic still leads in favor of living, because in the entirety of one’s life, the desire to live almost always has been present more minutes and hours than a desire to die.”

        Even if someone really wants to die survival instinct still exists or a biological desire to live, which you have to overpower in order to die by suicide. – the strongest instinct does not go away. That is like saying becuase someone wants to lose weight they have no desire to eat anything. It does not actually make any sense.

  72. David Crichton says:

    But there is a huge variation
    I have been thinking about suicide for 6 years almost every waking minute. It was following being scammed by a financial advisor and lost me most of my savings
    Since then I have hd loads of therapy and got worse with serious side effects from medication which were life threatening and most recently being nearly killed when I fell from my bike into the path of fast car and then being prosecuted for being suicidal. And now my lovely wife says she’s had enough of my misery and wants to separate.
    I have got progressively worse and see that my suicide will save her the shame of separating from a disabled husband of 35 years marriage and also the numerous friends and church people who try and help, but make me feel worse as it shames me; this I find shameful and humiliating as a previously independant active man

  73. Anonymous says:

    I can’t cope with the decisions I’ve made, why do I make the wrong decisions?

    • Chad N says:

      If you will allow me to answer your question with a question. Is it possible that the decisions you are regretting are only wrong in hindsight? If so then the answer would be you made the wrong decision at the time because it was what you felt best with the information you had available. If however you are doing making a choice that you know is wrong at the time then more information would be needed to allow us to guess but only you can truly know why.

  74. Amey says:

    Nice blog on suicide prevention.

  75. Zoe Tartz says:

    Dr. Freedenthal, first off, thank you for starting an interesting discussion and bringing up some valid points. I want to reemphasize a great point that you made. You stated that, “90% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental illness.” I think this is very important point when talking about why we should stop people from committing suicide. This is because it emphasizes that suicidal patients may lack the ability to make a sound decision, especially an irreversible decision such as death. Decisional capacity is defined as the ability of a patient to make their own health care decisions, based on many factors that physicians use to judge. One could argue that someone with a diagnosable mental illness might not appreciate or understand the severity of their actions. For example, in the study Anxiety Evokes Hypofrontality and Disrupts Rule-Relevant Encoding by Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex Neurons, data indicates that anxiety has an intricately selective effect on neuronal activity that supports decision making and shows that anxiety often leads to bad decision-making. So rather than allowing people to make such a permanent decision, possibly without fully understanding its weight, I think we should focus our efforts towards controlling and directing their mental health. Another great point you bring up is that 90% of people who survived a suicide attempt did not die from suicide. This leads me to believe that suicidal intentions, although powerful and painful, are passing. I would be interested in knowing whether there was a correlation between improved mental state or well controlled mental illness with decreased desire to end one’s own life.

    • Abe Bin says:

      Zoe Tartz, I’ve been following this thread since a colleague at my university forwarded specifically the comment section to me over a month ago. I’d like to make a few observations about the points you raise.

      You repeated Stacey’s claim that 90% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental illness. I feel compelled to point out that not everyone who dies by suicide is rightly categorized as a suicide nor, among those categorized as suicide (putting aside inevitable errors of categorization), are there always diagnoses of mental illness. And the diagnosis of mental illness itself has been for decades called into question by leading scientists, physicians, and even psychiatrists. So the accuracy of the 90% figure seems questionable at least.

      You also said the above questionable statistic MAY mean suicidal patients lack the ability to make “a sound decision.” For one thing, I don’t see hard evidence, your mention of the Park, Wood, Bondi, et al, study notwithstanding, that the suicidal are not able to make “sound decisions.” Rather, I see diagnoses and terms defined by observers instead of biomolecular science.

      I also question what constitutes a “sound decision.” Many day to day decisions are made in the context of great anxiety–such as the survival-affecting decisions the poor must make or the decision a woman considering an abortion must make or therapeutic decisions patients must make. Someone in this thread even pointed out that many patients whose decision-making is distorted by serious medical news still retain the legal power to decide whether to accept treatment or not even when doctors are fairly certain not seeking treatment will lead to a far worse prognosis. Culturally and legally we generally don’t inhibit people’s personal freedoms because we disagree with their decisions or believe that their anxiety impedes their ability to make “sound decisions.” For many of us, such a freedom (to make decisions we might regret for the rest of our lives or even decisions that will likely shorten our lives) is at the crux of freedom.

      Others in this thread have argued, rightly, that there is no scientific justification for the term “mental illness.” Illness is a medical term and there should be well characterized cause-effect pathology to justify its use. There is to date no published medical test for or characterization of “mental illness.” This term is decided upon by observers–something antithetical to biomedicine and the sciences.

      Thank you for making clear your motivation: “I think we should focus our (whose?) efforts towards CONTROLLING and DIRECTING their mental health.” This was an exceptionally chilling sentence to me. People aren’t others’ property. It’s very frightening that one group of people should take it upon themselves to control and direct another group of people under the justification of providing for the second group’s benefit. History teaches us that is a dangerously slippery slope. I’d argue instead that we should focus our efforts on building the kind of society global epidemiological research tells us is associated with greater prevalence of the feeling of contentedness. When people can’t afford to survive, face homelessness and harassment by law enforcement for the simple “crime” of being poor, endure all kinds of physical and emotional violence without reliable legal or social recourse, anxiety and, when these problems are chronic or combined with advancing age, chronic health problems, community abandonment, and the loss of autonomy, even suicidal thoughts are more likely. If we can’t help such people–really help them by getting them safe and healthy homes, jobs that get them out of poverty or that build futures they want, relief from physical and emotional pain, legal protections, and sufficient companionship and affection, we have no right, I don’t think, to consign them to keep living sub-human lives.

      I also question the second 90% statistic. 90% of all people who were once suicidal are reliably followed up with? For how long? How are researchers certain they’ve included everyone who was once suicidal but then didn’t commit suicide? What about reporting bias? There’s a lot of literature that shows people feel pressured to say they feel well even when they continue to suffer significant discrimination and other major social negatives.

      You also say “this leads me to believe that suicidal ideations … are passing.” Again, for the reasons given just above, I doubt the accuracy of this judgment. As others in this thread have offered, surviving but not choosing to commit suicide doesn’t mean someone judges the quality of their life to be fair or that they are not still thinking of suicide, even when they report otherwise (Krieger, Harvard).

      I’m a big advocate of therapy. But when it evolves into people controlling and directing others’ bodies and lives, that’s no longer freedom. It’s very, very frightening especially since this controlling and directing often means physical restraint, forced drugs and the long-term painful consequences of many of these drugs, lost legal freedoms, and unfortunately being the possible victim of some unethical mental health practitioners. I think that model would deter many people from talking about or seeking help for problems.

      Sorry for a long-winded comment, but there are just far too many torturous examples in human history of control and direction begun with good intentions which nonetheless turn out very badly for those who’re supposed to be protected. A lot of suicidal ideation could be abated if people had more of the things we humans seem to need to be cognitively healthy. I vote for changing society, making it gentler and more supportive, not for controlling others. And certainly not for controlling others WHILE our culture is as caustic as it currently often is.

      • Jim says:

        I have been following this thread for quite some time now and this is perhaps one of the best responses yet. Abe, you very clearly defined the problem. With a suicide rate that is continually increasing and the amount of people on record suffering from major depression, I see no end in sight unless we change the way we are living.

    • Chad N says:


      I am actually going to point out my issue with your premise by agreeing with it. Expanding on your fundamental claim that a person with a mental illness lacks the right to decide for themselves I suggest that any person that can be shown to have any mental condition definable as abnormal have all their decision making rights revoked because their “Decisional capacity” is in question. After all every decision made effects the rest of ones life, including their death, and decisions are by the nature of time just as irreversible as death is unavoidable. I am of course assuming the subject making said decision is neither a time traveler nor immortal. The issue being of course that there is no such thing as normal outside of mathematics and everyone can thus be seen as having some degree of abnormality and therefore no right to make a decision in their own life. An exaggeration of your blanket statement for effect I admit but I hope it highlights the issue with trying to oversimplify such a complex topic let alone claiming the authority of “controlling and directing” another mind irregardless of if they want you to.

  76. mamoun says:

    first answer me which is better for us life or death ? then i will answer you which is better to prevent or allow suicide ?

  77. mamoun says:

    for a long time now i was following the article why prevent suicide ? the answers are widely different even i shared my own opinion before but i concluded at the end that there is no definite answer to this article unless we answer the question which one is better death or life ? we know life but we do not know death ,so let us first answer what is death and what is there after ? depending on this answer we can decide which is better for us and hence to stop or to allow suicide

  78. Den says:

    I can’t shake off the feeling that a person who “saves” another from suicide surely must then have some kind of responsibility to make the said person’s life worth living. Isn’t it irresponsible to deny somebody their right to die when you can’t offer them any more than “well most people feel better eventually”.

    I have “saved” four people from suicide in my role as a Mental Health practitioner. One of those people did indeed thank me several years later, and went on to live a ‘normal’ life. The other three, however, did not. I saw them over several years (almost 12) come in and out of the medical unit I worked in.
    The statistics may indeed claim that 90% of people who attempt suicide do not eventually die from suicide, the implication being that they do not wish, or do not attempt, to do it again. I can categorically say that the three people I prevented from taking their lives did indeed want to attempt it again, and one actually did, only, because they were now recognised as being suicidal they had little opportunity to do it effectively.

    These three people were never anything other than thoroughly despondent, and one actually told me that I had no right to save him if I didn’t know how to make him want to live. I couldn’t defend myself, I completely agreed with him.

    As far as I know, I saved one person’s life, yay, good for me, but I also imposed life on three other people who did not want it, and who, for the 12 years or so I knew them, would have given it up in a heartbeat if they had had the opportunity. I still feel responsible for their misery to this day.

    • Chad N says:


      I for one appreciate that you have considered this question. Most don’t and I believe that is a result of who they are “saving” the life for. If it is for the benefit of the one being saved then yes I believe you would have to at least believe you can help their condition. I think most people don’t want to prevent a suicide for that reason. More often it seems objection is based externally to the object of the action. Sometimes their deity supposedly requires it lest they be deemed bad for not trying. Sometimes their own fear of death simply makes them uncomfortable when confronted by it. Sometimes their occupation financially rewards the act, see “job security”. Whatever the reason, I rarely see any remorse or consideration for the effect on the other party. They seem to think their work is done by forcing their will upon another and when confronted with the aftermath I typically hear what amounts to blaming the other parties for their own misery i.e. “They just didn’t do ‘x’ enough.” I’m sure most people can fill in that x from memory.

      I don’t expect it will help but I do want to say that if someone were to “save” me I would prefer they be like you. Just the fact that they struggled with the question you asked would help me forgive them if I didn’t improve on my own.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Thanks for sharing here. I’m intrigued by the points you raised and have some thoughts:

      If 1 out of 4 people you “saved” is glad to be alive and living what you call a normal life, then why isn’t that enough? The other 3 always have the option to die by suicide later. In contrast, the decision to die would have been irrevocable for the person whose life you saved.

      I also wonder if you believe that physicians, nurses, and other helpers are responsible for the care of people whose lives they save from heart attack, stroke, and the like. If no, why not? If so, why?

      Just some food for thought!

      • Mia Cooper says:

        I think Den made an excellent point that this article is saying “people are eventually going to stop thinking of suicide”. What of the pain they have to suffer till? You may think it is not your responsibility, then what makes your right to speak of suicide and people with suicidal thoughts that way.

        Den did not have a choice as to not save the patient, but what of the 3/4 people who survived. Stacey, you are already discarding the opinion of those people, already treating them as dead, what gives you the right to say “they can kill themselves at later date”?

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Thanks for your comments. I appreciate the opportunity to see where I didn’t communicate myself clearly, and to try to be clearer.

          It’s actually not my belief that everybody who is suicidal will stop thinking of suicide. To me, the goal is not necessarily to end suicidal thoughts. If that happens, great! But it doesn’t always happen, in which case the goal is for people to craft a life worth living and relate differently to their suicidal thoughts – to not see them as an edict but, instead, as data about their pain and about changes that need to happen in their life. Or, even, to see them just as a cognitive habit formed from years of thinking of suicide and to observe the thoughts as an event that happens; this is all consistent with mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.

          About the 3 in 4 people who survived when Den intervened and wished they hadn’t: I did not communicate myself well. My point is that death is irreversible; delaying suicide is not irreversible. It’s a fact of life that people can die by suicide later. It’s also a fact that many people – sadly, not all, but many – do change their lives, want to live, and appreciate being alive. The latter fact is one of many that keeps me going in the work that I do.

      • Chad N says:

        Dr. Freedenthal,

        I have several items to respond to and will endeavor to do so in a clear manor:

        1) I find your assertion that 1 out of 4 constitutes “enough” somewhat intriguing myself. I was curious if I could find anything that might indicate the raw effectiveness of a placebo. What I came up with was from an IBS study which stated “an open-label placebo still produced a placebo effect and was about 20% more effective than no treatment” published in the “Harvard Health Letter” on April, 2012. This was from a “small study” per the same article but I expect more than 4 people. So the interventions being discussed produced a reported positive effect 25% of the time and if the study I found is to be believed a known placebo could reasonably be expected to produce a positive effect 20% of the time. However the placebo has no negatives while the intervention does in the form of forced additional medical treatment, social shaming and worst of all the decreased access to their chosen means of treatment. It is my understanding that if a treatment can’t be differentiated from placebo and bears with it significant negative side effects then the medical field typically doesn’t use it. I am not saying we need a Futurama style booth but I do feel 25% isn’t enough unless society can remove those side effect. They have done this in other countries as I am sure you know.

        2) Yes, medical individuals that “save a person from heart attack, stroke, and the like” are responsible for the care of that person after the condition. I say this because if for example person is treated for a heart attack and immediately after stopping the arrhythmia it is determined the person can’t pay so they discharge the patient then the hospital can face legal action should the person have an immediate reoccurrence or other complication. Furthermore, the heart attack patient can refuse treatment and die if they want but that right is taken away from the suicidal person out of hand. The issue, I believe, is that heart attacks are short term, depression/suicidal ideation is not and can in fact be permanent. I would assert that by this president to provide for equal rights either a medical practitioner that intervenes in a suicide has an obligation to alleviate the condition or the patient has the right to decide to die just like the heart attack patient.

        3) I honestly believe fixing the problem should be the only goal. If that be via some treatment then great, if mindfulness helps then great as well. My issue is with acceptance/commitment therapy as if there is no ability to refuse I see no logical difference to Stockholm syndrome beyond the reported intentions of the captor. Yes, people can be mentally broken and made to accept a horrific life but that doesn’t mean they should have to. If they have no means provided to exert their will then they are at best indentured servants to their caregivers. At worst I dare not say.

        4) This is in response to “death is irreversible; delaying suicide is not irreversible.” First, death is unavoidable so why not let people chose how they meet it. Second, delaying suicide can very well be irreversible. The current situation allows a persons right to be taken from them if they are deemed a danger to themselves. They can be put on suicide watches or even committed. Lets not forget the public shaming with people calling them everything from selfish to sinners to weak. To be blunt, I have sought little treatment for my condition because of these very reasons. I don’t want to go into the details but I identified that I had an issue in 5th grade and I truly believe if we lived in a country where I could have sought treatment without risking liberty and my life would have been much better even if I still decided I wanted to end it. Unfortunately we live in a society where delaying suicide can have consequences worse than death. In my humble opinion, advocating for the right to die is truly helping prevent senseless suicides by removing the stigma of the discussion. This board is good but I would prefer to not have to hide in the anonymity of the internet.

        With respect,

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

          Hi Chad,

          Thanks for your thoughtful, respectful comments. Apologies for my delay in posting it; I wanted to wait until I had adequate time to respond. So, here I would like to respond to your different points, using the numbering you used:

          1. I think you’re mixing apples and oranges by comparing the 25% “success” rate of 1 in 4 people who survive a suicide attempt getting better to a 20% improvement with a placebo pill for irritable bowel syndrome. Twenty percent improvement isn’t about survival; it’s about symptom reduction. In the original commenter’s case, she said she intervened with 4 people who were going to die by suicide, and one of those went on to live a “normal” life.

          2. I was referring to the original commenter’s having said that she feels responsible for the 3 people who regret being alive. That’s why I brought up people who have a heart attack or stroke. Medical professionals who treat someone for heart attack or stroke are not responsible if, through no fault of the professional, the person survives with an enduring disability such as paralysis.

          3. I think you might have a misunderstanding of acceptance and commitment therapy. It is not about accepting horrendous living conditions. It is about accepting the thoughts and feelings we experience while trying to create a life of meaning and value.

          4. I struggle with mental health professionals’ having the ability – not even ability, but obligation – to intervene when someone is at imminent risk for suicide. I recognize that it deters many people, such as you, from seeking help because they fear being committed against their will. My post In Defense of Suicide Prevention discusses my ambivalence about the tension that exists between safety and trust.

          Thank you again for contributing to the discussion, Chad!

      • Andrew Williams (AndrooUK) says:

        Heart attacks, strokes, and other physical ailments are not comparable to suicide.

        Generally, people want to survive heart attacks, strokes, and other emergencies.

        When someone wants to die, then the condition is life. Preventing someone’s death by suicide is the same as withholding treatment for another condition (that isn’t hopeless). You would be responsible for their life if you neglected providing care, because your neglect was not what they wanted. You would not be responsible for their life if you provided adequate care.

        Suicide is a traumatic event, and is not as easy as ‘well, he can kill himself later’. That really misses the point, and turns 3/4 people who want to die into fodder.

        It takes a lot to overcome our biological survival instinct, even if life is awful. Even when it is overcome, it is difficult to find information for and carry out reliable suicide.

        It is cruel that a nation would decriminalise suicide, but would prevent access to suicide methods (both information, and reliable and peaceful medications or equipment).

        It is hypocritical that some nations carry out involuntary executions, but will not carry out voluntary euthanasia. (In this case, the person who wants to die has to commit a capital crime before he has the aid of the people in his death.)

        The failure rate from most methods of suicide is surprisingly high, and not encouraging for people in countries without access to firearms or assisted dying / barbiturates.

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          Thanks for your comment. I apologize for the late posting and reply. Your comment is thought provoking and, like many other similar comments, prompts me to question my own thinking. (You can see more about that here: In Defense of Suicide Prevention.)

          One area where you and I disagree is with your belief that people who die by heart attacks and strokes want to live, and people who die by suicide want to die. Yes, in the moment, the suicidal person wants to die, but the overwhelming majority of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by a suicide. (And no, this is not because they were rendered too physically disabled by their suicide attempt to try again. Such profound disability is rare.)

          The suicidal state, for many people is a temporary crisis born of cognitive distortions, trauma, mental distress, sleep deprivation, intoxication, psychiatric illness, addiction, crisis, and/or many other potential contributors. Often, when any one of those problems is resolved, the person does not want to die.

          When I worked in a general hospital emergency room, I saw many people who were 100% intent on ending their life when brought into the emergency room involuntarily by police, but who, once they sobered up or slept a few merciful hours or received the support of family, felt entirely differently. I know that’s not the case for everybody. And I know it can take far more than a few hours for someone to regain a desire to live. But it happens. For many people, in fact, it happens, whether in hours, weeks, months, or years. And for those people, it is the same as if they had been helped through a heart attack or stroke. Their mind tried to kill them, and they survived.

      • mic says:

        Stacey, would you say the same about denying people the right to make other drastic life choices that appear to not be in their best interests, such as dropping out of school early, marrying someone who is not suitable for them, choosing the wrong course to study? What do all of those things have in common with each other, but not with suicide? The fact that people can live with lasting and profound regret as a result of the choices they made concerning those other things, but they will never regret the choice to commit suicide (assuming a scenario in which they had a method that was guaranteed to kill them).

        People should have the right to invest their welfare in their own beliefs at the time, even if it is possible that those feelings could change under different circumstances. All of the choices that we make every day are contingent upon how we are feeling at the time, and how we project that we will feel in the future. In 3 of the 4 cases, how those people did feel in the future matched how they projected that they were going to feel in the future. When they are trying to escape suffering that they find intolerable, and you (physically) force them to continue to endure it without any guarantee (or anything close to a guarantee) of being able to solve their misery, you are torturing them. How many people is it acceptable to torture in order to secure a ‘benefit’ for a minority of people who wouldn’t even feel deprived of the ‘benefit’ had we not frustrated their desires and the desires of those who would never receive that benefit?

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s all this debate about prevention of suicide. Is it right to prevent one from committing suicide or is it right to let them make their own decisions. What about the flip side. What if one person was the driving force behind someone’s suicide.
      Not doing anything to prevent, but possibly encourage suicide, antagonizing an individual to commit such act.

      [This comment was edited, per the Comments Policy. – SF]

  79. John says:

    The big problem though is if you have a mental illness that there is no effective treatment for or don’t have a mental illness.

    I have had a series of very bad events; major financial loss, end of career (as a doctor), serious cycle accident with brain injury, police case and conviction for being suicidal.
    It just seems to get worse every year and I had no problems until 6 years ago, but now seem on the edge

  80. Teresa says:

    While reading this for a minute I didn’t feel so alone I have tryed to take my own life more times then I ever like to say one more recent I regret it more then anything in the world but yet I find my self still thinking I don’t want to be alive anymore really wish people in my life would or could understand what it’s like but I feel like no one ever understands

    • Chad N. says:

      Hello, I hope this finds you as well as possible. I am glad the chat helps you, it does me too on occasion. Perhaps if you regret your attempt then it is best it didn’t succeed this time? That is a question for you to ask yourself not a statement. It was just a thought. All I ever regretted about my attempts was that they didn’t succeed. I still regret that actually. My plan has evolved though, I am trying to get myself to Europe so I can have assistance. I think that will be easier on my parents etc so perhaps it was best my earlier tries didn’t as well. I think I understand just not wanting to be alive anymore. I can’t say I honestly say I believe many people do. I feel trapped, walking a long lonely path which I can clearly see contains nothing of value to me just more sorrow and that ends only in death. Thus to me dying earlier is merely shortening the path. Is that close?

      • Teresa says:

        Yea well I thought I was just hurting my self but I did hurt my kids in the process that only just hurts more then anything in the world but we’re still here for a reason just hope to find it soon wishing you all the best 🙂

    • Brittany Odle says:

      Why do you feel that way. You are valuable Teresa. I love you as a person. Email me we can talk jesuscaresforyou777@yahoo.com
      Anyone else can write me too. I care for you

  81. Josephine says:

    Why is it negative, bitter, or a hallmark of depression to be honest about the ultimate pointlessness of life? Life is forced upon us by our biological parents. It becomes akin to that hideous quilt gifted by a matronly aunt. We’re obligated to smile and put it on display, even though we detest it.

  82. MeJo says:

    I was searching the net for information on ‘why is it so bad to want to die’ and I came across this page. When I came here I was teary eyed. Yet after reading the comments my eyes have dried and I actually feel ok. I like how people have actually addressed pain/suffering from the sufferers perspective. It makes me feel that my feelings are important. I REALLY agree with the comments that discuss aetiology of suffering. One of the things I notice about people who want to stop people from taking their own life is that wanting to take one’s own life isnt something that comes to someone flippantly or isn’t caused by a small one off pain.

    Many of those people who want to now take their own life, were once actually nurturing, optimistic, deeply unselfish and hopeful people. However; it is their very nature that brought about their suffering. Those in society that have less of the qualities mentioned above often latch on to people who have those qualities. They drain the internal resources of the very people they like. Once drained the optimistic person obviously is no longer optimistic. They’re blamed and left. However being naturally optimistic and hopeful we bounce back and restore our resources. Then the next person comes along. The cycle continues. Family doesn’t attend to our needs (emotional) indeed quite often family leaves us be as we don’t demand much. Yet we still have developmental needs. No one teaches us in our developmental stage of growth the rules of reciprocity or causality. No one protects us. We are left to be happy go lucky.

    Several years pass and the ability to bounce back lessens with each additional fall. We become less convinced about ourself. We doubt our own thinking. We start to look around and notice others who were ‘takers’ and ‘mean’ are actually having a good life. We’re the ones who are suffering. Family gets bent out of shape because we’re starting to ask questions. They don’t like our new look on life. We feel more and more isolated, afraid and alone. We still can’t fully reconcile what happened to our spirit. Were we fake? It gets very confusing. Somehow any loss is no longer a single loss it starts to reflect our entire life. We believe this so much so that within a few short years we are our own self-destructor. We can’t even remember who we were and there’s no one to tell us that ‘it’s not you that’s at fault!’ We’re trying to keep ourselves in tact but no one is on our side genuinely. It’s worse than lonely. It takes all energy to remember ‘they can’t see my thoughts! Keep myself normal!’ ‘They’re smiling at me because they like me, not because they’re making fun of me!’ We know we’re on a dark south path. We can see it. We reach out to family and ask for help. Ask for time out just to get our head together. To help so that it all doesn’t fall apart. Family don’t help. In fact they’re telling us ‘what’s wrong with you?! Why can’t you just figure yourself out?! Why can’t you be like you used to be!!’ There’s no one to turn to. Soon all of the thoughts are starting to seem real and rather than being nice and obliging as always we’re angry and short. People around us tell us ‘you’ve changed, everything ok?’ This feeds into our fears. We become more angry and defensive. This continues until everyone in our life leaves us. Then we lose our job. Then we lose all our money trying to survive. Then and only then the choice becomes ‘jump’ or ‘beg’. We call our family. We plead and beg. We tell them that we’ll be on the street unless they can help. They say yes.

    It takes a near nervous breakdown, actual life ruin for family to say yes. Then they say ‘everything will be ok’. Why does it take this?

    Why do happy optimistic nurturing children end up shattered as an adult. They are latched onto and all their energy is gone. Parents do not teach life skills because the family is too busy depending on the happy nurturing child to save the family atmosphere.

    Suffering isn’t a little thing. It comes from resignation from a life continually bouncing and not having the life skills to help oneself through falls and prevention of falls.

    I wish mental health professionals truly looked within a suffering client. They’d probably find more light in them than a functioning (“normal”) person. The normal person is this way due to having been taught the idea of reciprocity in a relationship and having been taught causality and brought up with consistent and adequate demonstrations of causality.

    Those of us suffering are doing so because we internalise and self blame. We are unaware of our worth and thus have practically begged to be seen or loved. Taking one’s own life is not done so easily. It is the saddest and yet what some consider the kindest thing we can do to relieve the pain. Yet the truly kindest thing we can do is put our needs first. Our caring first. We are not a drain on anyone. We are probably the warmest and kindest people out there. Stay warm and kind to ourself. Learn causality and reciprocity and apply it vigilantly with all dealings in the outside world.

    • Thea May says:

      Often the root cause of such a destructive life is family itself and they will kick us into the street when we are at our worst. The nurturing, optimistic, deeply unselfish and hopeful people in the family often end up being the family scapegoat. They lack proper nurturing and learn to attract and depend on people who abuse, blame and drain them of the qualities that the abusers are often lacking themselves. The cycle continues through life since we are attracted to and attract the familiar and it is often all that we know. We end up loosing ourselves as we are drained of our innate qualities, become distrustful, negative and and set in perpetual downward cycle of events. While we must learn how to value ourselves and recognise the victimisation cycle, it is another thing altogether to stop it. Some people never get an opportunity which is influenced by age, race, beauty, wealth, culture, society etc etc to foster the resources and support needed and for them death may be the only way out of a life of ongoing abuse, suffering and pain.

  83. Lee kelley says:

    I get so sick of hearing other people saying it’s selfish you’ll hurting people that’s left behind my question is do you really want me to keep living in hurt and painful depression just so I can satisfy other people’s wants. I call BS on all that I think one has the right to suit themselves .

    • Andrew Williams (AndrooUK) says:

      Yes. That’s exactly what people want. To enforce your will upon someone else is only for selfish reasons. However, you have to justify your own discomfort with religion or a vague ‘suicide is not an option’ style argument.

      When it’s someone else, they will shout ‘religion’, ‘life at all costs’, and some will say ‘go ahead and let them die’…

      When it’s a friend or family member, it’s “How could you want to leave? *I’ll miss you.*”

      I’ll miss you… that’s a common theme. Not “I want you to be happy and without pain,” but “Don’t do it… I’ll miss you… it can’t be that bad, can it? What about medication?”

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree 100%.

  84. Andrew Williams (AndrooUK) says:

    “Diagnosable mental illness.” So? Cancer is a diagnosable physical illness, multiple sclerosis is diagnosable… does that mean you should force life upon someone, or that choosing to end suffering is a bad thing?

    Any illness would distort your thinking to want to be rid of the illness.

    Having a mental illness should not prevent anyone from being able to end that suffering. There’s only so much medication can do, if it’s even prescribed. There’s only so much therapy can do, if it’s even available.

    Mental health practitioners admit that there is no magic cure, and few will admit that there are cases that are difficult or impossible to treat.

    Any adult should be given the same compassion and love we give our animals. An enduring and/or well considered wish to die should be helped, not leaving those in pain to die alone and possibly risk failure and even more suffering.

    Religious arguments are completely selfish. They are to make yourself feel better and appear virtuous, and not about anyone else. It is not your duty to ‘save’ someone from religious retribution. It is between him and his God, if he has one.

    • Heber Child says:

      Couldn’t have said it better.

    • Chad N. says:

      Well put. I just don’t believe the majority are willing to listen. I am beginning to wonder if pushback on this, aside from the religious stance you already covered, might be the result of people not wanting to admit they failed someone. Failed to improve the suicidal persons life, mood, etc. In effect they would be endeavoring to avoid survivors guilt. Sounds better than thinking they just discount the pain of another because it isn’t their own.

      • Andrew Williams (AndrooUK) says:

        Personal comfort is a major reason, I think. Someone doesn’t want the discomfort of dealing with the death of a friend or family member, so will try to stop him dying, but he won’t go out of his way to help him live, either.

        It is easier to ignore a problem and have a family member live forever, than to give the love and compassion that family member sorely wants… by either helping him live, or helping him die.

        My family are so wrapped up in themselves, I think I only saw them all give me attention the last time I was in the hospital after taking an overdose of paracetamol.

        I wonder how much of Governments’ reluctance to permit assisted suicide and euthanasia is to reduce bad investments. It takes a lot of time and resources to raise a child, and to have a young adult opt out of life is a net loss for society.

        However, the time and resources that go into preventing and treating mental health issues so that they don’t become chronic or resistant to treatment is inadequate.

        “We won’t help you die, but we won’t help you live.”

        When suicide is decriminalised, but the means of reliable and painless suicide are removed, then suicide is effectively still prohibited.

        Religion is an intellectually lazy argument from Government, followed by ‘everyone can get better’, ‘palliative pain relief’, ‘suicide is not an option (for whatever reason)’, and whatever other claptrap Government comes out with.

    • Future physician says:

      First off, I want to reemphasize a great point that Dr. Freedenthal made. She stated that, “90% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosable mental illness.” I think this is very important point when talking about why we should stop people from committing suicide. This is because it emphasizes that suicidal patients may lack the ability to make a sound decision, especially an irreversible decision such as death. Decisional capacity is defined as the ability of a patient to make their own health care decisions, based on many factors that physicians use to judge. One could argue that someone with a diagnosable mental illness might not appreciate or understand the severity of their actions. For example, in the study Anxiety Evokes Hypofrontality and Disrupts Rule-Relevant Encoding by Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex Neurons, data indicates that anxiety has an intricately selective effect on neuronal activity that supports decision making and shows that anxiety often leads to bad decision-making. So rather than allowing people to make such a permanent decision, possibly without fully understanding its weight, I think we should focus our efforts towards controlling and directing their mental health. Another great point Dr. Freedenthal brought up is that 90% of people who survived a suicide attempt did not die from suicide. This leads me to believe that suicidal intentions, although powerful and painful, are passing. I would be interested in knowing whether there was a correlation between improved mental state or well controlled mental illness with decreased desire to end one’s own life.

  85. Maio says:

    “Consider that 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide. ”
    So what? Why are assuming that means the 90% are better off alive? 1) Couldn’t I change people opinion’s on most decisions through altering their brain chem through drugs and brainwashing? 2) In order to die by suicide you have to overpower the strongest instinct it’s not like getting a cup of coffee.

  86. Cass says:

    i feel more and more like a masochist for staying alive. things just dont stop getting worse. it’s tragedy after tragedy and im so tired of the constant suffering. i think my life is really cursed, doomed to pain and despair.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      You must be going through many struggles for life to feel so painful. I hope you will consider using one of the resources that I list at http://www.SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp, so that you can connect with someone by phone, email, text or chat who can help you.

      Thanks for sharing here.

      • Andrew Williams (AndrooUK) says:

        A link for ‘immediate help’ for someone who is ‘so tired of the constant suffering’?

        The woeful failures of modern psychiatry… which are unaddressed and suppressed… should be realistically evaluated.

        When is suffering too much? Who decides? I agree that psychiatric conditions can lead to impulsive suicidal behaviour, but when it is protracted and constant, despite treatment attempts to help improve mood, then it is a terminal psychiatric illness if it has no foreseeable end date.

  87. TM says:

    I’m sure that if I were to survive an attempt, I might feel somewhat relieved. Who knows? At this point, I’m just numb and feel dead inside. Were I single with no kids, I’d probably end my life as soon as possible. I have no friends and my career is in the toilet. I’m not needed here in a world of billions of people. I wouldn’t be missed. Such is the way. I had a few ok prospects at a fulfilling life, but nothing seems to have gelled, mostly because I’m INCREDIBLY LAZY.

  88. Aaron says:

    It should be a case of being able to buy a £200 bottle of nembutal. That’s how easy and cheap it should be, in fact even cheaper, £100. I can buy it cheaper than that if I were to travel to Mexico or Peru etc. In fact risks of bringing it back to the UK aside it would still be cheaper than, for example Dignitas, to fly to mexico, buy the nembutal and fly back to the UK.

    Once again, despite the fact that we have no choice over whether we come into this world, the choice to leave it is stifled by those who worship money or those who believe a few statistics from Psychological research are the be all and end all. Research and stats by the way that are possibly heavily flawed. That 90% figure for example. I would like to see if the researchers continued to keep track of their case studies to see if they had attempted suicide since? Have they achieved it since? How long a period were the studies conducted over? How many people took part? Every suicide attempt in the world (obviously impossible)? Anyone got the answers to all this for me? No. spouting a few numbers means nothing, absolutely NOTHING.

    The Kevin Hines story is all great and lovely, but it’s one in an ocean that are untold and is not conducive as proof that the person who wrote this article is right and that all regret the decision to attempt suicide. Many, many people do go on to attempt it again and die.

    It really annoys me, these people are as self righteous as the religious crowd who say Suicide is punishable by eternal damnation when in my opinion God/Allah etc don’t exist anyway, neither do heaven or hell, therefore I have nothing to worry about.

    Besides if someone dies they won’t care anyway because they will be no more, they won’t feel pain or loss, they will feel nothing and neither will they care because they will not exist to care. What bliss.

    My reasons for wishing to get it over and done with are many including a couple of losses both recently and in the past year (just under) that I can’t get past nor can I reverse (I think at least, pretty sure though), constant mental struggles that the mental health services are failing to diagnose time and again, despite the fact I am sure I know what my problem is and have told them, financial ruin, not knowing who I am anymore and that’s to name a few. Suicide is not even illegal, yet accessing a peaceful and painless means of doing so is made so difficult it’s unreal. I’m trying to import nembutal as we speak, but it’s proving difficult. I have found a source who will ship a bottle of liquid nembutal to me, from Mexico, for a total of around £400 and whilst expensive in my opinion, it’s a damn sight cheaper than Dignitas and others and preferable to continuing this existence.

    Thankfully there are people like Dr Philip Nitschke of Exit International who believe it is the right of all to have access to a safe, reliable and painless means of exit. He believed it should be the right of all adults who make the decision logically, of their own volition and not restricted only to those who are terminally ill.

    To those who believe these things are temporary, please don’t patronise me. This is my choice and no one else has any say in the matter. How dare anyone try and insinuate otherwise. In the words of John Stuart Mill;

    “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign”

    Couldn’t have put it better myself. This whole topic makes me so angry and frustrated.

    • Aiah says:

      “Thankfully there are people like Dr Philip Nitschke of Exit International who believe it is the right of all to have access to a safe, reliable and painless means of exit.”


      “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

      Bravo! Yes, these sentiments–and they are no less valid than the prevalent sanctity-of-life sentiment (rather than any objective, empirical fact)–are becoming more and more popular around the world. There is no “valid” refutation to the assertions above, neither in the sciences nor in philosophy. Every type of counter-argument rests on mere personal opinions that happen to currently be common (though no other popular sentiment is deemed objectively true). Consequently, more governments are recognizing that no other entity (professional, governmental…) should have command over an individual’s evaluation and determination of his/her own life.

      Like many other rights movements that challenged assumptions of right/wrong and, therefore, personal autonomy, this one will win ultimately, too, because there are no good enough reasons for it not to. Religion and psychology and other transcendentalisms simply cannot force everyone to believe the same things, especially in a world that is broadly riddled with corruption and social harms humanity either doesn’t want to stop or doesn’t know how to stop.

      Thank you for being brave enough to speak up.

    • Andrew Williams (AndrooUK) says:

      It costs £15 or £20 for a lethal dose of pentobarbital. Maybe £75-£150 for two medical assessments, or one medical and one psychiatric assessment. Some miscellaneous administration charges.

      The expensive part would be the funeral.

      The true cost to society for young adults is a lost investment. Government wouldn’t otherwise care about anyone dying if it weren’t costly for them. For the elderly, really it is a massive cost saving effort… considering Governments import so may immigrants now to try to plug the pension defecits. It’s only fear of public opinion and backlash that they don’t offer suicide on demand for the elderly and permanently disabled.

      Considering Governments don’t want to lose their investment, you’d think they would make more effort with mental health treatment and prevention… giving people medications that work very well (older classes), and not be so risk averse and robotic to take the safest and therefore easiest route for them. (A doctor would rather you kill yourself with your own rope than risk a more effective treatment that you might kill yourself with.)

      Litigation and publicity is a scourge to certain medical conditions, and most psychiatric conditions. It generates risk averse and/or fraudulent psychiatry.

      Good luck with Mexico.

  89. Ellen says:

    This is great. And I respect your position however. I have an incurable Disease which is driving me to financial ruin to the point of choosing if I can in fact continue treatment. I cannot simply because money has run out. I need to end this agony. I’m facing financial destitution. When it’s like this I have to think of more than myself. I cannot leave my family homeless when there is nothing more we can do. I’m over this. I’m the one suffering daily. I’m the one stacking up the overwhelming costs. So no. I’m not interested in help for saving me but help to complete the task at hand.

  90. me says:

    you say you would care but you wouldnt even know

  91. Paul says:

    When someone is suffering and it is growing worse all the time then it is natural to want to go, and that is why Oregon has an assisted suicide law. The thing that makes it good in my opinion is that doctors are required to do something to help with the suffering so that they are given a chance at life. It is the suffering that makes the mind think such thoughts as I should not be here. The same thoughts that most animals have before they die, we even are encouraged to give our pets a peaceful farewell when they are suffering and there is really nothing that can be done to help them any longer. However being the litigious society that we are and also because too many want the government to be their daddy when they are not able to solve problems on their own. People generally suffer needlessly, and there are exceptions for things such as hospice care for stage 4 cancer for those that live in some of the major cities, and they can get high levels of morphine till they decide to checkout on their own. I refer it this way as they are almost gone and just want to spend a last few minutes with someone before they go. However, those that are not close to San Jose and other places with the best of care. Those people suffer the worst. In Russia for example, military people with terminal cancer are not able to get the pain relief due to international restrictions and restrictions in Russia as well. This is a world wide problem, and the best country to die in from what I read is England and the UK, the USA is in the top 5, so is Australia, and New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Canada, etc. Basically the countries that are at the top for use of pain medications. There are some parts of the world were there is no relief from pain other than what is available from drug dealers at a high cost, according to multiple sources on palliative care. This is mostly due to the enforcement of drug laws to stop trafficking in narcotics. Part of the law at the UN was to make sure that there was legal access, but the cost to do that in most countries is prohibitive. It is very difficult in Mexico as well I know someone his mom is going through what I am however I have a good pain doctor helping me, something that she does not have access to. As my wife used to put it (till I lost my job), be careful at work, you know they shoot horses when they become disabled. As in Animal Farm, and this is a good reading about the problems of socialism and over reaching government written by George Orwell. There are many other short books that do give this problem a perspective, and they have unsurprisingly all been written in the last 100 years. Back then most things that are illegal and regulated today were quite legal and easy to get, then came the outlaw of liquor then it all changed for the worst things have been going downhill for the common citizen since then. Just as the old saying absolute power corrupts absolutely. Also there are no checks and balances when it comes to government agencies, they set their own rules and enforce them. Only rarely does congress even question them on the things that they do that harm many. Does Senator Joe McCarthy ring a bell to anyone? He basically ran the UN-American activities committee, and many people lost their jobs and were unable to find work because they were suspected communists, and there were a few but most were not. That really does not matter to the average person till they loose everything because they were called into be a witness in a witch hunt, and then they find out that they are also suspect. That is the out of control war on drugs, it can’t be won… it is a power play where most are the looser, same with the war on terror, it is something that also can’t be won but there is trillions to be made for a small number of companies, and all of us loose our civil rights as a result. Personally I have no fear of terrorists in the USA, as they are very unlikely to kill me or even harm me or anyone that I know. We are more likely to be struck by lightning. However there are some that are targets, and some places that are targets. Basically anything that calls out to foreigners, Corporate America if you were to get a job at such a place you would get paid tax free many times what you could earn doing the same job at home… However you would have to watch your back at all times when there including travel to and from the work site, and also in and out of that country. Usually people that take such jobs are retired military, that are still quite young. They have put in their number of years that they signed up for, and they can go back and earn many times more. As all of those jobs require a security clearance, and that is one of the benefits that people get in the military, at least from all of those that I have talked to with an honorable discharge (while we are taking classes together in college).

    One of the hard realities of the world that we are never told about as children is what the real world is like, and quite often our parents do not even know the most of it, but I will leave that with there are many loosers in any conflict and often it is those that were not even involved. Also determine the source of the message before paying attention to it, as this tell you the slant that they are giving the message, and lastly it comes down to that the only person that you should fully trust is yourself, as others under certain conditions may use what you tell them against you no matter how subtle. This holds doubly true when talking to those that are employed by the government, and above all most people consider most of their work just a job and for the most part are interested in covering themselves for legal liability. However there are exceptions to this, and you will know because they will do things to help you when others will not. Also those most helpful never ask leading questions so they can get something out of you, but are most likely to say not to mention something to others for your own benefit. Also how you appear in attitude is more important than how you actually feel, and this goes along with what someone sees from you in the first 10-15 seconds determines how they actually see you, no matter how false that it really is. Sadly quite often the only person that can do the most to protect you is yourself, and it also helps to know and have a personal relationship with a psychologest in your medical plan as that can save you and your family lots of greif in the future. It also helps to have a good lawyer, as those that are innocent need a lawyer more than those that are guilty of a crime. That is because innocent and guilty are decisions of the court and really makes no difference if you committed a crime or not. That is because it is far easier to get a confession out of someone that has not committed any crimes than someone that has in the past and knows what not to say so they can stay free. As quite often most guilty verdicts do not involve a trial and also evidence that you did not do it is often suppressed. To prove my point look on YouTube for a video called something like “Why you should never talk to police” also “you can’t talk yourself out of a ticket”. The best ones are done by law schools, lawyers, and former police officers. Keep in mind that most police are good, but all it takes is one bad one to ruin your life. I am bringing this up mainly because of the name of the topic here, and you do not want the police to take you away on suicide watch. They will if you are seen as an immediate threat to yourself, and that is exactly why I mentioned most everything that I have. You are in the clear if you say you fear for your life due to your poor treatment by someone or some company etc, and it sometimes helps to say that you have people that will likely die due to they are disabled and unable to function well enough to care for themselves if you are not able to etc. also that you fear for their life. Basically what I am getting at is don’t talk your way into a situation that it takes a team of lawyers and a couple of outside psychologists to get you out of. That being giving a date that you might end your life etc. Those kind of statements get people all the time, and I have heard a read a few. Also as the old saying goes most people will do the easiest thing they can to complete their given task, that is unless they will get paid more to drag it on, and most police during an investigation can and do look for that overtime pay. I know because I have known a few police officers over the years, and also went to school with a few. The agenda is not your safety as much as society as a whole, and as such they look out for fellow officers first.

    • Aiah says:

      Paul, thank you for your detailed comment. I feel most will misread what you’ve shared, but there’s nothing any of us can do about this. I am a board certified neurologist and regularly do psychiatric consults (when behavioral aberrations are likely the consequence of physically identifiable neural pathology or trauma). I’ve posted elsewhere in this and other threads on self determination over the years largely as a counter-voice to the prevalent–and severely misguided, both philosophically/ethically and scientifically–psychological pathology model of mental health. What I express never goes over well and has been strongly censored by members of the professional psychiatry/psychology communities. It is only my standing as a department chair and a well published professional myself that has saved my career from unabashed threats from those who cannot produce any empirically sound arguments or evidence objectively defending their platform of psychological pathology, including their fabricated definitions of mental illness wholly uncorroborated by any rigorous causal arguments the rest of the world of science requires in order to substantiate claims.

      This is relevant because the perspectives and sentiments and values of these psychological professionals are then used to exploit public gullibility (the public largely believes or acts in accordance with what credentialed professionals say) and manipulate laws and policy (so what free citizens can do is circumscribed by the UNempirical, scientifically UNsound pronouncements of a few–despite the blatant conflicts of interest; maybe you’ve read the reports of the recent internal memos from Goldman Sachs about what poor business practice curing patients is). Still, our culture sacrifices personal freedom on the altar of the appearance of ethical responsibility. Never mind that very many of the precipitants of suicidality have their genesis in government policy and the way communities treat the vulnerable. We can’t or won’t change society, so we’ll instead vilify or pathologize those who succumb to society’s treatments, thereby alleviating the rest of us from any culpability.

      People need to understand what you’ve pointed out about law enforcement–that it is NOT there to protect the individual (but rather the State), and that in psychiatric settings, as elsewhere, what one says–HOW one says something–provides fuel AGAINST oneself. Yes, everyone should have a trustworthy lawyer. As much as that’s an apparent oxymoron, it’s also financially beyond the means of most citizens. Which is all the more of a reason for people to protect themselves by not saying things likely to have their rights removed. I have been present in clinic many times when innocent statements by reasonably bereaved patients or family members have resulted in unconscionable incarceration (“civil commitment”). And you are dead correct that it takes boatloads of cash, time, personal fortitude, and exceedingly competent and willing legal help to TRY to undo such damage. Many such victims, including a psychiatric nurse whom I’d known since my own medical residency, find their careers over after a long and costly and bitter legal battle. All because someone said a few wrong words aloud. Talk about the thought police.

      I’ve said it frequently before: psychiatry/psychology have become the modern State-religions. We no longer burn people at the stake for being witches. Instead, we figuratively set them on fire for thinking in ways the rest of us–or more accurately the unreasonably powerful psychiatric/clinical psychology lobbies–deem inappropriate. All this despite our hollow rhetoric about personal and intellectual freedoms. I cannot agree with you more: we must all protect ourselves as best we can at ALL times. Unfortunately, as it probably was gravely dangerous to let slip a disbelief in god during the functional theocracy of the early Colonies, it is today often dangerous to let slip any comment betraying one’s commitment to one’s self-ownership and one’s disavowal of the absurd, unscientific postulating of the new church of professional psychology.

      Thanks, again, for your comment and for your patience with my reply. As always, I should also thank this blog owner for her courage in NOT censoring comments diametrically opposed to the prevalent, official policies and practice of modern psychology and psychiatry.

    • Paul says:

      Aiah, I thought that I would share with you the things that make me question life here in this country. It starts with the idea that others saying I know you feel pain, and it can’t be that bad. It is the condescending attitude that they have towards people, as a result quite honestly: The only thing that I see from them is that they most definitely do not want what is best for me or my family, nor do they have a clue to how many of the things that I and others have had to give up that we enjoy because we are no longer able to do them. There are a number of things that I live for in life, but to many of those people no matter how hard I had to work to get things, and how much they cost they call it all garbage. This is bascially calling me garbage, and I know that you and many others here know where I am going with this. Also I will admit that if at some point that one of these so called do gooders were to somehow get me locked up, I would loose everything on the earth that holds me here. I ask all how can this be helping anyone. I see day after day the increasing number of deaths from people that use pain medications, and to be honest I understand why, they have been cut back so far on medication that death looks better by a long shot to continued and increasing torture from unbearable pain. I would really like those that think all these people are abusing pain medications to never be allowed any, under any condition. They are not deserving of this life saving thing, as I would probably not be alive today if it were not for pain medications. There are other medications to help my other problems, but quite frankly I do not think our government wants people to enjoy life and have a reason to live that is why they are making it so difficult on people to get medications that allow people to live functional enjoyable lives.

    • Aiah says:

      Thanks, Paul, for your vulnerability and honesty. I empathize with everything you’ve said. As a physician, I can confirm that, at least here in the US, what you’ve shared about the distorting fear over habituation with effective pain medication is serious. Only roughly 2% to 5% of patients on subscription pain medication (opioids, benzodiazepines) develop dependency. But despite recent publications that implicate these drugs in increased morbidity among specifically elderly patients (cognitive and coordination problems), the fear of their effects drives poor pain management for very, very many patients. Nor are these drugs unique in their potential for major consequences. Other drugs wrongly assumed to be innocuous (like Ibuprofen and even Acetaminophen…) are statistically associated with major physiological complications with moderately-high, long-term use.

      You’re also right that for many patients, effective pain management becomes one of, if not the, most critical component of leading normal lives. This is an important issue; in our university’s studies on suicide, there is a significant and growing effect on decision-making attributable specifically (and independently) to poor pain management. Once the emotional and social effects secondary to injury (non-cancer states) are added into the association, it is clear that people are dying because they are in unbearable pain that ruins their lives.

      You are also right that, much like mental health professionals who cannot offer (some) patients effective relief from persistent and paralyzing emotional suffering, the medical establishment and the government callously offer vacuous “advice” to sufferers based on speculation about what should work–but which actual sufferers consistently report doesn’t. Worse, those for whom the advice doesn’t work often find themselves vilified as “difficult patients” or willing victims. The effects are populationally catastrophic though easy to ignore because unless someone is suffering grave pain, she/he doesn’t give it much thought. And by the time someone DOES become a chronic sufferer, it is often too late to advocate effectively.

      Most tragic about all this is that people must either endure years, decades even, of unabated pain simply because other human beings have decided for sufferers what is bearable, or sufferers must seek out their own relief. Our university’s government school and public health school did joint research showing that ineffective pain control drives a robust illicit drug market. This evidence is reproducible and global.

      Together, this should tell us two things: (1) despite even our best intentions, we (both psychological therapists and medical specialists) have NOT been able to sufficiently diminish pain in a large and growing proportion of our patients; and (2) deciding for others what suffering is bearable consigns many to lives so hellish they are willing to break federal law and risk legal and financial ruination to seek relief. They wouldn’t do this if we could/would offer them good enough alternatives. But yet still, professionals are using hackneyed and frankly irrelevant anecdotes about other people who were once close to suicide but survived and are happy today as justification for depriving others of free personal life choices.

      I hope you find relief and peace soon wherever you are. Thank you for adding your testimony.

  92. Lem says:

    You don’t have a clue if you aren’t living it! Especially if your husband and daughter want nothing to do with you!

  93. Dante says:

    I am so goddamned sick of that Kevin Hines story. It’s been more than 20 years of me wanting to die and having to hear about that response.

  94. Theresa says:

    Thank you for your comment. Since i found out i was born in the west indies with an american father who has cherokee ancestry. I am a mixture of all races and i have had only one doctor to actually help me with only three neds. One migraine called fiorecet as needed and hydrocodone as needed and diazapam for muscle spasms as needed. He retired early because of the government. He tried to fight for us chronic pain patients but the other docs were chicken. My pain was controlled and i was told to go ahead a fill every prescription and lock them up and i did and had 5 years of meds i never got dependent on until they forced me to take the crap every day. Now im on 9 prescriptions. My condtion flare up have progressed into now joint pain as well. I keep fighting but sometimes its hard. Damn this pain. I want to live but not suffering or slobbering all over myself. No im not sad nor depressed. Just relentless pain. Which my psych eval proved nothing wrong with me mentally Happy usually as long as i can control the pain in my body. Without this every single day pain. I make others smile. I am a CNA

    • paul says:

      Theresa, I belive you, and I am sorry for what you are going through. There are a few things that might help you such as moving to a country such as Netherlands or urogray one that is more conserned about harm than making things illigal. Also I seriously do wish that all of those that think the majority of people on pain are just drug addicts seeking drugs, every single one of them should feel all the pain of everyone that is unable to get relief from pain from those people in all countries. This quite honistly is probably too nice for most of them. They also should themselfs not be allowed any anestetics or pain killers for any reason. After all people should follow the rules they want all other people to live by instead of being treated as more equal than everyone else. Pain medicines in my view should be available to people in pain just as insulin is available to diebetics. They need it to improve their life, and normal people would only seek it for that. Also even for those that are able to get pain killers, quite often it is so low that people are no longer allowed to get much enjoyment out of life. Keep in mind I see the rights of those who want to abuse their bodies less than those who want to make the most of life. Pain meds do help people as they age, as aging alone is painful, so painful that it is not uncommon for the life of people to be far less in countries where pain relief is not available. If doctors and others were really serious about improving life people would be suffering far less, and I would not feel that I would be far better off with no doctors than what I am able to find near where I live. They want me to be miserable and non functional. My ADD is so bad that I am going to loose my medi cal coverage because I can’t figure out where and how to give them documentation about what my forms of income are. I do not worry, as doctors here will not even presctibe the correct asthma medication for me. I often spend more hours a day sleeping than awake, unless pain is keeping me awake. Such as the earache that I have had over a month. Since they will not help me with this I find what I can to help with the Infection. I know that Aleister Crowley died and was accused of all the drugs killing him. But he would have lived a few decades more if he could have got hold of things such as Marax and Ethromycin. The heroin that he used was started by doctors treating his caughing. Now we use codine for the same effect. I blame doctors and medication makers of the time for his heroin problem. He did not need that, as he was not using it for pain. That basically says the problem things are approved for a use, even though most of us would be medically better off with other things. Even if experimental than what is usually prescribed such as the asthma medication Advair, it is not to be used for people that have asthma attacks with mucus in their chest, but this is often ignored by doctors. All of this only is an issue because we allow doctors here to be the only ones that can prescribe, and quite honistly a pharmisist can do just as good if not better jub at doing that.

  95. Theresa says:

    Please dont misunderstand this. So many people including myself have chronic pain issues without cures. Think about waking up every day in a pain that drs dont believe is there because all test come back normal. So they assume its all in your mind so they send you to a psychiatrist and they put you on all these antidepressants which still the pain is there and instead of never been depressed a day in your life. Yes people get sad. A death in the family a marriage or relationship break up. It is truly makes you sad. Most people as like myself the sadness goes away after exceptance of this life changing experience. My father suffered with cancer and fought so hard to live but lost his battle. I was in church the following day not sad because we were expecting this outcome. I knew my Dad fought as hard as he could and yes i missed getting up that morning without him but he was not suffering anymore. He is the reason i am who I am today. I help those that can’t do for themselves anymore but i suffer also in Chronic pain for the past 20 years. My husband now has watched me suffer in so much pain. I beg God to take me home soon. Do i want to die of course not. I love every thing the sunshine on my face. Long walks around my neighborhood and going to the beach. Out on our boat. Cook outs. The night air and star gazing. I also love to write. So if chronic pain suffers cant get relief and my husband has watched drs put me on antidepressants and had to tell them not put his wife on any more because they do nothing but cause me to be depressed. He saved me from that nightmare and my evaluation the following visit was great. In moderate pain back then and no antidepressant. I had a great childhood loving parents and 20 years ago i caught a bad flu virus. It was def the flu and took the tamaflu med and soon was better. Then a couple of months later i started feeling over tired. So i added some vitamins changed my diet for a while. Then insomnia started. I had always had migraines as a child and also a slow digestive tract. They assume now that it was caused by my birth mother being poor and i was extremely malnutrition. My father and step mom took me to the states and i was never really ever sick. So depression did or hadnt started any of tbese pain conditions. I was super wife and mother but my second marriage broke up because of a dr. Telling my ex i was lying about being in pain. I was just being lazy. Even though xrays showed degenerative arthritis in my neck that would leave me in the bed staring at the ceiling because my head was so heavy it hurt to lift it off a pillow and on occassions i have use a soft neck brace when my neck gets inflamed. Then an mri showed two bulging disk in low back. That was found after i couldnt walk myself to the bathroom one morning. I can handle both those issues and the migraines at once without anything but some advil. At least back in the day i could. I dont like medications and i def hate to have a needle poked me to ease my pain off. Before my son was born i found at 20 weeks i needed to terminate my pregnancy so they could deal with my cervical cancer. My child had a chance and i believed Jesus could and would save us both so i got procedures done to keep cutting away at my cervics and ended up on bedrest the remainder of my pregnancy from june 15th to aug 5. I spent in the hospital due to constant hemorhaging. Horrible because arthritis stffens a body up if you are not allowed to get up and move around and in very terrible pain so a team of physicians had to find sometbing safe for my baby that i could take. I didnt know the difference between an opiet or asprin to be honest back then. I just knew i trusted my docs. They had me on a narcotic and while in the hospital i got to go home for two hours before the bleeding started and passed out on the comode and back to the hospital. I had started feeling tbis pain all over my body in the hospital. I thought it was because i wasnt my active self anymore. I had five kids at home and missed home terribly. My son was born the 3rd induced labor to save both of us. Something was seen on the ultrasound. So they gave me the shots to speed up his lungs but only one matured fully. One had some catching up to do. He stayed in nicu for 12 days and they made me nest because they tested me for drugs the day of admission the social worker said and i tested positive for opiets. I asked her what was an opiet. She called me a liar and i asked to be released immediately. I asked her which day of admission and i said lady did you even read my chart because if you had all drugs came from that hospital that they had given me day of admission was the same day i was released for two hours i was away from their staff. I was labeled because no body fully read my chart. Also because of a nurse mixing up urine samples i got another label. Believe it or not but it happens and they wouldnt retest me either. Which was so unfair. With trying to work in pain losing my family because of someones elses opinions and mistakes. I think if a person is in chronic pain and its constant and it burts just to move. We should have a right to end it. Im still fighting fibromyalgia and the flare ups are getting worse and no do i want to die. No i am like so many suffering endlessly and i can handle pain two kids no drugs 8 kidney stones. But fibro pain is all over the body. It never ends. You only get partial relief from it but flare ups its an er visit. So im still not depressed. This is my life and im still fighting but i pray God takes me home soon because its worse than having a baby. At least you lnow that pain ends. So dont judge medical issues you dont unferstand or test dont show it. God knows i want to live just in a little less pain. Dont blame all pain issues you cant find on depression. Suicide will definely be on the rise the for chronic pain patients because drs dont have the balls to fight for us against congress and the stats are wrong. The cdc doubled the opiet epidemic. Its heroine and fentanil killing our people in the US. That woman on tbe news said her son started with pain pills from her cabinet. I doubt it. I am sorry for their loss but everyone knows what goes on in high school and omg really the college parties. I live in a college and beach town. These kids when they get caught they arnt going to tell on their dealers. Has the whole country lost their mind God gave them. Why go to college all those years to practice medicine and try to cure folks and if they cant at least make their life as comfortable as possible so they have some quality of life. I just lost a fibro friend. Her fight is over. Mine will be over. I have a great busband now. My children are grown and just trying to enjoy my grandbabies. Fibro pain does progress then they give you a new diagnosis complex pain syndrome. Have a wonderful nigjt.

  96. Brittany says:

    Hey friends I know how it feels wanting to die and give up I had many of those times. I was in boarding school, lonely, no friends, bullied, grandparents would not let me go out to the movies or anything just study for school, I did not have my parents only calling them. I know how you feel it hurts like there are no words. But I am a living testimony friends. I wanted to do a lot of things I do not want to write them because it might give you ideas but I know what it feels to be empty crying where no one is listening, want love and attention. Oh I was there. 🙁 I am here to talk to you guys please if you are thinking of suicide please get help call the suicide lines. Your life is soooooooooooooo precious. There are many things that we do not understand why things happen but if you hold on it will work out. I am here for you guys, to be a friend, pray for you. I know how it feels trust me. <33333333 email me jesuscaresforyou777@yahoo.com

  97. Brittany says:

    here took it from the author If you need immediate help, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK) in the U.S., or the emergency services in your area if you live elsewhere. You can also check out the Resources page for a list of other places where you can receive help by phone, text, email, or online chat.

  98. Anonymous says:

    It comes and goes, but not really. I mean, the desire to die, at least for me, is always there. It’s just sometimes it’s quiet enough that I’m not actively thinking about doing something about it. If I ever got the nerve to really do it and someone stopped me … I mean, I know it would make that person feel really great about themselves, but what about me? Then I’m back to living in this hell every day. Is that person who “saved” me going to help? Going to make my life more bearable? No, they are off feeling that they “saved” someone and are a hero and I’m left here to suffer.

    • Tom H says:

      I very much appreciate your comment in particular because it addresses something staunch anti-suicide advocates fail to. While SOME people who at one point were suicidal express gratitude for others’ intervention and for having survived, this is just not true about all people who were unsuccessful at committing suicide. More to the point, the assumption that the risks of perturbing people like you are worth it because most (assumption) suicidal people are glad not to have succeeded in their attempts is statistically unfounded, as we are learning is true of very, very much “psychological research,” because, for one thing, many of the reports of how people feel post-intervention are lost to distant follow-up. Yet more, other reviews of psychology dogma disclose strong professional and individual therapist evaluative biases that transfer onto both patient and the community at large–we tend to accept and echo professionals’ sentiments even when, otherwise, these are not authentically our own because we feel these professionals are “right” so we should follow their lead. Worse, many of these professionals’ sentiments are scientifically and philosophically untenable.

      You are ultimately correct: “it would make that person feel really great about themselves, but what about me? Then I’m back to living in this hell every day. Is that person who ‘saved’ me going to help? Going to make my life more bearable? No, they are off feeling that they ‘saved’ someone and are a hero and I’m left here to suffer.” Absolutely NO human being–president, physician, therapist, law enforcer, court official…–should have the power to impose moral or life-evaluative judgments on another free adult citizen. It baffles my mind that educated adults in this Western society founded on ideas of personal liberty presume otherwise.

      Thanks for the reminder and best of luck to you.

    • Paul says:

      Anonymous, I do get what you are saying. There is a reason that you are suffering and it is even without knowing you it is because you do not have enough money to solve the problem or are not in an area that people of low means are able to even get help. The God in the USA is not one in heaven even if heaven were here on earth. The God often worshiped is Mammon or as many know it money. This is just a fact of life for all of us, and does go against the ten commandments in the bible and against the Quran as well. I only mention this as it does help to explain why you, me and many others in this world suffer, even Buddha said that life itself is suffering, as for one thing to live something else suffers. That is why a religious sect called Jain does not eat meat, they do not want to cause the suffering of animals for their benefit. I mention all this about suffering to help explain the human condition, All animal life on this planet eats something, and humans are no exceptions. However humans are the only ones on this planet that feed off of the suffering of other humans. This is not usually done by killing, but when the killing happens it is usually with knifes, guns, hammers, poisons, it can be the result of wars declared or undeclared. We often feed off of the work of others. This is for the most part done in a socially acceptable way and when not is sometimes ends in prison for the offenders. I ask you are you doing it because you see yourself as part of the natural life cycle of humans that is found acceptable by many, or by some untreated illness that is best treated in locations where people care more about life than a quick buck. If it is because you see yourself as part of the cycle of suffering and it is not related to pain, there is hope in Jainism and other faiths that are about ending suffering, if not your best hope is to sell all the things you can and move to a place where you are accepted if you have any will to live and get help, or as you stated death. If that is the case consider moving to Oregon as they have doctor assisted suicide there, and as part of the program there they are required to do what they can to end your suffering first, and then it is all your choice beyond that. I think that is a great thing that they are required to help those that are in pain instead of like most places just let people suffer to the point where death is a persons best option. When a state does not look at ending suffering first, they are promoting death as that is the ultimate result of being more worried about addiction, money and so forth than human life. They say that they are pro-life, but to me and many others it looks like they are pro-death. I realize and others as well that it is not normal to prefer death and suicide, unless the suffering is great and they are given really no other option. As such I am saying that as a result of policies and the way they are carried out they are promoting suicide, and it is not people preferring it to life because they were given the best options. I know in Star Trek, there is a saying “Live long and Prosper”, However a much better saying is “Live well and Prosper” as a long life with only suffering to the extreme is as you say worse than death. I hope that you can find what you need to life a well life, even though it is not all that easy to find it where you live you may find it elsewhere. This is the main reason that people are all over the planet, they move to where life is better for them.

    • Andrew Williams (AndrooUK) says:

      “We won’t help you die, but we won’t help you live.”

      Government doesn’t want to lose its investment in you, but it also doesn’t put enough into prevention or cure… just some crappy SSRIs that turn you into a ghost, if they do anything at all. Therapy is a distant hope for the UK’s NHS… waiting times are so long that depressive episodes (if you have not had too many episodes) would spontaneously resolve, even without medication.

      Trust in mental health services is so low… and with good reason. Risk avoidance is high in socialised medicine and litigious societies, as if a patient does not have a choice, he is stuck with the same doctor whether or not he takes a risk… his doctor therefore will not take risks.

      Classical medications like MAOIs can really bring a person back to life, even with severe depression… but they are so hard to get because a doctor doesn’t want to be sued if you kill yourself with them.

      The more episodes of depression you have, the less likely it is you will ever recover… and will have more and worse episodes that last longer each time. It has to be stopped in the first episode, with heavy duty medication and therapy, to prevent any future episodes and to give the best chance at maintaining a fulfilling life.

      Don’t worry, though. Your saviour will feel good for a lifetime about saving you… even if your life then is a shitshow that never seems to end.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe they saved your life in more ways then one.
      The person who saved you doesn’t need to help. They didn’t even need to save you. That person did it out of the kindness of their hearts. The person does not consider oneself a hero but you should. Are you really suffering though? Or just a prisoner of your mind?

  99. rm says:

    my personal 2 cents as some one who feels suicide is a personal choice, a living beings right to not only choose how its own light goes out, but the degree of dignity it wishes to maintain while doing so:

    my flesh, my rights

    end of story =p


  100. Jose says:

    Corrections for auto correct and not concentrating. It’s not all mental, my physical health has impacted all areas of my mental health and it’s just bad enough that’s it’s physical alone. It’s very draining. Yup, agree Rob, Paul and Tom

    • Theresa says:

      Please fight as long as you can to live. I suffer so with chronic pain and i want to live just with a little quality of life. Im not depressed have no mental issues but i have so many chronic pain issues. I want to be your friend not ur hero. Just soft hugs because with my disease thats all i can do most of the time.

  101. Jose says:

    It’s not mental. What about when it is chronic pain that no one really understands to try and figure out. Agree with Paul wrote on (about governments, though he stated US, control, money, that we’re just a coin) 19/01/18. Also Tom H, and I’m too tired and forgetting what am saying. I am 35 and suffering unpredictable disabling pain. I would rather have no life than this quality.

    • Paul says:

      I have lived with chronic pain for about a decade, and the only thing that I can see that comes is more pain and more difficulty getting enough relief from the pain to be able to breath properly and walk somewhat normally. Anymore there is less and less reasons for me to even be here. It is not that I want to die, it is I want to put an end to the suffering that is forced on me and so many others. In addition to the corruption that rules this world. I hear many religious groups talk about hell, and I have thought about it myself. I can honestly say that hell is an improvement to the live that many of us live here on this earth. That is because in hell we are punished for the evil that we do, and here on earth we are punished for the evil that others do, and not so much what we do. If you are basically good, hell is better than here. What people need to keep in mind is that the most dangerous are the ones that create the laws and write the history. I will say that one of the reasons I have no children is that I would not want a child of mine to grow up worse off than me, and to suffer things in childhood that I did not as a child because of control freaks.

      Also I read and hear about people being worried about drug dealers, I can say that they are quite often easy people to get along with and are more open with people about what they are getting into more than doctors are when it comes to using the medications that they prescribe. I have not bought from drug dealers, but have known a number of them personally over the years. The reason they exist is that they are filling a market where one exists. They are basically the pharmacist to those that can’t afford to get medical help for their problems from regular doctors. Taking all kinds of tests means lots of money out of pocket, that did not in the not too far past. It was affordable in the past to get x-rays and other tests, but not anymore. I was born without medical coverage, and all of the costs including the hospital were under $300, but now days that could easily be $60000 or more. Most people do not have the ability to pay what is asked of them. I can now see why people would rather die than go on, if life is nothing but endless suffering. Even The Church of Satan does not promote suicide, they say the only reason for one to end their life is to end the endless suffering, with no possibility of it ending. In other words, if someone is not able to get any enjoyment out of life, and that there is no possibility of any enjoyment of life in the future. Why Christians and others are promoting suffering of the masses is beyond me, when Christ is a healer. We really could use someone like Christ today, ones that are healers. Right now in medicine it is about treatment time and time again instead of healing to get as much money as possible off of each and everyone of us. I say that life was given to us to enjoy and enjoy it with others, but quite often we are too often prevented from doing so by laws that we are told are put into place to so called protect us. That is a lie that not even the devil himself would say, but many accept it as fact. I’m not sure how much longer I will be around, as I am here more for those I care about than myself anymore. Also we live in a world where it is acceptable to bear false witness against people, as lies are perfectly acceptable as a form of extortion in this world. Only way we could have Heaven here on earth is to live a great life without the need for money. This is what many have said in the past, and there are some trying to make it a reality here on earth now. The main thing that needs to happen is that all things mandated upon us, should not need to be paid by us, but those that are mandating them. Republicans talk about no unfunded mandates, then turn around and force them upon us, and same with the democrats.

  102. Paul says:

    Stacy, I have been thinking about what it would take for most normal people to not think of ever committing suicide, but I do not believe that our elected officials in our country will ever allow it, and that is for people to be treated fairly, and allow them to be able to at the very least be able to care for their own selves. We now live in a world that has far more concern for rules and laws to regulate people than allowing them to be able to be functional and care for themselves. Why would our ancestors for over 100,000 years of self medicating be a crime? That is because our lives really no longer matter, and we know this. If our lives really mattered we would be able to learn to provide for ourselves in all ways. Now days it is a crime to do much of the things that our ancestors did to stay alive that harms none. Since this is the case I see far less than I used to and will look the other way when there is no personal benefit for me to do anything else. I see the Mafia, and local gang members as a non threat to me compared to the FDA. Also I am sure that many other people now days feel the same way.

    • Tom H says:

      Paul, you wrote, “I have been thinking about what it would take for most normal people to not think of ever committing suicide, but I do not believe that our elected officials in our country will ever allow it, and that is for people to be treated fairly, and allow them to be able to at the very least be able to care for their own selves.” I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’ve been arguing something similar, which is that rather than forcefully committing individuals intent on committing suicide as a way to “protect” them (all the while subjecting them to horrific so-called medical treatments against their will and removing their other freedoms from them), the psychiatric community (and therapists–anyone, really–can also begin the “civil commitment” process with a simple threatening phone call to the authorities) together with the rest of the community ought to work on making our communities places people WANT to stay alive to keep experiencing. But, of course, human civilizations can’t do that yet. Or we don’t want to. There are people who enjoy hurting others and our governments, despite their rhetoric, care more about money and power than citizens’ quality of life. Nor can we stop people from reasoning that other inevitable life challenges are worth it. Some, for example, simply don’t want to face the horrors of old age–chronic pains; worsening diseases; the indignity of being increasingly discounted; the loss of autonomy; frequent financial disaster, and abandonment by family, friends, and community just to name a few.

      So why are we acting shocked that some people would rather die than experience chronic poverty, or have to work for decades in fields they hate while their bodies suffer injuries and ongoing pain for low wages–just because of competition? Why are we so surprised that some of the undesirables among us who have the SAME desires for affection and intimacy and companionship but who, through no behavioral fault of their own, have been relegated to the scrapheap of humanity would prefer not to live than to suffer every single day from unabated loneliness which we already know is profoundly painful? Why are these professionals demanding that others live lives no one would choose for their children and which no one wants for her-/himself?

      I’ve read some of these professionals’ personal recountings of their own experiences with suicidal thoughts. While I sympathize with their own experiences of pain and applaud their desire to help people, their reasoning that we should ALWAYS intervene to prevent suicide is as irrational as a woman who had an abortion and later regretted it reasoning that under all circumstances all other women should NOT be allowed to have abortions. If the latter scenario is indefensible, I would like to know why the former is not. I just cannot fathom that reasonably educated human beings would believe that life can always be fixed well enough that others won’t prefer to be dead than to live. This should be among the most elementary inferences. In the meantime, while the anti-suicide pundits make it harder and harder for people to leave hellish lives that do NOT get better, they are damning human beings to choose the most gruesome, painful, and lonely ways out of life because many lack the medical competence to do otherwise.

      Thanks for adding your voice to a growing international debate that at last more national governments are paying attention to and acting, thankfully, on behalf of personal freedom.

  103. Brittany says:

    Remember you matter. There is Nothing in this world that is worth taking your precious life: death, being in debt, getting hurt, losing someone, being sick, anything you are dealing with its not worth it, its all temporary and you will get through it. Its a phase. I will care if you die :(((((( please Just loveeee yourself and love others. ♡♡♡ forgive yourself and do something for someone. Email me jesuscaresforyou777@yahoo.com
    because you matter and I care for you. I am here to listen to you, i am here to cry for you. I am here to pray for you. YOU MATTER!!!! ♡♡♡♡♡♡

    • Rob says:

      No, it is not all temporary. Some of us have chronic medical conditions that don’t go away, and make life miserable.

      • Anon says:

        I’m never sure if these replies get to the right comments so excuse the cut-N-paste… Rob (January 14, 2018 at 3:51 pm):

        I agree wholeheartedly. There are many philosophical and scientific problems with the anti-suicide platform, regardless of an individual’s experience with suicidal ideation. I think most of us wish life were such that no one considered suicide. And most of us recognize that life requires good coping strategies. But none of that changes the fact that life can be onerous and exceed the capacity of many to cope, even with professional intervention. There is never a guarantee that any therapy will work. Never. It’s hypocritical of people to claim they care while, recognizing both that they can’t guarantee an end to others’ suffering AND that therapy cannot either, damning others to prolonged, chronic suffering. Yes, many may “get better,” though there are many problems with that presumption, too. But many also do not. And communities are NOT obliged to care for those who’re suffering. Look at all the global reports about the spreading epidemic of painful chronic loneliness and all the physical diseases scientists attribute to it. So adults should ultimately be allowed access to painless, medically competent/efficient ways to leave life if this is our persistent choice. After all, unless every newborn is a slave to the State or the community, the sole thing we should have absolute ownership claims to, irrespective others’ beliefs, is our own lives.

  104. Lee says:

    I’m so ready to get my life over with not that I’m depressed or anything I’m headed for financial disaster and I want to be cremated and I have money just little but can at least have myself cremated and don’t want to be a burden on family but they always want me put in a hospital or some stupid shit and that’s not going to solve the problem at all

    • Chad N. says:


      I’m not dismissing your concern over your financial disaster but I have a hard time seeing that as a reason I would consider dying. Money isn’t that important in my opinion. I prefer family which it sounds like you have. I realize they don’t understand the problem but maybe that can change. I know reasons for seeking an end can be complicated and trying to simplify them for others to understand seems easiest but it undermines your argument. That is why I’m doing the formal euthanasia route, getting evaluated and letting the DR try treatments then documenting the failings, or who knows maybe successes. I just want to make sure I’m not missing something in my decision. I hope I am and I hope you might be too. Life should have meaning, I just thought I’d say family seems like meaning.

      • Anon says:

        Chad, I hope you don’t mind me adding my two cents. You wrote, ” I know reasons for seeking an end can be complicated and trying to simplify them for others to understand seems easiest but it undermines your argument. ” I disagree that someone’s argument for rejecting life can be “undermined” so long as the reasons given are personal. Lee’s reasons for wanting to leave are his perceptions of the consequences of “financial ruin” on him. Given poverty is real and people suffer significantly from it, it is reasonable to be terrified of sliding into poverty. Someone else may not fear it but THAT doesn’t invalidate another person’s perspective of poverty and whether he wants to experience it.

        I do appreciate you’ve shared how YOU believe you would feel if you were headed for financial ruin. But surely other people can feel radically differently AND just like the way different people choose to take or leave certain types of music or food, someone else can decide for reasons that matter only to him life is just not worth it. Absent an objective reason such thinking must be “wrong,” and I’ve never come upon such a reason, this type of thinking isn’t the sort of reasoning that can be “valid” or “invalid.” This is really the crux of this whole social debate, but no one is seriously addressing it. To be clear, I’m not advocating any particular choice regarding suicide. I’m arguing that the only opinion that really matters on the matter is that of the person thinking about his or her own life.

        • Chad N. says:


          You’re two cents is welcome but we’re saying the same thing. There’s more than just “financial difficulties” going on. The difference being I warned that leaving it at that will allow others to dismiss his assertion or in your case put words in his mouth (assuming Lee is male, sorry if I’m wrong). It’s an honest reaction to being given a difficult topic and limited information.


          My point was this. For the people that matter to you provide more detail. It might make it so you don’t go through this alone, may help them know it’s not a fleeting overreaction and could help you feel at peace going forward. At least it has done those to varying degrees for me as another considering death as a better option than life. I’m sorry all I can offer is that advice and I hope you find some value in it.

    • Tom H says:

      Chad N: We are NOT saying the same thing. You wrote, “There’s more than just ‘financial difficulties’ going on.” I wrote that Lee is the only one who can determine what factor or factors make his life worthwhile to him. He has already stated he does not want to experience financial disaster. That is a sufficient reason for HIM. No further justification is required. It is his life and his to judge and his to decide on. He shouldn’t need to explain what others perceive to be something else going on. If the state offered a painless way for people to end our lives, I’d expect specialists to ask us to provide an explanation as a test of our rationality. But there can be no philosophical justification for a judgment that is fundamentally a personal taste.

      • Chad N. says:

        Tom H/Anon?: We ARE saying the same thing. I am just saying more things than the one. I agree only he can decide if his life is worth living to him. I do not deny that and it is the basis of my decision to seek the end of my own life. No further justification is required but that doesn’t mean that one might not attempt to be provided in the right situation. Nothing in my original post negated his original claim I only expressed that my reaction would be different. I did add advice that I hoped might help should he be trying to explain his choice to the family that he stated he has. I am inferring that he has tried and had difficulty doing so in the past given his statement of “they always want me put in a hospital or some stupid shit” in the context of solving “the problem.” Again that was just advice presented as my opinion thus not negating his own. I didn’t tell him what to do or judge him for what he stated he wanted to do. Unless you are offended at me stating I have hope we both might find a reason to live or me expressing my own desire for a family I do not understand your issue with my initial posting.
        Your extract from my second posting, “There’s more than just ‘financial difficulties’ going on.”, is logically analogous to your statement of ,“Lee’s reasons for wanting to leave are his perceptions of the consequences of “financial ruin” on him.”, as you stated REASONS not REASON as he had originally. I too assumed there was more but you went a step further by adding “Given poverty is real and people suffer significantly from it, it is reasonable to be terrified of sliding into poverty.” If you will notice, I stated I believed there to be more while you added details to his condition that did not come from him. YOU put words in HIS mouth and made assumptions on HIS reasons. This is exactly what I was trying to help him avoid should he try to talk to his family again. When faced with a lack of information most people make it up to fill in the blanks just like you did. That was all I was trying to explain. Thank you for demonstrating it.

    • Tom H says:

      Chad N: You wrote, “I know reasons for seeking an end can be complicated and trying to simplify them for others to understand seems easiest but it undermines your argument.” Even if the “your” is general & not specific (meant for the person you’re addressing), that is a claim, minimally, of argument validity. There are no valid aesthetic or moral evaluative arguments. On re-reading Lee’s statement, I see it may not even be financial ruination that motivates his desire to end his life. It is extremely likely that whatever we tell others, or don’t, they will augment what we tell them with their own perceptions and reasons because, regardless what we say, others do not have our experiences, feelings, or thoughts. My gripe is with the supposition of undermining, not what others may envision on hearing what is being said–what I believe to be inevitable.

      I reject the claim that I am putting words in the original speaker’s mouth. I made claims about poverty in general and made an argument about someone else assessing financial disaster. On re-reading Lee’s comment, I don’t know how financial disaster affects his reasoning about suicide, but it isn’t important because his argument is dependent on a subjective evaluation. Again, my gripe is with claims about undermining personally evaluative arguments. On reading your comment back to me, I still maintain we are not saying the same thing.

      It’s not my intention, here of all places, to have a back-and-forth comment battle. Thanks for remaining civil despite our disagreement. Best of luck to you.

  105. Gee says:

    I think that there should be a suicide program whereby those who are suicidal can sign up, donate organs ( which would stop organ harvesting, lower donor lists) and do £10,000 death payout fee. Personally think its disgusting that dignitas charge £8,000 not including other fees and charges so its higher than £8,000

    SO instead of people just dying, they are able to leave a small lump sum behind ( can be used to cover funeral costs ,clear debts ** haha not that debt would even be relevant but catch my gist? Help others with their organ donation who WANT to live(which would help so called donor list problem) and person who sign up finally get well deserved peace for themselves!!!!

    People dont understand the exhaustion of having to suffer and bear our personal struggles for others is what makes this depression cycle worse. There are some people who GENUINELY dont mind leaving this ‘life’ place behind – its mundane if you are able to see a bigger picture. Most are too closed minded to view death as a bad thing, when it really is just you being reborn elsewhere……Weird to know that we, all have died already before and just cant remember how and whens……Does time exist? Instead of forcing people to endure there could be a logical system set up where EVERYONE wins 🙂 We need to start question why they dont want us to die,,,,,,,, they want us to work to death!!!!!! longer we are here longer we can pay tax. Its always been a money game folks and dont expect churches to tell you – they are in on it too!!!!!!!!!! Encourage procreation so slave race continues

    Are we growing plants or do the plants grow us? Who REALLY eats who?

    • paul says:

      Interesting that someone wants the organs from someone that commits suicide. If I was going to end my life I guarentee that I would not want anyone to benefit from it. As the only reason that I would end my life is because life is nothing but suffering caused by others. Why should anyone that causes me suffering benefit from my death?

      • Anon says:

        To: paul
        January 10, 2018 at 8:04 pm

        Paul, I totally agree with you. Thanks for having the guts to say what I bet a lot of us are feeling but dare not say aloud.

        • Chad N. says:

          I’m actually working to find a doctor in Belgium so that I can be euthanized. Even so I see no issues with donating organs. Yes I don’t enjoy life but others do. Yes some of those others are related to why I don’t enjoy life but not all. Trying to paint the picture that the rest of the world is all directly related to your low quality of life seems at the least a little overly dramatic to me. How much interaction have you had with the undiscovered tribes in Papua New Guinea? If none then your argument has at least one small hole, if a lot then write a book about it and you’ll be famous.

    • Anonymous says:

      I assure you when I’m dead, I want to be gone from this world completely. No one is having any bodily part of mine.

    • Chad N. says:

      Ok…. organ donation from euthanasia is likely I’d say. Getting paid for it is not due to ethics and the definition of “donation”. If you want to profit off of pain and suffering that’s fine, go to med school or something in law.

  106. Chad N. says:

    Ms. Freedenthal,

    Thank you for reopening this article for comment. I’m sure that it weighs on you but for whatever it’s worth I feel you have built a good forum here.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Thank you, Chad. I appreciate your comment! It does weigh on me, which I wrote about here: https://www.speakingofsuicide.com/2017/08/17/speaking-of-suicide-within-limits/

      Thanks again!

    • Brittany says:

      Chad please dont end your life. You matter to me and so many others. Message me jesuscaresforyou777@yahoo.com. Please it is not worth it. What is going on? I am hear to listen. Anyone else reading this. I love you all and care for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Chad N. says:


        Thank you for your consideration but the issue isn’t me mattering to another. It is me mattering to myself. I am just finally valuing what I want out of life and just did so too late. If it might help look at it this way; God made me and made me as I am so who am I to try to divert his will. I simply hope I can fulfill the purpose for me and be done with this life as soon as he will allow. I’m taking it on faith that there is some purpose. Pray for me if it helps you, but remember to pray for yourself as well.

    • Puck says:

      Something that has been upsetting me for sometime is that I feel that many doctors and the FDA want me dead, as I have breathing problems and I am unable to get a doctor to write a prescription for what will help me, as they are worried that it might cause me to have a heart attack in 10 to 20 years. Quite frankly I would rather take a medication that is 100% guarenteed to kill me in 10 to 20 years than have the breathing and helplessness and problems being able to think clearly enough to even be able to put my recepts togeather so I can get my taxes filed. If the tax collector for the state of california takes my home I will not only be ending my life a few others as well, as all of this could easily be solved by proper medications. Am I suppose to go to local drug dealers and buy them what ever that they might want so i can function enough to be able to think at the same level that I was able to just 10 years prior. I really do not care much about the world anymore, as I can see that I am wanted dead, that is other than my parents, friends and business contacts that I have been building for the last 20 years so I can earn enough to live on, but if I am so messed up by lack of proper medicines what is really the point of even living. I did not get my Christmas present that being WWIII as that is most likely the only way that I could possibly have my problems solved, and those that enjoy me suffering get theirs.

  107. Cass says:

    i know how it feels to be in pain every day, it seems like i dnt deserve anything good. things never stop getting worse for me. i wish i had the guts to end it all i wish i knew how to do it. life seems like a neverending torture 🙁

    • Chantell says:

      I feel the exact same.

    • Puck says:

      I know how you feel, as I am in pain every day, and the only things that come to mind is that the reason that we suffer is that we are not the kind of people that support the prison industrial complex that is run by private prisons. They are in support of those that commit felonies against the public far more than those that just need medications to be functional in life. I will admit that I would have never thought 10 years ago that I would be saying much that I do now, about how much that even though I had followed Satan for a number of years that I look forward to the coming of Christ, Ragnarok, or what ever you want to call it because as a species we are a paracite on the face of this planet. We have killed off many species in the promotion of our own life, and now days we are predators on our very own species and actually support this, and say lies that we do not.
      You my friend have nothing wrong with you other than the fact that you are another human of poor design that breaks down prematurely and are unable to get medications and care that will allow you to enjoy the rest of your natural life.
      Ever read about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah? Those are the kind of places that we live in our world today, and I am not talking about gay, as that is not an abomination, but preying on your own kind is, and that is the world that we live in today.

  108. Anonymous says:

    I want to suicide.

    • Callidora says:

      And why??

    • David says:

      To be brutally honest no one needs to give you a reason why if that’s what they’ve decided. That being said it seems like she/he wants someone to ask but who knows.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      It’s sad you want to die by suicide. I hope you will check out the Speaking of Suicide Resources page for a list of places you can get immediate help for suicidal thoughts, by phone, email, or text.

    • Brittany says:

      are you okay 🙁 you can talk about whats going on. I know this worlds hard to live in. Your in my prayers

  109. Annoyed says:

    What a load of sanctimonious tripe. Just because YOU were able to recover and see life as worth living, doesn’t mean that applies to others. You are imposing your will on others. What you advocate for is cruel. If someone wants to die and hasn’t responded to treatment, LET THEM

    • Pieter says:

      A sincere question.

      Can someone please articulate the reasons for making suicide illegal?

      I have never understood the moral or legal reasons for people wanting to check out of this mortal coil when they choose to. For people with terminal illnesses, this is a no-brainer (and should be for their loved ones, too). Why anyone would want anyone else to suffer, not to mention the exorbitant amount of money that is wasted trying to eke out a few more breaths of life, is beyond me.

      But I also mean why do we have a problem with someone who simply doesn’t want to live anymore? WHY force someone to stay at a party they don’t want to be at? Seriously. We advocate for personal choice in almost every other aspect of life, particularly medical aspects (abortion, organ donation, drug use, consumption), so why are we uncomfortable with suicide? If there’s any way help can be offered then by all means, then the individual should grab it with both hands. But if they feel they are beyond help & they feel there’s no other way, then the choice is very much up to them.

      Hopefully, like other specious moral issues from yesteryear (gay marriage, gender issues, marijuana etc) we will quickly get past this arbitrary and bogus moral roadblock.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


        Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I want to clarify that suicide isn’t illegal in the U.S.. If someone attempts suicide and survives, they will not be charged with a crime. (That is, they won’t be charged with a crime if they didn’t commit another crime in the process; I recall some years back that someone attempted suicide by parking their car on train tracks. The train derailed, killing some passengers, and the suicidal person, who survived, was charged in their deaths.)

        I think I articulate in my post my reasons for preventing suicide. Here’s the shortened version: Many suicidal people change their minds and later are glad they didn’t die.

        • Pieter says:


          Yes, some people whose suicides were prevented felt very happy that they were. They felt elated to have the gift of life back. But is this a sufficient a reason to intervene?


          All of us are engaged in making irreversible decisions. For some of these decisions, we are likely to pay very dearly. Is this a reason to stop us from making them? Should the state be allowed to prevent a couple from marrying because of genetic incompatibility? Should an overpopulated country institute forced abortions? Should smoking be banned for the higher risk groups? The answers seem to be clear and negative. There is a double moral standard when it comes to suicide. People are permitted to destroy their lives only in certain prescribed ways.

          And if the very notion of suicide is immoral – why stop at individuals? Why not apply the same prohibition to political organizations (such as the Yugoslav Federation or the USSR or East Germany or Czechoslovakia, to mention four recent examples)? To groups of people? To institutions, corporations, funds, not for profit organizations, international organizations and so on?

          This fast deteriorates to the land of absurdities, long inhabited by the opponents of suicide.

    • Tom H says:

      Stacey, again, there’s no way to reply to your reply. I don’t know if that’s intentional, but I feel compelled to point out, respectfully, that your justification for preventing suicides, “Many suicidal people change their minds and later are glad they didn’t die,” is neither a statistically valid argument (there is no comparison between the community who survive and disavow their earlier suicidal ideations and the untold numbers who successfully committed suicide) nor a philosophically valid reason to proscribe free personal choice. Many people who get divorced later regret their choice–as is also true for very many significant life choices (like the choise to drop out of school or give up citizenship in a prosperous nation…). That is the very cornerstone of personal freedom–that we and we alone get to decide about our personal lives.

      Of course, when someone seeks out the help of a psychologist or therapist or priest or minister… that is her or his free choice to seek counsel. It is notable the contrasting case with other patients (the working hypothesis undergirding mental illness of which there is no rigorous cause-effect proof is that these so-called diseases are organic diseases of the brain) who are free to terminate therapy at any time despite (a) experts’ prognoses that doing so will be terminal and (b) it being just as arguably in such patients’ interests to be deprived of the freedom of choice–under similar reasoning (the documented regret of those who forego treatment and later lament their choice). In no other branch of health science, with the exception of the consideration of legal minors, can health practitioners countermand patients’ wishes wholesale, and certainly not for the justification that you offer here.

      Lastly, that the majority of a community feels a certain way, it is consistent with US legal and social policy history as well as social moral philosophy, is no justification for imposing others’ personal life decisions on an individual. Such is the sentiment of the long history of US civil rights law and I’m confident eventually this most definitively personal matter will fall under the same umbrella. We are neither willing nor able to care for very, very many who choose to die. That may be a sad affirmation, but it is true and unless we both want to and can do such things, we shouldn’t even be having this conversation as precious few (if any) of us will be there to comfort those otherwise utterly bereft of comfort.

  110. Aricia says:

    The fundamental question that one must ask:

    “Is there anything in life worth doing or experiencing that makes prolonging your existence worthwhile?”

    I think that this question can only be answered on an individual level and CANNOT really be answered in a general or holistic sense. This is because life is a subjective experience, and although one individual may have their reasoning as to why they wish to continue living, another may feel justified in blowing their brains out. Which individual is correct in their reasoning? I would say both are correct from their own perspective. Aside from the mere fact that most people are simply propelled to survive solely through the fear of death, the reasoning for survival is a very subjective matter. No philosophical reasoning can conclude that life is better than death or that death is better than life, especially since you can’t possibly know what is on the other side of death.

  111. mic says:

    Stacey, thanks for your interesting post. But speaking as someone who has been suicidal for many years, the idea that people such as me should be forcibly kept alive (or else be left to try risky and painful methods of secretive suicide) deepens my despair. In fact, I would have to say that the current laws that are keeping suicidal people trapped in an unwanted existence is the greatest contributor to my suicidal ideation; more than the personal issues of loneliness and failure stemming from my autistic spectrum disorder. I appreciate that you mean well in wanting to prevent suicide, but denying people their bodily sovereignty and keeping them imprisoned within a life that is burdensome to them (after they never consented to being born in the first place) is akin to slavery in my view.

    I can’t really top J Connor’s excellent comment, which covers all the bases very well. But to reiterate what he/she said, non-existence cannot be harmful and suffering is always harmful. Although in many cases, suicidal people’s lives do turn around eventually; if the individual concerned can provide a reasoned and competent explanation of why they wish to end their life, then it should be their inalienable right to do so as long as nobody else is directly endangered in the process. To echo again a comment of J Connor’s, to prevent people from being able to make this determination on their own is a case of forcibly using the state apparatus to impose one’s own values and beliefs (in this case, it often stems from a religious conviction in the absolute sanctity of life). I would consider that to be a violation of the individual’s freedom of thought and is effectively a violation of freedom of/from religion.

    • Grieving Mother says:

      So, from reading many of the comments I am horrified to know that many people think that suicide is simply a person’s choice. I just lost my 17yr old daughter to suicide and you people are really disturbing in my opinion. She was a senior getting ready to graduate and start her life. But instead I buried her exactly 4 months after her 17th birthday. Her 15 yr old sister found her. Now I have to worry about losing her too. She is in counseling now and praying it works. I will do whatever it takes to save her. I already feel like I failed my oldest daughter and I refuse to fail my 15yr old. Suicide is murder so I don’t understand how anyone can think that letting someone kill themselves is OK. It is repulsive to me knowing so people think it’s OK.

  112. 656E64206974 says:

    “And yet, even with that intention, the moment he jumped off the bridge, he instantly regretted his decision”

    I’ve attempted twice and both times I woke up feeling even more bitter than when I did it.
    So you mileage may vary.

  113. Pechorin says:

    In my experience, there are people who truly ought to end their lives, but they are stopped by all the cowardice credited to suicides. And so they go on, becoming exponentially more miserable by the day, with their sense of valuelessness showing itself in less agreeable forms, recklessness, bad manners, and possibly even trolling. Such individuals cannot end the agony of their existence, so they seek to drag others down with them, and I am not even going to start on those who suffer in silence, only screaming their curse on the human race when and where nobody shall hear them.

    I ponder suicide often, but if I had the nerve to end this wretched life, I probably would have no desire to end it. That nerve would have enabled me to make something of it.

  114. James says:

    I had a spine injury from a spinal cord stimulator trial about a
    year-and-a-half ago. I lost most of the use of my left leg, bladder function
    and live a life of chronic neuropathic pain 24 hours every day. I can get
    around with a cane but the pain is so bad I find it hard to do anything or go
    places with these issues. Even sitting upright in a chair hurts. I spend most of my time
    laying on our sectional. I’m 56, have a wife and 11 year old son and I know my
    wife has totally had it with my problems. I want to end my life. But I just can’t go on like this, every day and night is such a struggle and I know it makes it
    tougher for the few people close me. You really can’t understand the life of
    chronic pain without living it. It destroys you emotionally and you just don’t
    care about things anymore, even the people you love. You live a dead life and
    can go from rage to tears so easy. I have tried everything possible to lessen
    this pain but nothing works. I keep waiting each day for it to get better but
    it never does. Pain meds help a great deal especially when I have to go
    somewhere, but with the government issues and the crackdown on opiates I had to
    cut back on them and it really hurts. Doctors don’t want to have the feds in
    their business and I can’t blame them. Just another thing to make my days much
    more difficult. I still have some hopes that this pain will ease up but I
    really doubt it will happen and I don’t take that tragic step of ending my
    life. I’m not looking for sympathy or advice, there is little I have not done for my issues. To all out there who suffer like I do I wish you the best.

    [This comment was edited to abide by the Comments Policy. – SF]

    • Puck says:

      I am sorry to hear that you had a bad surgery. The one thing that far too many just do not get and that is the opiates are far safer than most alternatives such as surgery, and over the counter medications when there is chronic pain. I also have chronic pain, and have been using opiates for about a decade now. I had my meds cut and had to find another doctor. After all what far too many just do not get is that opiates can kill, and life is terminal. What is needed is for life to be worth living for people not to kill themselves with opiates or some other method. Have you though about moving to another state, one where you can get medical pot and other herbals. The main reason that makes sense that Kratom and Pot are either illegal or facing being illegal is that there is not enough profit in them for the major drug makers in this country. Also their money is more important to those in government than our lives or the lives of our families.

  115. DF says:

    Yes, hope and hopelessness are equally delusional states. The question of their “truthfulness” will always be as unverifiable as the truthfulness of any other deeply held belief. The relevant question to ask of any of our beliefs is: “Does this belief contribute to me living with myself and others in a way that is helpful?”

  116. Anon says:

    Because, even if an individual has been suicidal for 20 plus years, there is and will always be hope. The worst thing I can imagine is someone not surviving long enough to find what life can be, that it will not feel like this forever, and to see the colours in the world. Speaking as someone who has attempted to suicide numerous times to the point of being resuscitated twice. There is always, always, always, always hope, even if you can’t see it or even understand the concept. I would suffer a million times over and over again to see and appreciate life as I do now.

    • Rick says:

      THANKYOU for your encouragement in the deepest, darkest “Hellhole”, soooooooo many of us are currently experiencing in this Sin filled world.. Your “failure” at suicide, just saved many,many, many more struggling soul’s. Thank you. Eternally(I PRAY) grateful.God bless you..

    • J Connor says:

      So you believe you have the right to impose your experience and beliefs onto others? Utterly baffling. I’m not suicidal. I’m a physician who believes in body autonomy which extends to the right-to-die (see Belgium and the Netherlands for case studies in action so I needn’t explain my position). What you’re suggesting is akin to a religious zealot pushing their beliefs and agenda on others. Philosophically speaking, “hope” is an illusion. Reality is what’s left when you’re not trying to escape from your discomfort with hope. As a wise teacher once said, “Hope and fear is a feeling with two sides. As long as there’s one, there’s always the other. This is the root of our pain. In the world of hope and fear, we always have to change the channel, change the temperature, change the music, because something is getting uneasy, something is getting restless, something is beginning to hurt, and we keep looking for alternatives.” So you see, your whole position is grounded in YOUR personal belief system; you could easily replace the word “HOPE” with “GOD” and it wouldn’t be any different.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

        J Connor,

        Thanks for contributing to the discussion. You raise good ideas, but there is one confusing point. If hope is an illusion, wouldn’t hopelessness be the same? And if people then kill themselves based on an illusion (per your philosophy), then wouldn’t we have an ethical obligation to intervene, in the same manner that someone who’s delirious with a fever of 106 is protected from himself or herself? I use that extreme example solely for the purpose of an illustrative analogy, based on the logic you use above; in reality, I realize that the situations that suicidal people face are seldom, if ever, so simplistic.

        I appreciate your engagement in the discussion, and it leads me to a greater question that others’ comments have led me to, as well: Why are you against others having or expressing hope?

        In this case, Anon didn’t say we should use force against the suicidal. They simply expressed a belief, in the same way that you did. So, by extension, are you imposing your belief on others merely by expressing it?

        These aren’t intended to be rhetorical questions. I’d like to keep the conversation going. Thank you.

    • J Connor says:

      Stacey, unfortunately, you don’t have a “Reply” link under your comment, so I’m replying again to Anon. To answer your questions:

      You said: “If hope is an illusion, wouldn’t hopelessness be the same? And if people then kill themselves based on an illusion (per your philosophy), then wouldn’t we have an ethical obligation to intervene, in the same manner that someone who’s delirious with a fever of 106 is protected from himself or herself?”

      I’m not sure this analogy works. People don’t kill themselves *because* of hopelessness – hope/hopelessness are merely words we use to describe probabilistic states which exist only in our minds. People hope for all kinds of things. They hope to win the lottery. They hope to meet Prince Charming and live happily ever after. They hope to be rich and famous. More often than not, hope is not grounded in reality – it’s used as a diversion FROM reality. If hope is grounded in reality, it can be a useful cognitive tool. But I rarely see hope applied that way, so I’m talking about the former.

      People kill themselves for a variety of reasons, but I’d like to focus this example on those who are suffering from severe, lifelong mental illness that has not responded to treatment. Those people often kill themselves due to an unbearable pain that they’ve been carrying for years and years (with treatment). Eventually, some of these folks will make a very reasonable and logical assessment that they are likely going to be struggling uphill like that for the rest of their lives. They may decide that they are willing to foreclose on any future good times because an absence of good times isn’t harmful, whereas suffering is always harmful. Some may call this “hopelessness;” the truth is, in some cases, it’s a realistic, pragmatic assessment of a suicidal person’s reality. It doesn’t matter what labels we apply because we’re not the one living that person’s life. Some may believe that under all circumstances, people should have hope (like Anon), even after say, 40 years of battling illness and suffering intensely; never mind their own experience and judgment and choices about how they’d like their life to go, they should just “keep hope alive.” All too often, I see people using other people’s suffering in this way to give meaning and value to their own interpretations of life. That’s simply not appropriate.

      You said: “In this case, Anon didn’t say we should use force against the suicidal. They simply expressed a belief, in the same way that you did. So, by extension, are you imposing your belief on others merely by expressing it?”

      Anon responded to your question, “If Someone’s Life is So Awful that They Want to Die, Why Stop Them?” with, “Because, even if an individual has been suicidal for 20 plus years, there is and will always be hope.”

      I realize you have changed the title of the post after the fact to a softer word, “prevent,” but I’m going with the word “stop,” because that’s what we often do. To “stop” someone is often to use force. And the reason Anon suggested we “stop” someone whose life is so miserable that they wish to die is because….hope. Furthermore, he/she said, “There is always, always, always, always hope, even if you can’t see it or even understand the concept.” You can hope all you want for something which has no probability of happening, but that doesn’t change reality. I could give more clinical and real-life examples than you’d care to read where there IS no hope, there’s just plain’ ol’ reality. Anon’s response suggests to me, that under any and all circumstances one should cling to hope and ignore reality and keep on suffering because “I believe this about life and the world, and you should too, even if you don’t understand it.” It’s laced with dogma. To be clear, I don’t have any issues with Anon’s hopefulness as it’s applied to **their own life.**

      To reiterate – I’m about personal autonomy. If hope works for you, great! I certainly encourage my patients to remain hopeful when, clinically speaking, there is a reasonable justification for it. I have seen many cases where false hope was more than counterproductive for patients facing very real end-of-life situations. Conversely, I had a Buddhist cancer patient last year who rejected the notion of hope and stated she’d prefer to “be with what is.” She was one of the best patients I’ve ever had. No doubt, her meditation practice helped her healing process along. But she never clung to hope as a distraction from what she was experiencing – she never once turned away from it – she went through it fully, bravely, and presently. She prompted me to read up on the Buddhist view on hope (Pema Chodron is the “wise teacher” I quoted in the aforementioned comment).

      My point all along was this: We should be very clear that hope is an aspect of personal belief, and personal beliefs should not be used to impose upon the liberty of others.

      As a caveat, I do believe suicide prevention is necessary under most circumstances, as many people who attempt are in crisis. I also believe there’s a subset of the suicidal population who are left to suffer relentlessly from untreatable illnesses because they’re not “terminal,” and I do not doubt that one day in the future, we’ll look back at ourselves and see our current policies as inhumane.

      Stacey, if you’re interested, I would suggest watching this Yale Philosophy course on the rationality of suicide. It’s only a few parts long, and it’s an undergrad course, but I have yet to find any material which better illustrates my line of thinking on this topic. Thank you for keeping this conversation going! It’s obviously an important one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MajfZIyHP8U

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

        J Connor,

        Thanks for your thoughtful and well-reasoned reply to my comment. (And yes, it’s unfortunate that these are all nested under Anon’s comment, since you and I have moved into a different conversation between ourselves.)

        I appreciate the points you raise. I think for me, as someone involved in suicide prevention, the terrible challenge I face is not knowing who is on the other end of the screen. By that I mean, when someone leaves a comment disparaging hope, the words can be validating in a soothing way to someone whose situation has not improved after many years of fruitless efforts to get better. On the other hand, the words might be validating to someone for whom validation is damaging – the person whose hopelessness arises from cognitive distortions, for example, and for whom some hope is not only warranted but potentially healing. Yet many people in the second camp think they belong in the first (and many in the first wish they belonged in the second). And, in keeping with a fundamental disagreement that you and I appear to have, I think it’s rarely possible to know that there is no hope. Life surprises us all. Is that reason enough to stay alive? That might be a more apt question than whether hope does or does not exist in a particular situation.

        I will try to watch the Yale course you referenced. As I wrote in another comment today, I do see the merit of some arguments for not intervening when someone is suicidal. In particular, I believe that more people would get help – and be more honest when they do – if they didn’t have to worry about being committed to a hospital against their will. Susan Stefan writes meaningfully about these issues in her book Rational Suicide, Irrational Laws: Examining Current Approaches to Suicide in Policy and Law, which is a book that might interest you if you haven’t read it already.

        And yes, I agree, this is an important conversation, and one we will see more and more in the years to come, I suspect.

  117. Ebony says:

    I’m suicidally depressed and have been for the past ten years but I refuse to give up hope. Even though life is difficult and things dont always go the way id like them to I will continue fighting. I mean we all die in the end anyway so why bother rushing things? May as well enjoy life to the best of my abilities. I refuse to end my life because I know that even though things seem hopeless theres always hope and that I will overcome. And I hope that all of you do too.

    • Aiah Zohar says:

      It’s absolutely terrific that you are hopeful. Life without hope can be bleak. I hope you won’t take my observation as an affront, but it’s quite demonstrable that there are many, many circumstances without hope. While it is theoretically true that “anything” is possible, and therefore one could argue there is always hope, given the span of human life, some events’ low probability of occurrence practically dismisses “hope.” Early in the treatment of some diseases, for instance, hope can be helpful in motivating patients to persevere through difficult interventions that significantly improve survival rates. However, other disease states have low survival rates, and research shows that faith or hope do not statistically alter patients’ survival rates for such diseases. In fact, at some point in the trajectory of disease, “hope” can be counterproductive, disincentivizing families and patients from making hard but necessary decisions. So not only are there legitimately hopeless situations, and not only can it be objectively demonstrated that hope does not alter outcomes, but hope itself seems to be a proxy for situations with sufficiently high chance of a favorable outcome.

      I’m not trying to be argumentative or a downer. But in a discussion about legal rights and personal freedoms concerning already culturally biased phenomena (like gender identity or marriage rights…), I think it’s extremely important to be as precise as possible about the mechanics of the phenomenon under consideration. While some people for a host of reasons have hope where their currently unsatisfactory lives are concerned (that is, there is a reasonable probability of their attaining satisfaction), that is mathematically not the case for others. The fallacy of the psychological model is its assumption that the ignorance of those in the present about the future necessarily means that future events are “open.” For many reasons, this assumption is false but persists simply because we don’t yet understand enough the core causes and effects.

      Bottom line: it’s terrific that someone is hopeful, so long as that emotional state is not then used as an expectation of the way others must feel about their own lives, or as a presumed model of the way the world actually works.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


        I considered not publishing your comment, because it doesn’t seem to actually relate to Ebony’s comment. Ebony said that she experiences depression and suicidal thoughts, but that hope keeps her alive. And as you yourself note, it’s “absolutely terrific” that she feels hopeful. I agree with her reasoning, and I’m grateful that she and many others like her do feel hope. Hope is an antidote to suicidality.

        I also think you misunderstood Aiah’s comment. She’s not making a statement about “legal rights and personal freedoms concerning already culturally biased phenomena (like gender identity or marriage rights…),” as you imply in your comment. She’s making a statement about her own personal experience, and she’s saying that she hopes that others experience similar hope. I don’t know Ebony beyond the words she posted here, but her comment suggests she has a generous and compassionate spirit.

        It seems to me that your comment about hopelessness pertains more to situations of people with terminal illness, for whom there is no recognizable hope for recovery. I’d like to point out that research shows that most people with incurable terminal illness do not want to end their lives prematurely via suicide or other forms of hastened death. Isn’t that interesting?

        Ultimately, I decided to publish your comment, because I think it can stimulate important discussion and thought. I’m particularly interested in this statement by you: “The fallacy of the psychological model is its assumption that the ignorance of those in the present about the future necessarily means that future events are ‘open.'” Is there a reason why you would assume that ignorance of those in the present about the future necessarily means that future events are *not* open?

        I ask genuinely out of curiosity, not to be argumentative. I appreciate your contributing to the discussion, and I’d like to be sure I understand. Thank you.

    • Aiah Zohar says:

      Stacey, first, pardon me for replying to Ebony’s comment, but I saw no “reply” field under your comment to reply to it. I appreciate that it is not your intent to be argumentative; nor is it mine. First, I do not believe I took exception with the way Ebony herself feels about her own life experiences. And I sincerely congratulated her for feeling good about her circumstances.

      However, I did take exception to the assertion, “there’s always hope.” That is patently false. What humans call “hope” is our desire for events to transpire a certain way. There is no rigorously demonstrable reason that what we hope must come to pass, and considerable evidence that hope does not alter outcomes. Very many hopes do not come to fruition. But statistically, even if the probabilities of hope-odds were closely matched, this would be what a researcher would call poor predictive power. There would be little justification in believing “I hope X” presages the eventual passage of event-X. You can argue that hoping for something motivates behavior that may alter the odds of realizing what’s hoped for, but then hope is arguably not the causal factor, but a confounding factor for intent. And even then, what is intended–motivating someone to act–must be possible and doesn’t guarantee success. Curiously, intent and hope can be disjoint and yet lead to unhoped for outcomes in the favor of intent (what is intended predicts what happens rather than what is hoped for, assuming the event is actually possible).

      I do not agree that my argument is limited to patients with terminal cases. This is merely a natural consequence of probability. Obviously, if medicine predicts a certain physiological state is terminal, hoping otherwise is eventually recognizable as unreasonable. But the assumption that what is hoped for is reasonable when the means available to us to assess probable outcomes are crude is an argument of present ignorance, not cause-effect. The same patient who was counseled to be hopeful earlier, and was, is the same patient who today is labeled “terminal.” All that has changed is our ability to “see” the disease trajectory better, not the effect of hope on the disease process.

      I did not misunderstand Ebony’s comment. You are right that she is not addressing legal rights at all, but because her feelings and perspectives enjoy, as you have yourself here demonstrated, professional approval as “appropriate,” despite the lack of rigorous empirical substantiation (not of simple associations), they have come to occupy the legal and medical position of “correct,” and therefore alternative views and perspectives are not merely discouraged (which runs counter to the democratic process which relies on open information and discussion), but also carry punitive costs. So, yes, this kind of discussion that impinges on all citizens’ legal rights is critical, especially in the context that your own reply imposes. While it’s terrific that some people are hopeful, and while I agree with you that hope predicts the desire to continue living, it’s an affront to liberty that these perspectives should become national policy circumscribing others’ personal freedoms.

      You asked why I would “assume that ignorance of those in the present about the future necessarily means that future events are not open.” First, I only claimed that not knowing the future does not mean that all possibilities in the future are practically possible. That is a demonstrable fact, and it is also an assertion that ought to be addressed on its own merits without the distraction of another question. The assertion is also a natural limit on the rationality of hope. Unless my claim is proven false, “there’s always hope” is simply false.

      The question you ask, however, assuming the additional qualifier “some” (future events), is a logical complement to the claim I made. If multiple events are mutually exclusive, eventually some events become improbable (“opportunity cost”). Further, natural probability distributions are rarely equal. Someone may argue that one may be content with many of the possible outcomes such that it is not a problem that some are no longer possible, but there’s no natural reason that must be true for everyone. Moreover, it will still be false that hoping for something must make it come true.

      That I’m aware of, the encouragment of hope is not rigorously empirically evidenced as therapeutically effective. I’ve spent many years searching for the quantitative and physical evidence but haven’t come upon it. I’m open to reading research publications our team may have missed. As I see it, hope is not an intervention, but instead, a response to circumstances.

      Stacey, you point out that most terminal patients want to continue living. My clinical and research experiences corroborate that claim. Pardon me, but I don’t see how that alters the argument. I have never argued that anyone ought to be forced to accept a particular perspective, but rather that patients should enjoy autonomy to consider the myriad aspects of their lives external professionals simply never can and to make personal decisions that may differ greatly from the decisions their support professionals might make for themselves. This discussion now transpiring globally is critical because it concerns one of the most crucial personal liberties. And more and more nations around the world, and more and more US citizens are deciding in favor of personal liberty.

      Lastly, thank you for deciding to publish my earlier comment to Ebony. Again, it wasn’t meant to be mean-spirited, but rather generative. That said, it frankly frightens me, as a free citizen and a medical scientist and a physician, that some ideas that concern policy that purports to be based in science and to which all citizens are subject should be publically censorable simply because others find the ideas themselves offensive or disagree with the perspectives entailed. Sorry for the long reply.

    • Diego says:

      to Aiah Zohar,

      I want just to say that with your last comment (very, very well articulated) you really hit the mark from a rational, realistic, empirical, scientific point of view. To me (and maybe to other rationally oriented people) reality, even if sad, is always better than delusional wishful thinking, because in the end reality always wins.

      I didn’t like Stacey article but after reading her responses to some of the most deep and articulated comments and after reading, in “Why I Came Out of the (Suicide) Closet”, the fear of stigma from opinionated colleagues that she faced, I have much more respect of her opinions.
      I understand the difficult situation she faces as a therapist counseling suicidal people.

      In one of the comments I was referring to she writes “Many of the comments on this site have challenged my ideas and caused me to stretch my thinking.”; I want to be provocative and suggest that your comment should be one of them, maybe the best one, in my humble opinion.
      I’m disappointed she didn’t respond with a rational, realistic, empirical and scientific observation on par with yours… but maybe she can’t because the phrase “there is always hope” is theoretically and empirically false and “it will still be false that hoping for something must make it come true”. Sadly, she can’t change it…

  118. Lily says:

    And what if I am such a fuck-up who did poorly in school, has no realistic nor affordable access to quality college, strongly resents employer demand for degrees that are expensive and unnessesary, fucks up on what few jobs are available to me and thus burns bridges and gets bad references that affect future employment, can’t keep/get anything gainful, is transgender and desperately wants gender reassignment but cant seem to access doctors for it, is looking at losing any real healthcare access due the clowns in Government, is still stuck living at home with limited time before being cast to the street, all the while being months away from age 30… An age I had expected to be independant. I don’t have time in terms of support to fix anything, late blooming to this degree looks awful on a resume, my references suck (and that’s irreversable), and I literally cannot realistically foresee any betterment in my near future. I can fantasize about it, but it would seem I simply wasn’t born to move the world. I am naturally a rude diva-type bitch without meaning to be and Im usually oblivious to the fact until it becomes a professional faux pas that gets me fired. I will end up a leech on society with no means to climb out. I will not have a beautiful lube of the story i crave and dream about… No ultra-modern luxe place, no total overhaul off my car, no glamourous and gainful job with plenty of work/life balance while young enough to really enjoy it. I had potential once and it was squandered. I have no good future, just a shityy, tumultuous one that will never give me joy. Tell me why i should keep going on. Why would you dare think this is temporary and resolvable? It will take more work and time than I can give and cost money I can never have without massive, crippling debt. Imagine yourself in my shoes. Will you not want to end the suffering, too?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds to me like you need a mentor more than anything else. Help you get your priorities straight. Having conflicting values can screw your life up royally but can also be corrected in a short time. And the evidence of it working can come almost immediately. Improving one self can be a goal to enjoy working on for a lifetime.

    • Liz says:

      I’m the same as you. I’m 34 and have screwed up my past so royally that I don’t even know what to do about it. Some of it wasn’t even my fault–years of illness, being robbed, depression, lawsuits against me. My family abandoned me during this hard time, and my father died. But a lot of it was simply me mismanaging my life, moving to other countries, and otherwise being a dumb fuck.

      The future leaves me no hope–I won’t go into the details, but there is no biological basis to assume anything will ever improve at this point. I have a shitty personality, like you said, “rude diva-type bitch”. I can’t make friends, I can’t make romantic partnerships, I can’t even get anyone to have sex with me. I’ll never get what I really wanted in life either. No chance. Add to that the overall decline of my country…sigh.

      What pisses me off about this suicide prevention stuff. is that it’s all geared toward teenagers. What about middle-aged folks who have had nothing but a string of bad luck and agony and who have limited chance of ever recouping these losses? Am I seriously supposed to look at my life and somehow be grateful for it? It seems like such a load of crock to me! Maybe OTHER people get happiness, but I’m clearly not one of them. I’ve no desire to continue here. THIS IS BULLSHIT.

      Well, idk if that’s relateable to you, but that’s how I feel anyway. I thought I could recognize the thought processes you’re undergoing…I go through them every single day anymore.

    • John says:

      @Liz @Lily
      I am in a similar situation as the two of you, a 28 year old man who never quite fit into what the “norm” is perceived to be and has run into terrible circumstances too. From the death of my loving mother when 17 to never forming a true loving relationship with a woman who cares about me. Life is anything but enjoyable or easy.

      Yes, each day is incredibly hard to to persevere through, knowing that a lot of what I do is seemingly in vain despite the best efforts I take to better myself; I have studied for nearly 6.5 years through graduate school from engineering to education, to have a career where I could make a difference in peoples’ lives, I was never given the opportunity to teach… Now, I am unemployed, spending a lot of time contemplating life, observing others pass me by and spending as little as possible while taking many hikes in nature.

      Like the Anonymous poster said, a mentor is the best answer to your dire struggle. This mentor, if you don’t have family or friends, could be a counselor; there are wonderful people who will help you, many counselors would be willing to waive fees at times and point you to places that are free to live/get help if you are in dire need; there are more good people out there than it may seem, it’s just the monsters are the most vocal.

      Your lives do matter, even if you have walked directly through Hell throughout your lives; even though I don’t know you, I can feel your pain when reading your words, I care about your well being, even if I am a stranger posting on this forum.

      Please carry on, meet a compassionate mentor and find peace; I fight my demons each day, struggling, but I think I’ll win, somehow.

  119. She's alive says:

    I love life and have a lot to live for. I have been through a lot, including a long-term stay in a psychiatric intensive care unit.
    I have been suicidal many times and have attempted suicide before. Every time, after, I am ashamed and bewildered.
    See, my mental health is what causes it. Issues with medication causes it but I Don’ Want To Die.
    I don’t speak for everyone but, these are the reasons I am grateful for suicide prevention. And for everyone commenting that you should have a right to it, if someone really wants to, there is no stopping it.

  120. Brittany Odle says:

    I am here for you <333 you can email jesuscaresforyou777@yahoo.com nothings worth killing yourself you matter <3333333 I care for you.

  121. Brittany Odle says:

    Remember you matter. There is Nothing in this world that is worth taking your precious life: death, being in debt, getting hurt, losing someone, its not worth it, its all temporary amd you will get through it. Its a phase. I will care if you die :(((((( please Just loveeee yourself and love others. ♡♡♡ forgive yourself and do something for someone. Email me jesuscaresforyou777@yahoo.com because you matter and I care for you. I am here to listen to you, i am here to cry with you. I have empathy for you i tried to kill myself many times but praying helped me. I am here to pray for you. YOU MATTER!!!! ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  122. Jude says:

    Linda I feel the same. Always here to talk

  123. Cole says:

    Put it this way– People who believe in abortion say a woman has the right to do what she wants with her own body..


    If I want to end my life, that’s MY CHOICE & my own body.

  124. Matthew says:

    I can relate to a lot of what’s been said here. I’m 43 and a writer. That probably says it all. I’m broke, alone and a total failure who’s addicted to the craft of creative writing and delusional to think I’ll ever succeed at it. When, in reality, I’m an untalented loser who loathes his existence.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      It’s painful to witness, even in these few words, your hatred for yourself. I have no doubt that your own pain is profound. Have you tried to get help? You don’t have to be alone with this these painful feelings.

      You can talk to your physician, or to a therapist, or to a religious leader if you’re religious, and so on. If you want to get help anonymously and for free, check out the Resources page for places you can do so by phone, text, email, or online chat.

    • Someone Somewhere says:

      I have huge dreams (I’m no writer but my dreams are artistic too. I’ve been crushed and downed and mocked and humiliated by others for having them so much that I hesitate to even tell anyone what they are) and man can I ever relate to this post. I share the same sentiments about my own dreams, the irony being they’re the only thing that I ever bother waking up for. Take my dreams away and I have nothing. I’m just getting older and more washed up year after year after year.

      This world definitely isn’t a friendly place to artistic types… it’s even worse now.

  125. Melissa says:

    Suicide in my opinion has its own definition for people. Everyone is different so certain situations are different. In my own situation I would because there is no help with losing a child. Its forever painful. No professional can help they just use medication. Now im not suicidal im learning to cope but the human body can take so much pain.

  126. Elena says:

    I just am tired. I’m in a bad marriage. But it’s not just the marriage or the loneliness. It’s everything. I have a daughter. I am so proud of her and I love her dearly. But next year she will be in college. My life has been so painful so hard and I just can’t anymore. I don’t have it in me to do this for my daughter anymore. I don’t want her to hate me or feel she had anything to do with it. No matter how many degrees I get I’m stuck in crappy jobs. I have a criminal record so my options are limited. No matter how much therapy and reading I do, I just am attracted to men that will suck the life from me. No matter how hard I try to maintain some form of stability my life is chaos. Chaos I create. Originally by June of 2018 I was considering killing myself by driving off a cliff. Now I’m researching life after death and may do it sooner. My life has been completely bad, it’s more painful then most. I made and make stupid choices and will pay for lifetime. I’m doom to work in a warehouse forever. It’s time I save myself the energy and go.

    • Crushed & Broken says:

      Hi Elena, I can feel your pain. I myself attempted to commit suicide back in 2015. I saw that it really hurt my son. I left him a note with my bank cards and info and told him to just keep them and don’t spend it all. When he came home and didn’t see me he became very worried. I didn’t tell him what I was about to do. I’ll share my story real quick. At the time when I was pressing to go forward I kept getting closed doors. It seems that I had to fight hard for everything. I was staying with my mother at the time and was expecting very important mail. My mother actually took the letter and hid it for her own selfish reasons. That took me over the edge because I questioned myself “why, why would she do that knowing I’m going through a hard time?” At that moment I became numb and wanted to kill myself. My oldest son cut off his relationship with me because I left his father due to bad treatment and started over in another relationship. I had worked so very hard to give both my sons the best and thought by leaving, I could give him the life he dreamt of but his father brainwashed him into thinking I was the bad guy. My exhusband joined a motorcycle club the 1st month he brought his bike. He cheated on me since we dated & was just caught having an affair. He wasn’t a good provider & I did everything and became tired. I gave him the option to choose between his family and the club so he decided to stay in the club, so I left. I didn’t want to but I felt like a prisoner in my own home. In the next relationship the guy tricked me and betrayed me even worse. I always worked temp jobs hoping to become permanent somewhere but never got hired. I became very sick with stress and lost so much weight but I kept pushing. It seemed the more I pushed the more things became worse & my exhusband partied more and got remarried the month after we divorced. He turned his back on my youngest son and I became a single parent. I had to move back to my mother’s house and that was so awful. So 1 day I wrote a note and planned how I was going to kill myself. I was going to buy alcohol and take it with my medications and go inside of Panera bread to do it. As I was on my way walking to Panera, I found a beige wallet inside of a shopping cart with like $350. Right there I knew it was a sign from God to go back home. So I walked home but still contemplated to kill myself. I began drinking and taking pills and told my brother and friend I was on my way out. All of a sudden there was a knock on the door and it was the police and ambulance. I was admitted in the hospital for 5 days. All they did was give me meds and sent me back out here in this world to fight alone. I guess they thought the meds were going to help but what about my problems I was facing? To this day things became way worse. I don’t wanna talk too long but I promised myself I would never try to commit suicide ever again. When my son comes home and I’m not there, he calls me asking where am I because I guess he’s afraid that I left or killed myself so I don’t want him to ever have to experience that again. Right now I feel so numb and hurt and I began to develop a relationship with God by prayer and worship every morning. I feel he’s not answering my prayers and has truly turned his back on me. It’s ok because I will never give up on god but I question a lot and it seems like all the bad guys and people that do wrong are winning. All I can advise is to tell you to hold on! I always hear that the bad days don’t last forever but I somehow can’t see that and just try to stay hopeful. I just want God to naturally take me but will never kill myself. Killing yourself will hurt your son/daughter tremendously. Please just take the good and hold onto that. I have my 5lb Yorkie whom I love for 10 years. Honestly I feel he’s the only thing that loves me. Not even my own sons love me but it’s ok. So please, for me, hold on and I will do the same

    • Anonymous says:

      Eckhart Tolle – The Power of Now. Please give the first chapter of this book a chance. It explains how your mind is a bit like being possessed by a paranormal entity. I know this sounds mad, and possibly is. I am not a genius obviously but Eckhart is. Please give it a try, go for three chapters.

  127. Dave says:

    I am a 33 year old male. I have been suffering terribly from depression for a few years now. My ex fiance recently broke up with me. I have no job and live at home with my parents. Everyday I wake up hoping I will die on that day. I hate myself and my life. I just want to end the pain. My life is hopeless and I get no enjoyment from it. I just want peace.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      Dave, I hope you will talk with someone about how you feel. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK). Also please check out the Resources page at https://www.speakingofsuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp for places you can talk to somebody by phone, text, email, or online chat. You don’t have to hurt like this forever, and you also don’t have to die to avoid hurting like this.

    • Steve says:

      Dave, I feel your suffering mate. Remember you at least are living with your parents. There is love there. I live alone and have been feeling like this for almost 10 years now. Talk to your parents, you don’t want to continue on this route. For me I feel I’ve gone too far and can’t see it improving. When I do see a glimmer of hope the door shuts. I hope you get the help you need. Take care matey.

    • Anonymous says:

      Eckhart Tolle – Power of Now. Explains why your mind is not your friend and what you can do about it. Best Wishes.

  128. Mom says:

    Oh Stacey, I’d LOVE to hear you rationalize this. In March, a woman named Kathy Myers in Colorado obtained physician-assisted suicide for her end-stage COPD which was caused by being a lifelong smoker.

    So let me get this straight. You can spend your whole life smoking, which by now, we all KNOW (including Kathy), that it inevitably leads to disease, suffering, and in many cases death. So, in other words, smoking is officially a socially-acceptable and legally-sanctioned form of suicide. Hey, go for it! Smoke your life away and you won’t have to deal with the consequences of your actions!

    By contrast, take a person like me who was born with hereditary depression and had a traumatic childhood which compounded it, in which symptoms began before puberty. Endogenous depression lasting for decades causes INTENSE, unimaginable suffering, and a nonexistent quality of life. So a person in my case, through no fault of my own, is expected to live a life of endless suffering despite trying every treatment under the sun to no avail (years of therapy – CBT/DBT/EMDR, medications, ECT, alternative therapies, the list is a mile long), but a person who KNOWINGLY caused their highly preventable suffering and disease is offered a peaceful, painless death out in the open where family members can be with them in their final moments?

    Guess I should have started a 2-pack a day habit at 12 rather than being committed to health and wellness my whole life, and spending decades and tens of thousands of dollars on trying to heal myself of an illness which I didn’t CHOOSE. Why are sufferers of long-term, untreatable mental illness any less deserving of a peaceful exit from their incurable disease? Because they aren’t of sound mind? I’d argue that someone who smokes their life away isn’t exactly of sound mind either, so out the window goes that argument. A friend – who coincidentally is a chain smoker of extraordinary poor health – once accosted me for being “ABNORMAL!” for my wishes to end this lifelong torment and agony that I’ve tried SO HARD to heal myself from. I think it’s “ABNORMAL!!!” to be a chain smoker who takes shit care of oneself and can get a peaceful exit from the world once they start suffering from their poor decisions. I get how addicting smoking is, and hey, maybe for some that addiction is incurable just like for some with mental illness, it’s incurable. So how in the hell is this okay?

    I’m happy for Kathy for being able to have a peaceful, reliable, self-determined end of life. It’s a basic human right that should be available to EVERYONE, not just on an arbitrary basis based on society’s inability to understand the severity of suffering and exhaustion that comes with a lifelong uphill battle against an unrelenting depression. I can’t wait to leave this incredibly absurd world.

    • Someone Somewhere says:

      THIS. Just, THIS.

      I’ve even had smokers (and overweight people who are addicted to junk food, not that I’m judging them but I mean, dear god the irony) tell me the same thing if I tell them how life just isn’t for me. The only reason it’s legally acceptable to consume things that are potentially deadly such as tobacco and alcohol not to mention junk food (hell even stuff considered “health” food) that has ingredient lists that might stump a chemistry major is because the government stands to gain while other substances that do far less damage (if any) are still illegal depending on where you live or at least taboo though that’s besides the point. My own father died almost 12 years ago from a stroke… I came to an epiphany recently that he didn’t kill himself directly, but he did ostensibly by refusing to take care of himself even though he had warning signs all over (from bad body acne to borderline-narcolepsy to being rather overweight) telling him to take care of himself or pay the consequences. How am I any worse for wanting to die because I’m too genetically messed up being mentally and physically weak, butt-ugly looking like a keebler elf and rebellious to function in this world and I can barely even scrape by with the bare minimum of part-time work (if that) and did even worse when in school, only living for perhaps impossible dreams? Shouldn’t the world be happy if I killed myself for a defective, “lazy” dreamer willingly taking care of himself by dying than being a leech to the clogged-up overpopulated system at best?

      Though I don’t smoke Kurt Vonnegut was a smoker and had a great way of putting it “I am hopelessly addicted to cigarettes. I keep hoping the things will kill me. A fire at one end and a fool at the other.”

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

        Someone Somewhere,

        You communicate very poignantly, and powerfully, the depths of your feelings of hopelessness. I hope you will consider talking to someone about all this. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK) at any time if you are in the U.S. Also check out the Resources page for more places to anonymously get help.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I’m sorry to hear of all the suffering you have experienced, suffering so intense that you want to leave this world. It sounds like you’ve tried a lot of different kinds of therapy and are still hurting. Maybe one of the places on the Resources page could help you, even if only a little; I hope you’ll try.

  129. Linda says:

    So lonely,all the people who truly loved me have died.
    So I feel I want to die too,the loneliness is unbearable

    • Jude Gibbons says:

      Hi Linda,
      I feel the same. So lonely in my circumstances. Hear to talk if you would like to any time

  130. James C says:

    I found your article very self serving, short sighted and narrow minded. If people want to die that’s their free will and they are entitled to it. We didn’t have the choice whether to be born, but we do have the choice when to die and that’s a wonderful gift. No one in society should shame another if they decide to take their own life, it really isn’t any of their concern/ you can never know another’s struggles enough to tell them whether they should keep living. Stay in your lane, stop being so judgmental of others if they decide they want to commit suicide, your concern really has no bearing on what they are going through. You are being self absorbed and despotic in your attempt to dictate what others should do. Sometimes the kindest and most rational thing to do is to let someone end their own pain. Pragmatism and the hope for a more peaceful existence can manifest itself as suicide.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I’m sorry that you view my attempts to help others so negatively. I understand your argument philosophically, but realistically I also know that many people who were feeling abjectly suicidal are now grateful to be alive today. And they are thankful to those who helped them to not act on their suicidal thoughts. (For just one powerful example, read the story of Kevin Hines.) I hope you will consider those people, too, when making your argument against suicide prevention.

      Thank you for contributing to the discussion and for giving me this opportunity to address what no doubt many other readers are thinking, too.

  131. im_id says:

    no, I know in terms of some others I never suffered enough , I just feel like I am an outsider no one understand , I am such a failure in every aspect I thought of trying ,ok I am tired I don’t want to try anymore , actually I can’t try anymore I can’t tolerate someone telling me I have no fucking future , ok suck life I don’t need it

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Are you getting any help? It sounds like you’re believing the worst edicts of your mind, without entertaining other possibilities.

      If you’re in the U.S., please consider calling 1.800.273.8255 (TALK), which is a 24-hour hotline. Wherever you are, you can check out the Resources page on this site at https://www.speakingofsuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp.

      I hope you will reach out to someone, but someone who is supportive and constructive, not toxic to you!

  132. Cameron says:

    The world was never meant to give second chances. Once you blow it, you blow it. Of course this isn’t really the only reason where there could be rational suicide, as often the bad things that happen in our lives are due to other actions we had no control over. I want to die myself. I feel that I have no purpose, and that I’m a burden on society. A lot of people make claims like this up, but I really can’t find anything positive about myself except for the little things. What I’m trying to say is, rational suicide can be indeed rational. Ending ones suffering will only help them, if its not possible by treatment while they’re alive. I do however think that without a proper diagnosis of the person’s mental disorder it would be irrational.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      “A lot of people make claims like this up, but I really can’t find anything positive about myself except for the little things.”

      The little things are no small thing, Cameron! Especially when they are positive things about yourself.

      On a different note, I think you will find that many people have been granted second – and even third, and fourth, and 20th – chances. If you want to read more about them, check out these sites:

      Stories of Hope and Recovery

      Live Through This

      Also, it might help you to listen to the story of Kevin Hines, who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived: I Jumped Off the Golden Gate Bridge.

      I hope that you feel more hope for yourself, and for life, soon.

  133. Joe says:

    In the last 15 yr i have lost my son and his mother to a drunk driver. I’ve lost majority of my family. The other day i found out that a very dear friend had been killed. I have few friends, next to nothing to show for in 31 yr. Im legally retarded in the state i live in. I have been depressed since i was 6 when my sisters were taken from me. Every person i meet is using me for something be it everything i have or just what they can take. Relationships dont happen since forever, and im not the nicest person but thats the end result of a shit stained life that wasnt wanted in the first place.
    No amount of therapy has ever helped me. The one thing that haz been there my whole life is the concept that i can end it any time. That has been the only thing thats ever been true.

  134. Vikas says:

    i want to die i dont have a job never had a girlfriend and now my career is like over its just over now i cant earn enough to have a family i am gonna die alone im pathetic i always make bad decisions people are gonna laugh at me i will become a joke in society so i guess its better to go nobody is gonna miss me….

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I’m sorry you’re feeling so hopeless. Please check out the Resources page for places where you can get help by phone, text, email, or online chat. And remember, just because your mind is saying all these bad things about you doesn’t mean they’re true.

  135. Anonymous says:

    No. It should never be prevented for the people that do have a genuine reason to die. This is because the average of their feelings is very much in the negative and so it is clearly preferable to go. That’s rationality in this debate. You don’t really love someone selflessly if you would rather them suffer for a lifetime now do you? ‘Mentally-normal, helpful’ people are sick. People may change their mind about suicide to die of other causes. However, obviously they’re likely to live a life of guilt for their continued desire to die, hurting the selfish people left behind. The reality is sad.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      I understand that you feel strongly about this, but I have a question: How do you know?

      That is, how do you know that the feelings of someone with a “genuine reason to die” will remain “in the negative”?

      How do you know that someone will “suffer for a lifetime”?

      How do you know that people who are suicidal and choose not to die by suicide are “likely to live a life of guilt for their continued desire to die”?

      I don’t think you – or I, or anyone – can know any of those things.

      I do know, however, many people (and of many people) who were certain that they would never feel better, or would never want to live, and who now feel very differently. If you’re interested in reading the stories of just a small fraction of those people, here are some places to start:

      Stories of Hope and Recovery

      Live Through This

      Suicide survivors of Reddit, what was your first conscious thought after you realized that you hadn’t succeeded? (Note that this one contains graphic descriptions of suicide attempts, but the words of the survivors will, for many people, outweigh the risk for triggers.)

      Good luck to you, Anonymous!

  136. Anonymous says:

    i tried kill myself twice but both times someone found me and take me to hospital
    i don’t really wanna be here, i’m alone, i don’t enjoy life,
    i’m thinking for the third time but hopefully this time no one can find me

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

      So sad that you are suffering, Anonymous. Please look here for places where you can get help by phone, text, email, or online chat.

    • Rob Z says:

      I know the pain. If it weren’t for my cats, I’d be done. For now, find the thing, people, something that’s stopped you so far and grasp that.

      • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

        So true, Rob, cats (and other pets) are many people’s reason for living. And even if they can’t have cats, they can help rescue them or volunteer at a shelter! It only takes one thing.

        Thanks for sharing your great advice.

    • Joseph says:

      I can promise you that no matter how deep the trials of this life may seem, you are not alone, and one day, the light will come.

    • Reverend Ane says:

      You are not a lone, many times I have been told I should kill myself, I was wasting space and I am still here a Reverend and a mom so when you feel life is not worth it remember God chose your life and he has big plans for you. Who knows you may be our next president, or the person who cure AIDS, or cancer, even Parkinson.

  137. Lisa P says:

    I’m 57, and I’ve spent my entire life wishing it would end. Abusive father, indifferent mother, a sister who grew up knowing it was perfectly okay to beat me up too, because in our house, I was to blame for everything. I haven’t lived in that house for decades, my father died in 2002, and still I can’t get rid of the ghosts of self-hatred and self-loathing that I grew up with. I’ve spent the last 20 years on meds for bipolar, but I was never bipolar, just unlucky enough to have a bad psychiatrist and no ability to see through the drug fog. Now the new doc says I have avoidant personality disorder, two rounds of TMS later, I’m still as chronically depressed as I was since age 4, and SSRI’s don’t work for me. I haven’t worked in 20 years, and have zero self-esteem or self-worth, because my life has no value. I’m worth more dead only because of a life insurance policy, but of course, even though I’ve been paying on it for more than 20 years, I’ve got the only policy on the planet with a permanent suicide clause in it, so I couldn’t even get that right. No way out for me from my misery, because I’d just become a bigger financial burden…

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      It’s unfair how much some people suffer. I feel that way reading your comment. I hope you are able to get help that truly does help you. If you want to talk with someone by phone, email, chat, or online text, please check out here a list of places where you can do that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have the same problem and diagnosis. Abusive father, indifferent mother and also abusive sister. Some people should be sterilised to prevent from inflicting such horrors on their unsuspecting children.

    • Joe Blow says:

      I’m BY NO means encouraging you to commit suicide. I think it’s generally an awful choice to have to make, but nonetheless, it is a basic human right even if society tries to tell you that it knows better than you the value of your own life, or worse, that you don’t even have ownership of your life. It sounds like you’ve tried everything which I can completely relate to, as well as the abusive/neglectful upbringing. I do hope you find something that helps alleviate your suffering. Have you tried ECT as a last resort? It does work for some people when nothing else has worked.

      Getting to the point of my response to you, I believe you are incorrect about your life insurance policy, assuming you reside in the USA. State insurance laws supersede insurance clauses, and I would check with an insurance lawyer (or just post a question on JustAnswer.com – it’ll cost $5-10 to get an answer from a practicing and licensed insurance attorney in your state) about your policy because I’ve been a licensed insurance broker/financial advisor, and I’ve never heard of such a thing outside of the standard 2 year contestability period (sometimes that period is only one year, depending on state, even for suicide). Your insurance company can have whatever clauses it wants to have, but if your state law dictates something else (which in many cases they do), the clause doesn’t mean a darn thing. Of course, insurance companies always bank on people not being aware of their rights and this is how they literally get away with keeping millions and millions of dollars per year in death benefits that legally should have been awarded but weren’t because families just took the insurance company’s automatic denial as the final word rather than consulting an attorney.

      Here’s an article that discusses the topic: http://time.com/money/3117698/how-life-insurance-policies-deal-with-suicide/

      • mmmokhtar says:

        let us start from the worst case ,say a man has no job ,no income , no home , no family , suffering a permanent illness and can not pay for medicines , starving ,not insured , cursed and humiliated by every one because of his extreme poverty , if a man like this is thinking of sucide do you still call it an awful decision to commit sucide?

        • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


          I don’t think there’s a formula for when suicide is justified or not. There are many people who suffer the exact fate you describe, and they do not die by suicide (or even want to). And there are physically healthy people who live in affluence and die by suicide. Suicide and suffering are both mysterious in who they claim and who they spare. Resilience and joy are equally mysterious. The amazing thing is we really have no idea what comes next, in life or beyond.

  138. Anonymous says:

    It’s considered “humane” to “put an animal out of their suffering”… but why not those of us who are also suffering so much mental anguish every day? Where’s the “humanity” in that?

  139. Anonymous says:

    is there any way to die easy with sure results? , that may help suicide thinkers , i can not understand why some people want the other people to struggle and suffer life , it is only sadism isn’t it , OK if you want some body to live with that insistence then help him out of his sufferings if you can not help then shut your mouth, this law against sucide should be eliminated if we can not help these suicidal people

    • Joseph says:

      Life is a great blessing, even if full of suffering. There is always something to cling to, and that is faith and hope. Even if it is hard to see, like the sun when our side of the earth is turned from it, the light will come.

  140. Anonymous says:

    Epilepsy sucks like life

  141. Brittany Odle says:

    Remember you matter. There is Nothing in this world that is worth taking your precious life: death, being in debt, getting hurt, losing someone, its not worth it, its all temporary amd you will get through it. Its a phase. I will care if you die :(((((( please Just loveeee yourself and love others. ♡♡♡ forgive yourself and do something for someone. Email me jesuscaresforyou777@yahoo.com
    because you matter and I care for you. I am here to listen to you, i am here to cry for you. I am here to pray for you. YOU MATTER!!!! ♡♡♡♡♡♡

  142. Lily says:

    Some of the posts on this site made me realise that my own issues are not so bad. I hope that all those suffering are having a better day.
    I have lived with anxiety, on/off depression, and other issues since I was 13. I am now 51 years old.
    I have good times, bad times, been optimistic and pessimistic. I have wanted to die at times and other times cried so much because I did not want to die, as I loved life too much.
    I am scared of death. I think it might be about how I will feel before it happens, if I happen to be awake. I am not scared of afterwards.
    Being 51 and a young for my age and healthy person, I have a feeling that I may last until quite an old age, and people in my family have tended to live to old ages.
    I want to live but not as I feel now. Compared to some others I have it good, but there are also troubling issues which have made me as I am including genetics.
    When I hear of people ending their lives I am saddened, but also if a person is very unhappy then who can blame them. Who can criticise? It is a personal and private choice.
    Life is a crock of crap for many people in this world, no matter how much they try to improve things. The only way is to never giving up trying to improve, in order to get out of the situation and build a good as it can be life. I imagine having some horrendous illness can make this impossible,but some people do find joy in some things even when very unwell. Don’t they?
    Even in some of my darkest and bleakest hours, there was always a point where I thought “Ok, so what happens now, I suppose I just have to carry on” The next day or however long it took, I would often feel so much better. This is what scares me about suicide. I have had the blackest and bleakest of times, but there have been such happy and perfect times too, that I am glad I have experienced.
    I often think, that if I were to end my life, what if on my way to that point of death, I regretted my actions, and it was too late to do anything about it. Maybe I was trying to end my life because I had been unhappy for so long or just on that day, but by ending my life I was ending any chance of experiencing any possible happiness too.
    No one can rule out happiness ever happening.
    I find personal happiness,, contentment and fulfillment in caring for my dog and cats and petitioning for animal rights. That makes me feel better. To some that may be nothing, but for me it does help me, however I do feel that my life has no meaning, so I try to give it meaning. I do think helping others is the best way to do this.
    People’s life circumstances can change for the better and some people seem to live a crappy life all their life.
    We either try to improve even if it is just by doing 1 positive thing a day, no matter how small that may be, or just be here contemplating suicide and life and its meaning, which is what I tend to do a lot of.
    I have an amazing daughter who is doing so well in her life and career. She is everything that I am not. I am immensely proud of her. I would hate for her life to be ruined, which it would, as we adore each other, if I ended my life. I cannot put her through that pain.
    I just don’t understand why I am meant to be here. Maybe I was meant to have a child who is doing very well.
    Years ago people died earlier. At 51 years old I feel like it is all over.
    I am still to scared to end my life, and if I were told tomorrow that I have a terminal disease, I know that I would be devastated, and wanting to live. Maybe I will always feel in a limbo state until it is my time.
    My thoughts are with people on this site. Some of your stories brought me to tears. I hope that you feel a little better.
    Please don’t give up on life easily. Compared to being dead, I think being alive with its suffering and occasional times of contentment is better than death. Death will find us all one day anyhow regardless, so….

  143. Hayley says:

    I am considering suicide. I am in my 50’s, and at the peak of my work experience and capacity to enrich and educate the next generation- but because I am an “old woman,” I am considered to be useless. Without a use, I am nothing, and there really is no reason to continue consuming needed resources. I will make my decision in the next few weeks.

    • J says:

      I do hope you will reconsider. Please read some of these articles. I found it interesting that such a high percentage of suicidal survivors wanted to live. Maybe the feeling of uselessness comes from your occupation or those you spend a great deal of time with. Sounds like you are an educator? Maybe you could be educating older adults? I don’t know, but it would seem that everyone needs educating, no matter what their age. I am a 59 year old female, though I am not (and you are not) an “old woman”. Have a good 30 years ahead of us! Hope to hear from you again soon. 🙂

    • Rob Z says:

      Reach out to me. I feel the same – I have much to offer, but no one wants me at all. I understand your position, 100%, really. I’d be dead now, but my cats need me. They are my thread that keeps me going.

    • Joseph says:

      I promise you that you matter. We are are God’s literal children, and you are a beloved Daughter of God. He cares for you and loves you. I promise you that hope is there to find. The world will suffer a great loss if you leave us.

  144. Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

    I’ve received a lot of requests to re-open the comments for this and other posts on the site. It has been a rich and lively, if at times challenging, conversation. May it continue!

  145. Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:

    I’m sorry, folks, the time has come for me to shut down the comments for this post. Thank you to all who shared your thoughts here. I appreciate your having shared your very personal and painful stories. It’s unfair how much suffering there is in the world, and I hope that life does get better for each of you.

    If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255 (TALK). You can also find many resources for other places to call, text, or email for help on the Resources page of this site, at speakingofsuicide.com/resources/#immediatehelp. Thank you.

  146. Veronica Horton says:

    The act of existing is not benign to other beings; anyone who’s not going to adopt a strictly vegan diet and basically go off and live in a cave somewhere is alive through killing other beings; your home was once wilderness, anything manufactured that you own required destruction of habitat and life, you can’t walk without crushing insects. For someone to prevent a being who wants to die from dying, they’re forcing that person to continue destruction of other life, the other life which, presumably, wants to live.

    • Anonymous says:

      How intense and Truthful. I can’t quite grasp the origins of life and understand it’s meaning. I hang on to the love I feel for the TRUTH and my loved ones, that’s the only reason I hang on to each day with little desire for it’s boredem and ugliness. I feel for you and your pain. I wish that we as living beings can find some meaning to this madness we call life.

  147. Brittany Odle says:

    I am here if you want to talk. Email me Jesuscaresforyou777@yahoo.com. i love you guys ♡♡♡♡

  148. Aiah Z says:

    I found this site as I was searching the Internet for information on self determination. Most of what I would add to this discussion has already been covered by others. As a woman, I wonder that I can terminate a life growing inside me based on others’ volatile opinions about what constitutes “viable life,” but I cannot terminate my own life. Whom do I belong to that someone else’s feelings, opinions, and perceptions are more important than my own as far as the continuance or termination of my life is concerned? I can make all manner of so-called horrible life errors, and society tells me that they are all my responsibility. That is the cost, I’m told, of being an adult. I can smoke. I can over-indulge in alcohol. I unhealthful dietary choices. I can engage in unprotected sex with many, many high-risk partners. Once I’m a legal adult, I can refuse to continue my education or get a job. I can become homeless, suffer the sexual and other physical depredations of others, and die slowly and torturously. All these things, though nearly everyone agrees they’re unwise choices–mistakes, I’m free to do. Why? Because I’m a legal adult and I am responsible for my own life, terribly “mistakes” and all. The regrets of others who’ve pursued, or been on these paths, never justify another forcing me to act “wisely.”

    Yet I cannot end my own life. Why do the suicidal deserve special protections, while the vast majority of society’s derelict do not? Just about everyone who matters–friends, family, politicians, doctors, lawyers, judges, police…–tells the societally lost they made mistakes and must now pay for them. Many of them will die painfully, abandoned, and that’s just life. But I cannot end my own life, so you seem to argue, Stacy, for my own “good”? How is that reasoning at all consistent with our culture’s principles of personal autonomy and responsibility?

    Speaking, too, as a licensed physician, even when I am confident a patient would benefit from additional treatment, I cannot force her or him to accept treatment. Even when the prognosis with treatment is statistically “good,” I can only present patients data–survival rates by years from diagnosis, side effects from treatment… Even if death is imminent without treatment, I cannot impose my will on a (non-minor) patient. So I do not believe the justification mental health gives, as you have here, Stacy, that acting against patients’ wills is justified based on the clinician’s superior knowledge of the disease state, or on the patient’s lack of clear thinking, or on the regret others who’ve attempted an act but failed at it later express over having attempted at all. At the root of the unique treatment modalities for mental health, in particular suicidal ideation, is an unjustifiable belief–not scientific fact–that life is always better than death. Other scholars in philosophy and medicine have written broadly on why this viewpoint is fallacious and never objective. Just as several European countries have finally concluded that life value can only be determined by a person living life, the rest of the world will eventually follow. The modern mental health therapeutic belief system is wholly untenable since it relies, like religion, on others believing the same principles as clinicians and mental health policy lobbyists–all who have a clear stake in the game.

    Lastly, on a practical note, study after study links quality of social life to depression risk. We’re all advised to have healthy and sufficient connections with others we care about and who care about us. But, who doesn’t want quality social relationships? A mentor of mine from my residency commented about the health protection of friendships that what counselors usually fail to acknowledge is that every relationship requires two people. There are very many reasons outside an individual’s control for her potential isolation. Clinical psychology fails to address how persistent these may be despite therapy, drugs, or other interventions. You can only hope to change an individual, not the others she must interact with. So the clinicians who are adamantly against the right of the patient to choose death, will they commit to being with each patient throughout the week, the day, the night, when loneliness sets in and these people feel abandoned and desperate? Can the clinicians guarantee that whatever treatment-du-jour will overcome the early-life formative experiences we know literally mold neurology so that these patients feel radically different, more inclined to stay alive? Will clinicians guarantee patients’ communities will put aside racism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, ageism, classism, scathing prejudice based on body habitus, or any of the other myriad prejudices that isolate over a lifetime? Or will clinicians be there, day after day, to provide the intimacy of a hug, holding those who need frequent reassurance? Or can clinicians guarantee a more equitable or hospitable world in general–especially regarding the sometimes monstrously callous or patently malignant mental health system itself? I think not. So, if clinicians cannot guarantee sufficient quality of life we understand is so crucial to “mental health,” neither should they be entitled to condemn the humans they cannot help to lives patients actually living those lives find to be hellish isolation and hopelessness simply because of clinicians’ assessments of their own lives, life in general, or even other patients’ lives.

    The debate over the right to end our own lives is not a matter of medicine or so-called mental health. We already know this since every day patients whose imminent deaths could be forestalled by medical intervention are permitted to reject medical care, and insurance companies are entitled, based on finances, to reject necessary procedures the medical literature tells us are likely to extend patients’ lives significantly. The debate over the right to end our own lives is shockingly rooted in biased value systems–“shockingly” because other people in this arena uniquely get to command otherwise legal adults not to act on our own bodies. To me, there is no greater a contradiction to the concept of personal freedom than this.

    • Mom says:

      Thank you so much for this. I would have loved to see a response from Stacey, but clearly, your logic and reasoning is far too sound for the canned “but what if it gets better?” argument.

  149. Yuuki T says:

    No, I don’t.
    Obviously, suicide can be considered a selfish action – the try at death may physically hurt others, stop traffic, pull public resources, basically inconvenience people in a very literal, tangible sense. And that’s not even counting the emotional scars that may be left.

    Nonetheless, though, I actually think it’s more selfish to deny someone the right to exit.
    Nobody signs up for this life of their own volition, and there is only so much someone can do to change the circumstances of the world around them. The systems are set, the ships out of harbor, and trying to rock the boat usually just throws you overboard. Everyone I know lives with nervous laughter and downward cast eyes: they’re poor, their dreams, goals, and ambitions will never come to fruition, they have no sway in the world, except over the children we all know they can’t really provide for. They work unfulfilling, dead-end jobs, working paycheck to paycheck, smothered by bills and rent, never having anything for themselves that doesn’t come from charity or that didn’t fall off the back of a truck.

    None of them want to kill themselves, at least none have expressed it, but if they did I wouldn’t dare stop them.
    Life really isn’t glamorous, not for most of us, and too often do people toil for no benefit of their own. If they decide that they’re sick of all this, that’s okay.

  150. mike says:

    With regard to “Do Not Give Up!” and “Do Not Give In”….

    I think the response to such statements is at the heart of a number of comments here – if it’s so important to not give up on life, then the person making such a claim should “provide the energy” and effort to the person who should not give up (i.e., the person considering suicide). I think many people who are on the brink of such a decision are out of the energy required to put forth the effort to “save themselves”. That’s the point! They are looking for help. And help is NOT telling them to somehow, in some manner, try to help themselves by doing something.

    When I’ve approached counselors in the past, I’ve approached them from the point of view of seeking help. If a counselor merely tells me what I need to do to, in effect, “pull myself up by my bootstraps” or to “snap out of it”, I get turned off and more depressed right away. Even IF depression and suicide ideation MIGHT be considered, to some extent, in the same category as addiction (I personally think there ARE overlaps between them) and that, as with addicts, the depressed or suicidal person must initiate help by taking the first step toward recovery (most counselors agree that an addict can’t really be helped in the long term until they admit to themselves they are addicted), I think initiating contact and discussing feelings with a counselor IS THE FIRST STEP. They have taken it. There, done!! So, to demand that the depressed person take even MORE steps by themselves (“Okay, you’ve got to do this and this and this to start feeling better”) isn’t helpful at all! It’s likely that the person dealing with these feelings and issues was barely able to bring themselves to a counselor and ask for help. So help them! And NOT by immediately telling them how they can or need to help themselves. They can’t! That’s why they’re seeking help from a counselor, get it??

    What we probably need is for someone to not only suggest solutions, but to basically enact the solutions, WITH the consent of the person seeking help, of course. Yes, to do the work for them (at least, initially)!! This is NOT out of laziness or from someone trying to take advantage of the system. This is from the point of view of someone doing the best they can, and that all of their energy went into asking for help! Yes, this is more expensive than someone doing something on their own, both in money and emotional effort. Yes, this is more individualized than a “one size fits all” solution of “go read this book, go research these topics, go take these special organic vitamins and chart your own progress toward a solution”. Tough!! If counselors don’t want to be seen as hypocrites in their actions, this is what they, and society in general, need to do.

  151. Anonymous says:

    I am that person

  152. Lee says:

    I think people who have had life long mental health issues should be able to choose to die. It is truly a life of suffering and is not fair to that person to suffer. Yes, they may have good days but the bad days outweigh those good days after 40 yrs of suffering. It is like being on a seesaw. Belgium is very forward thinking on this topic. There is no cure for depression and until there is,which is highly unlikely as pharmaceutical companies make billions on depression, anxiety drugs and other drugs, people should be able to choose the right to die with dignity.

  153. Anon says:

    I have been down the road of suicidal thoughts. I have severe anxiety, and panic attacks. I also do not handle stress very well. I had a very rough go at life starting from 12 years old, up until now. My teenage years were the worst of it, and i ended up dropping out of school. I have been with my wife for 8 years. She knows i have issues, and sometimes does not understand at all. I have told her about my prior suicidal thoughts, and she gets angry. She does not get how i could want to die. We have a 3 year old now. I try to maintain a positive way to think Because of my toddler. I love my daughter more than life itself, and it keeps me wanting to fight, and live. Some days are better than others. All i can do is keep on trying and fighting every day. I also have my mother and sister to keep me positive. I think that if you have that close circle of people in your life, it makes each day a little easier to get through. I wake up every day, and just try…. Thats all i can do for myself.. Just try…if i feel bad, and have those feelings, i just think about my child, and the woman who has stuck around 8 wonderful years.. I hope life can get better for others, and hope it continues to get better for me.

  154. Brent F. says:

    “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. Nothing could be more the opposite. Suicide is a temporary solution to a permanent problem. The problem being that of unlimited conciousness. I already tried to kill myself and succeeded and ended up in an identical life with a more damaged body. From a thermodynamic scientific standpoint there are multiple universes, each with an identical copy of you and identical environments. When you die by any means, even in the absence of suicide, you end up continuing to live in a universe that supports a survival scenario. So you decide to hang yourself with a rope. Then the rope breaks…or your parents walk in and get you help…that’s what *you* experience. Little did you know there is that original universe with a set of your parents mourning your death and planning for a funeral. So you’ve accomplished *nothing*, your neck aches and you still have 13 billion years or more of life to get through. Suicide only was the temporary solution. From the viewpoint of the self (schroedinger’s cat) the effect isn’t permanent and you still have to serve your sentence. You cannot fool thermodynamics/god/mother nature (depending on what you believe in). The enemy knows the system.

    Bottom line is, don’t waste time trying to discover the first digit of pi. It’s the number three any way you slice it. Suicide is a waste of time because it has no lasting effects. Just stay alive. Yes, you can put 1+1 into a calculator then clear it over and over but the answer is always 2.

    You will always be alive for ever and ever, no technology, person, weapon, ritual,or event can take that away from you.

  155. J W says:

    I believe in bodily autonomy. My life is mine, and mine alone. There are countless people out there — myself included — that have spent DECADES trying to recover, and things have actually gotten worse as time goes on. Much worse. I’ve tried everything under the sun. Yoga, fitness, meditation, self-care, spirituality, talk therapy, CBT, DBT, EMDR, Chinese medicine/acupuncture, supplements, body work, 8 different antidepressant medications (all of which made me PROFOUNDLY worse), diet/lifestyle modifications, self-help books, ketamine infusions, psychics (hey, we get desperate), bioidentical hormonal therapy, weekly IV nutrient infusions, ayahusaca ceremonies in Peru, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. I’ve even participated in clinical research. About the only thing I haven’t tried is ECT and I refused it because for those with atypical depression like me, the efficacy is greatly reduced – the risk of further cognitive impairment and even lower functioning was not worth it to me for such low probability of it helping. TMS isn’t covered by insurance so that’s not an option. To say that most people get better is to completely ignore the people out there who have treatment-resistant depression. I personally know 6 other people with TRS – coincidentally, they’re all in my family. It’s worth noting that I never believed my depression to be treatment resistant until the last couple of years when reality finally set in.

    When it comes to suicide, I’ve been thinking of that since I was a child. I’m 40 now. I’ll admit – my suicidal ideation in prior years was irrational. Now, it’s absurdly rational. No one has the right to determine on my behalf that I should suffer interminably for no good reason unless they are prepared to offer a treatment THAT WORKS. Oh, and it should also cure my chronic and degenerative pain and fatigue as well, because those are becoming unbearable.

    If I lived in Belgium, the Netherlands, or Switzerland, I’d qualify for voluntary euthanasia (all three countries offer it for cases of severely mentally ill people who have a lengthy medical dossier to prove they’ve exhausted all of their options). It’s comforting to know that there ARE societies out there with compassion and mercy, not to mention a level of emotional intelligence to understand that suicide isn’t going to go away just because we don’t like it. Society will have to keep cleaning up broken bodies and guts from sidewalks, they’ll have to keep fishing bloated bodies out of rivers, they’ll have to keep cleaning up brains and skull fragments from walls until they realize that this is an issue that requires a different way of thinking besides “it gets better!”, and one which doesn’t involve forcing someone to suffer simply to appease deeply imbedded fears about death and reinforce trite sentimentalities about life. The decision to self-euthanize CAN be born in a rational mind. That’s not to say that all suicides are rational and that prevention should be non-existent, but it’s atrocious that people with lifelong illnesses, both physical and mental, don’t have autonomy over their own lives and are forced to make such a big decision alone in the dark about when they’ve had enough, which only causes unnecessary suffering for their families if and when it happens.

    It’s worth noting that in those three countries that offer voluntary euthanasia, many people that receive the green light actually decide not to go through with it, and report that knowing they have the option to end their suffering peacefully and reliably brought them comfort.

  156. Rolly says:

    I hurt so bad. The darkness and evil is always looming. I have burdened my wife with my psychological disorders for nearly 25 years only to now burden my 12 year old daughter as well. My meds failed me last weekend and I exploded into rage. I’m hurting the one’s I love so dearly. I’d rather be dead than locked up again. I’m loosing a battle with my faith as a devout Catholic. I don’t believe God has time for me anymore or if He ever did for that matter. I want it to end! If it weren’t for my daughter it would be easy. I just can’t break her heart by ending my life. As for my wife, I trust without me she could and should remarry and hopefully have a happier life. A monster has controlled me for my entire life and I can’t take much more. There’s only one way to quiet the monster, rage, and anger.

    • pAT says:

      I can’t say i know your pain but i’m struggling with heroin addiction and its brought me to my breaking point and I still see no way out, the anger is the worst part, angry for being alive, upset at yourself because how society has structured you to live, I’m not sure if there are any answers to such a problem but there’s a beauty in self awareness, and its incredible how life can take you to the highest point and bring you back down to the depths of existence in no time at all…

    • Joseph says:

      I totally feel that way as well… I feel like I want to be the great good man people always try to represent. But the feelings my brain produce aren’t in my control. I look around and see people so happy and smiling and I utterly wish I could have that in my brain. I wish I was wired that way. I wish I could enjoy small things in life and get surrounded by the positive noise to the extent I forget I’m alive and just start living. But I realize I’m alive and suffering everyday. My fiancé wants to help but it makes her sad to see me this way. It makes it so much worse that the people I love are being affected by the way I am even with my constantly not wanting to be this way. I wish there was a pill we could take that would solve everything or maybe a solace or god that actually affected me without me having to essentially dig in for the positivity myself.

    • Pin Ann Coe says:

      If you feel you are inflicting so much difficulty on your family, then move to a small apartment nearby and make sure they know it is out of love you are doing it. Maybe it will take off some of the emotional pressure from you. Do everything else in any case, before making suicide appear to be an option to your daughter. She will face seemingly insurmountable challenges in this increasingly hostile world and I can tell you are a loving parent. Don’t let her think that suicide will ever be an option for her in those rough times. This alone is why you must endure. Find another way.

    • Amy LifeStar says:


      “Perseverance is the KEY;” and being “Creative and Innovative” to Approach the Nature of the CORE ISSUES you are and have been undergoing!

      Also, Medications per se: and in general have Too Many Unhealthy and Unwanted Side effects or Harmful effects! So, perhaps, right now, it might be good and wise to use a MUCH MORE “NATURAL and Authentic Health and Healing Approaches” for whatever and however you have been Tormented by!

      It is Worth to consider and Explore NEW and Uplifting Approaches and Reality and a New Horizon!

  157. m.m.mokhtar says:

    i think you are too young to get bored , you still have too much time , try life again

  158. Peter says:

    I disagree. I think it an individual choice. It is also highly subjective. I have diabetes and hypertension and my life expectancy is likely to be less than 15 years. A crippling stroke is likely. Much better in my opinion to end my life now especially as I derive no pleasure from it whatsoever.

  159. Anon says:

    I have a chronic disease. It doesn’t kill me, it doesn’t totally disable me.

    But the confrontations and the disapproval by society is killing me slowly by embracing me with huge amount of concerns, anxiety and depression.

    I cannot see myself happy anytime in this life, I pretend to be happy sometimes and I never expressed my desire to die.

    I can’t fall asleep not playing with my fantasy killing myself. My desire to die has lasted long and are carefully thought thru.

    Probably I’d swallow my pain to ease life of happy ignorant people who loves the society that killed my soul.

    The only cowards are the ones who cannot accept the choices other makes to kill themselves.

  160. Jacob says:

    If you want to die, you are mentally ill. Humane nature does not dictate wanting to die. However, human nature changes based on the environment you are placed in. So, if the environment you are placed in makes you want to die, then that environment has warped your view of society and has tarnished your hopes. Suppose you were placed into that environment from the very start of your life. How would you differentiate from good and bad? You would have no way of knowing what a “normal” life should be like. You would only know the “bad.” Perhaps you experienced someone else’s “happy” life, and you knew right then and there just how awful you had it. Would you have only known that your life was bad once you had something to compare it to, or would you have been content with your life? Let’s examine the life of any insect, they have instinct. They make their decisions based on surviving. They don’t care about the quality of their life, and their only meaning is to make babies, eat food, and die. Let’s go back to humans now, no one should want to kill themselves. No one should want to end their lives because we are here merely to populate the earth. Unfortunately we are not insects, and we have many more emotions than being horny. Still, you should not find yourself wanting to die. I’ll admit, I do not find life worth living. I think, “What’s the point of going on if I’m going to die one day anyways.” There are a couple of other problems, but for the sake of the comment, I’ll focus on this one. I feel all the hopes that I have will never actually happen. I’m losing hope. If you feel you have no hope, but you find yourself in counseling by your own regard, doesn’t that mean you have some ounce of hope in you? If you make the trek to go to the counselors office every week/day/month doesn’t that mean some part of you wants to live? I find myself, more often than not, only wishing that I would die. Killing myself seems strange, but I most definitely wish a truck would plow through my window and leave my entrails strewn along the walls. So far that hasn’t exactly panned out for me. I know that I have a problem. However I don’t find myself wishing to do anything about it. Is suicide bad? If someone is “keeping” you alive or “forcing” you to stay alive, and you do it, are you really being oppressed by someone, or are you making the conscious decision to not end your life any chance you get? I don’t think anyone truly wants to kill themselves. (There may be someone out there) I haven’t heard of anyone who is having such a hard time killing themselves that they feel they are being kept alive by someone against their will. If you wake up in the morning and aren’t instantly trying to hang yourself, then you aren’t truly suicidal. You still have hope, a very small amount of hope, but hope nonetheless. Is keeping someone alive a crime? No because somewhere deep deep deep down they don’t want to die either. The instinctual part of their brain is screaming at them to stay alive as long as possible to make a new human. If you truly aren’t dissatisfied with your life, and are actually content, and you still find yourself wanting to die, then sure, kill yourself. However, if you are depressed in any way and you find yourself wanting to die, then yes, you are mentally unstable. You have unclear judgement, and someone should help you.

    • Aiah Z says:

      Jacob, you’ve presented here a running catalog of your opinions. Others can feel radically differently, just as they can about many other aspects of life. You aren’t the judge of “mentally unstable” for anyone other than yourself. Be satisfied deciding on whether you yourself feel justified in concluding you want to live or not. Telling someone else she’s unstable and cannot make decisions for herself isn’t going to convince anyone else to live her life the way you believe she should.

  161. m.m.mokhtar says:

    solid and true statement

  162. m.m.mokhtar says:

    and in addition why do others want you to live in torture and no dignity life ? either they help you or leave you alone

  163. m.m.mokhtar says:

    the very interesting point you said death is pain , how did you find that ? and what kind of pain is it? thanks

  164. Kimberly says:

    The right to die is personal and should be respected.

  165. Jason says:

    Four years ,five suicide attempts ,two counselors and im still not better im 13 now

    • Tara Brannelly, MD says:

      I’m assuming you have chronic depression. You feel that the precipitants to your state are non-existent or inadequate, and you might be right. You need to see a competent, compassionate psychoanalytically oriented psychiatrist who hopefully will have enough skill and experience to help you. He or she needs to be well trained in “biological” treatments for depression as well as psychological ones. Undoubtedly, you have been on anti-depressants. If you have tried four with no effect, it’s time to move on to TMS (trans magnetic stimulation) which has a good track record. The other option is ECT (electroconvulsive therapy)-which is by far the most effective treatment for depression. It has been around since 1930, and in the old days, treatment was barbaric. It has been re-worked over the last 15 years such that memory loss and other complications are minimal.

      Ketamine infusions are currently somewhat popular, but I don’t think they work so well for major depression. They may work better for bi-polar depression.

      Good luck and take care.

      BTW: what was done to the patient in, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” was NOT ECT. It was a procedure used in the 1930’s and 40’s to remove sections of the patient’s frontal lobes. It was usually done on schizophrenics, but. It always Ieft the patient largely unresponsive and dull. It is illegal now and has been for some decades.

      President Kennedy’s elder sister Rose received the treatment because she was considered to be “rambunctious.” It is not clear what illness, if any, she had.

  166. Rethink says:

    Stacy, I just stumbled upon this again, while contemplating this possibility more and more, and I couldn’t disagree more with the “evidence” supporting this article.
    Perhaps the most valid point here would be a statistic which states that 90% of people who attempt suicide don’t die that way….. I went and clicked on the link at it gives an error. Presupposing this to be correct, is it fair to deny even that 1 out of 10? Also, is it not possible that if some other health condition didn’t come up first, they wouldn’t eventually choose this method of death?
    Second, the circular logic that supports the argument that 90% of people who commit suicide have some sort of mental health issue just seems ridiculously based upon self-serving assumptions, and highly questionable. Can you deny that there IS A SELFISH BENEFIT to the mental health industry to keep someone alive that might not want to be? It could even be argued that this is a form of torture, and there are very well written articles that make this case! I clicked on the link to find NO OBJECTIVE evidence of this!!!! I actually have a degree in Mathematics, and I have seen how easy it is to skew numbers and only include evidence that supports finding in research.
    Is it really beyond the realms of possibility that the psychiatric/psychological industry is perpetuating a myth that many in the population would love to support in order to make money at the expense of someone else’s suffering?
    There are so many ways to ask questions and to create bias in these “studies” that you have to question at least some of the objectivity of them.
    I recently read a list of fallacies, and one I thought was quite revealing was the Psycologist’s Fallacy seen here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychologist%27s_fallacy
    You can also look up regression fallacy, or even a little bit of Retrospective Determinism. Have these studies ever been cross-examined, and challenged? I clicked on that second link and they have a convenient disclaimer that this research is a “work in progress” which begs how seriously you can take them. Can you legitimately counter the argument that retrospective determinism is a fallacy that is just widely embraced in this research that states so many that commit suicide are “mentally ill”? If mentally ill means imperfect, then everyone in the world is mentally ill, so how many other rights/freedoms are we going to take away?
    I just cannot understand what gives some “expert” the right to impose their beliefs on someone when the basis is so questionable, self-serving (you can’t deny that psychologists make money off of people they call “mentally unstable”), and yet so weak in pure measurement objectivity. I hear this self-sustaining faulty logic all the time, and am baffled at how few actually question it! “If you are considering ending your life, then you are mentally unstable. If you are mentally unstable, then any perspective of yours has to be questioned.” Yet WHO, and by WHAT MEASURE are they deemed “mentally unstable”? By some norm in society’s perspective is in disagreement? As you mention, life is in constant flux, and so are the perspectives of this society! Hence I really think it is a slippery slope calling someone mentally unstable.
    There are times when someone has truly evaluated the pros and cons of living vs dying, and if one has no dependents, should have EVERY RIGHT to terminate this existence. We weren’t asked if we wanted to be here. Sometimes there are financial pressures that weigh on people’s decisions, and they logically don’t want to be a burden on others. There can be LOGIC to this decision, and in my experience, I have seen more logic on the side of those contemplating this gruesome scenario than many in the psychological community that constantly produce self-serving, weakly supported “research”, yet agree in masses because IT BENEFITS THEIR PROFESSION with the research.
    Please, at least acknowledge the potential for bias in this. If there really is measurable evidence that only 10% continue to commit suicide, well, that might be a somewhat valid indicator, but there are even flaws with that. I wish all psychologists and psychiatrists had to have all their work cross-checked with the list of common fallacies, because I think this profession would be MUCH IMPROVED.

    • Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW says:


      Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I’m learning, perhaps belatedly, that my participating in this debate does little good, so I will observe the process with curiosity and receptiveness. In the meantime, I want to share with you a couple things. One, this article will probably interest you: Mental Disorder and Suicide: A Faulty Connection, by Saxby Pridmore (2015). I’m linking to a PDF version through ResearchGate; be warned that those articles can disappear at any moment.

      I also want to thank you for letting me know of the faulty link, which I have replaced with the current URL. I alone run this website while working full time as a professor and psychotherapist, so I regrettably don’t have the time to check all the links. I appreciate when people let me know that one is out of date.

      Thanks, and I look forward to reading your further contributions to this debate.

    • Alexander says:

      Rethink —

      A few more thoughts.

      The 1990s and 2000s were glorious decades to be a psychiatrist. It seemed as though each year several new, potentially life-changing medications were brought to market. Options became available to tackle long-standing, treatment-resistant disorders. It did not hurt that big pharma had deep pockets to promote the new offerings. Stigmas were falling, more people were seeking help than ever before, and just about any psychiatrist could brag about patients who, with the right medication and a little time, returned looking more confident and reporting fewer symptoms.

      Today the shine has DIMMED…. The mental health of the nation may have even declined in the past 20 years. This trend is what Thomas Insel, former director of the National Institute of Mental Health, calls one of the “inconvenient truths” of mental illness. Suicide rates per 100,000 people have increased to a 30-year high. Substance abuse, particularly of opiates, has become epidemic. Disability awards for mental disorders have dramatically increased since 1980, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is struggling to keep up with the surge in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

      The most discouraging assessment came in 2013 from an in-depth analysis by the U.S. Burden of Disease Collaborators. Hundreds of investigators gathered data on 291 diseases and injuries between 1990 and 2010. Combining premature death and disability to calculate the burden of each disease, they found that the toll of mental disorders had grown in the past two decades, even as other serious conditions became more manageable.

    • Peter says:

      I think people classed as having a mental illness are likened to the psychology theory of people having a functional role/being able to function in society. This is a core objective of psychiatrists and specialist counsellors and the thought of not being functional is both abhorrent and considered by them a failure.

      This being the case, similar to other fields where someone has a vested interest in their career or “selling” something (be it a message or item) you do have to take what a qualified professional says with a grain of salt. They wouldn’t have a job if it was as simple as just letting people who want to loll themselves go. It would do them out of a job!

      A lot of people classified as wanting to die because they have a mental illness is more palatable than accepting the reality – and that is that some people SHOULD be allowed to go. If that’s their choice.

      Sorry Stacy mate – what you are selling I am simply not buying.

  167. Abby says:

    I think suicide is okay. No one cares how you “live” your life until the moment you decide you don’t want to live it anymore. Say someone wants to die because life is strenuous and laborious. Constantly empty and doesn’t care to “better themselves”. Then let them leave. Clearly they don’t think being alive is worth anything so why keep them here to suffer? Fuck life in my opinion.

  168. Mike says:

    I don’t believe all suicides can be or should be prevented. Can a person learn to cope with mental pain or stress? Yes. Is that always a positive thing? Consider someone with chronic physical pain. Can they learn to cope? Probably, especially if they have external help such as pain killers. Is that a positive outcome, merely coping with the.pain? Most other people would not object to the person in pain saying “no”.

  169. Anonymous says:

    Just as there is the right to live, so there ought to be the right to die. If someone is unhappy with their life and that over the years there was no improvement, then why should one prolong their torment?

  170. Matt Crawley says:

    Death is pain… I’d like to avoid that as long as possible…

  171. Anonymous says:

    No, not always. Sometimes there is no one to prevent it, and that itself is reason enough to have no reason to live.

  172. Anonymous says:

    No…if someone wants to die let them. It’s a free country and no one has the right to tell them they can’t die!

  173. Brek says:

    I’ve been feeling like I’ve wanted to die for a very long time now. I try to distract myself from it but the notion is always present in the back of my head. Friends, family, hobbies and doctors don’t help me at all. I’ve tried pretty much everything I could that’s supposedly anti suicide but it never really made me think any differently. Even when I go to sleep I’m plagued by dreams that don’t really bring any relief. It’s like constantly I find myself being told to kill myself by my conscious over and over again. I’m surprised I’m still alive to write this now. Before I was mentally depressed I weighed 180 pounds 5 weeks after that I dropped to 110 pounds reason being I was pretty much starving myself eating as little as a piece of toast every three days. I still weigh the same weight today even though my appetite is better then it used to be. People who see me me call me crack head/bulimic because I’m pretty much bone. Which is extremely hurtful to me, I never took part in either of those practices. The only drug I’ve used in my entire was marijuana. One of my family members have passed away and left me $8000 dollars im almost certain that I’m going to use that money for airline fare to the Netherlands and seek out euthanasia. What’s the point in living if it hurts to be alive? No one on my side could ever give me a answer.

    • Anonymous says:

      You may not be bulimic but anorexia yes have you been treated with meds yet

    • Joe says:

      It’s tough for a foreigner to be allowed euthanasia in another country, especially if it’s just for depression. You’d need to have a terminal illness. I recommend using the 8000 bucks you have to go travelling around the world you may just find inner peace and harmony, or someone who loves you, or whatever it is that makes you feel warm inside.

  174. Carla says:

    Recently, the moral status of suicide has been scrutinized by the poet and philosopher Jennifer Michael Hecht, in a book titled, Stay: A History of Suicide and the Philosophies Against It. Hecht wrote the book in the aftermath of two suicides—both victims were close friends and fellow poets. In essence, Hecht argues that suicide cannot be evaluated solely in terms of “personal autonomy,” as some modern ethicists might claim; rather, we must hold suicide up to the clarifying light of communal values. In an audiotape accompanying her book, Hecht argues that “When a person kills himself, he does wrenching damage to the community.” And this, surely, must be counted among the “moral harms” of deliberate self-destruction.

    I agree with Jennifer Hecht.

    The bottom line for me is that all of us, as part of a human community, must face and consider the enormous emotional toll suicide takes on those LOVED ONES who survive. We can empathize with, and respect, the tremendous pain that may drive some to suicide, and refrain from passing any harsh moral judgment on them… But we can also strongly encourage anyone who is suicidal to take some time to consider other options; to discuss his/her feelings with an empathic counselor or mental health professional; to avoid making an impulsive decision; to seek treatment for potentially reversible psychiatric problems; and–within the patient’s own system of values**–to discuss the effects suicide would likely have on friends, family, and loved ones!

    • Rethink says:

      I am sorry, but I don’t see how you can “empathize with, and respect the tremendous pain” that someone contemplating such possibilities might be going through if all that is thought of is “Loved ones”. How do you know that people considering suicide haven’t tried the things you propose, and those very people haven’t failed miserably? Don’t you think in many cases the person considering suicide hasn’t mentioned this to loved ones and those very people have selfishly ignored opportunities they had to help with a situation?
      The only exception in which I do believe one has a responsibility to continue on, is when that person has dependents. You brought someone into this world, and you do have an obligation to them. How can you expect someone to suffer on and on and on, just so someone else doesn’t have to go to a funeral? Isn’t that inflicting pain on the person suffering? I am just having a hard time seeing the genuine empathy, and respect for someone’s situation who may legitimately just be better off at peace. Keep in mind, that many times those who are contemplating, or carrying out the suicide have been ROUTINELY let down by that “community” Hecht seems to describe. Has she ever been to a state of desperation that those considering suicide are at, or is she just philosophizing? Sure, there are effects, but to make others in the community such victims all the time seems very short-sighted, and isn’t a perspective that really should be given much weight without further inspection. Often those in the community have made many many contributions to such a decision, and DO hold SOME (not all) responsibility. They aren’t always victims, and if they truly care about the person, should consider the pain that is being lifted off of the shoulders of the deceased.

    • Amelia says:

      Hecht was interviewed by Krista Tippett on her radio show/podcast, On Being. If interested, see link below:


  175. Someone Somewhere says:

    Leave them alone, let them die with some dignity (which is why I support euthanasia and assisted suicide of course) for goodness sake since they apparently couldn’t find any dignity being amongst the living. At least bother LISTENING to what they have to say (as opposed to simply hearing their words) instead of throwing tired cliches at them in which many make absolutely no sense on any level of basic logic, but it’s extremely rare to find anybody that actually does. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s extremely sad when minors (since they didn’t really give life a chance) or parents (because they abandoned their children) commit suicide but I mean if you spend every decade, year, week, day, hour in misery and/or incurable sickness, nothing makes up for it, you cannot afford to live or if you can it’s all moot because all your time and energy is gone once you DO earn it and there’s nothing going for you nobody should make you feel bad about cashing out early.

    I think the anti-suicide and pro-self esteem movement irritates me a lot because of the simple fact that they’re empty, hollow and not based on ANYTHING. Essentially nobody is allowed to face their own flaws and shortcomings; we have to wait for others to. People (especially children) are lied to from birth, told that they can “do anything they set their mind to so long as they work hard and never give up” and for some people this is true… but for those like me who are borderline-retarded and simply can’t and work hard only to end up exhausted for a whole lot of nothing, we’ve had the rug pulled from underneath. I angrily grit my teeth whenever someone calls someone else “lazy” or tells them “if I can do ____ you can too!” We all have different abilities and different levels of said abilities, and in this overpopulated sphere of god-crap floating in space, sometimes “our best” just isn’t enough. At least societies like feudal Japan had the guts to tell people they need to commit ritual suicide if they weren’t “good enough” and were “dishonorable” and actually mean it instead of this soft, fake smarmy crap they have today telling people they’re “perfect just the way they are” and everyone getting a “participation trophy” only to have that all slap them back in the face twice as hard once they face the real world. They want people to live on not because they actually CARE about anyone that’s suicidal but people always need SOME sort of scapegoat right? It’s just like how the bully doesn’t actually want the receiver of their harassment to die… if so, who would be their mark right? Society says don’t kill yourself and you can be as miserable as you feel, just don’t disturb the rest of the workers on the sweatshop floor with your crying and angst.

    I apologize for anything stupid I’ve said as this all is hard for me to articulate and I am far from an intelligent being… this is just my 2 cents.

    • Anonymous says:

      Try being the loved one of someone who committed suicide…your tirade is so naive. The majority of the time suicide is due to an untreated mental disorder. Those left behind suffer every single day. They suffer because we don’t acknowledge mental illness and stigmatize it as a society. You are the problem. I would never wish this kind of pain on anyone. I lost my life, my love due to this…and you are still alive and get to feel self righteous…

    • Someone Somewhere says:

      you are wrong anonymous. I HAVE lost people who are very near and dear to me to suicide. At least two of them were some of my best friends and though every day it does pain me on a personal level that they’re gone and I wish I could’ve helped them in any way even if it meant I wouldn’t sleep for over 24 hours, the fact remains that they are dead and at least they aren’t suffering anymore (I don’t buy “hell” of any sort either; just another thing to scare people away from thinking for themselves.) In fact, a few years ago I learned one of my uncles would frequently attempt suicide and because my family keeps me in the dark about EVERYTHING it’s possible he may have killed himself. Not knowing if he did or not torments me all the time too.

      I’m very sorry you’ve lost a loved one to suicide but my point is, from personal experience, it’s usually best not to assume things about others.

    • J W says:

      You actually come across as highly intelligent and articulate, and I enjoyed reading what you have to say. I agree with it all.

  176. AC says:

    I think we should be allowed to die if we choose. The mental health system sucks and you can’t even have honest conversation with your doctors about suicide without being doped up or locked away. You can’t talk to friends or family without them being afraid. Perhaps this is because people always assume living is best. If we can’t truthfully communicate our experience, because of the cultural discomfort of others, we are then further disconnected and isolated. The world is crooked and phony. I want nothing more from it.

  177. Chron says:

    I’m not sure I want to kill myself even though I tell everyone that I do. I think I’m just chronically unhappy and ungrateful. I think I’m a grown-up child who doesn’t really know how to correctly cope with my shitty life. I attempted suicide once before. I cut my wrist and wound up in a mental institution, but the therapy doesn’t really help that much. This may sound shallow, but I don’t think I would have this problem if I were very wealthy. I think if I had enough money I could at least distract myself from myself for at least long enough to die of old age.

    • Paul says:

      Keep in mind that you are correct, also death as you put it would not even be on your mind if you were wealthy. As a society (this society, not tribal) the way we kill and harm others in a socially acceptable manner is to make them poor, the less money that they have is the way that people are harmed in this society, and when the harm goes far enough they die.

  178. Paul says:

    You are wrong about people not able to understand that the world is mostly lies. Most people that understand how society functions in whole know this is simply a fact of life. Problem is that most people are unable to handle the fact that they are living a lie. Life did not start off this way, but has progressed this way as society has declined over many many years. There are times when society is improving and there is no need for lies to get people to contribute. One thing to keep in mind is that what we are going through now is nothing new, just new to us in this society and country. Rome, China, Greece and many other countries have gone through what we are now. However it hurts and we are not willing to admit life is getting harder for most people while a small minority are doing better than in the past. This is our standard of living. It is not your imagination, and to live in the moment you have to be aware of it. Don’t let the God will fix it crowd get to you, as they are part of the problem. If people do not work to solve problems, the problems do not go away but get worse till it all falls apart, then it will get fixed.

  179. Larry says:

    It’s no longer emotional for me. I’ve been on my own for 7 years of my life. George Carlin talks a lot about luck, about how people are born with it. There are some people who have lots of luck, and others…

    I haven’t had any luck. I made a career for myself, moved away, started something with promise. All of it is meaningless, it’s all status, everything I own is just something to distract me from my real feelings.

    I’ve felt this way my whole life. I’ve put up a front ever since I moved away, because I didn’t and still don’t want anyone to know how I truly feel. People judge you a lot for saying you want to die, with good understanding.

    You know that feeling, when you’re loved by someone, and love yourself. I haven’t had that. I’ve had girlfriends, been “in love” before, but never, truly loved someone. It’s really depressing. Incredibly so.

    I don’t feel pity for myself, I don’t feel like I want to die because it’s the easy way out, I feel this way because I’ve tried so hard to succeed emotionally, physically, mentally. I’ve tried my whole life. I’m tired of trying. I’m tired of being tired.

    There’s going to be a point where I am no longer going to vent about this and take actions into hand. The only thing stopping me? My parents and siblings. I know it would irreversibly kill them to know I feel this way, and that I did what I did because I wanted to die.

    Please tell me there are people who feel the same. I can’t be alone…

    • Paul says:

      The only person you and others really only need to love and be loved by firstly is yourself. We all need to love ourselves more than anyone else to get enjoyment out of life.

      I hope that this makes sense to you, as we are not able to be really loved by others if we do not love ourselves first.

    • LarryCan you see me says:

      I want to understand you Larry. I just made this fake account to respond to you. I don’t want to be a cliche and say I get what you’re feeling/ going through, but. I feel a need to be around you or interact with you.
      I’m sorry.
      – English is not my native language. I wish i could see you.

    • chancerylane says:

      You are not alone. I feel the same.

      I have tried, tried, tried. In the end I got what I wanted, only to be struck down by a chronic illness, which is not serious enough for any organisation to have mercy on me.

      So my only option is to exist. The thing is; I don’t want to exist, I want to live, but I cannot.

      I had my fair share of happy, wonderful memories, and I am ready to go, but I don’t know how. All of the readily available options seem messy and prone to failure.

    • Anonymous says:

      You are not alone.

    • lila says:

      I feel that way every single day

  180. Rian T says:

    Yes i feel similar to other comments, “suicides feeling are fluid” shows a blissful unawareness of the magnitude of the problem, and why so many people (the third biggest killer of men under 50) for example, chose to kill themselves. It is not done lightheartedly, as if there is another choice. Many i suspect are middle aged at least and have suffered for 30 or so years looking for an answer from their mental torture.The only reason people don’t do it or regret their decision after trying, is because they still have an element of hope there. This does not mean that their hope is logical. After 30 or 40 years of depression for example, i suspect that after that period of time, that the hope is misplaced, and if they have not found a cure after all that time at trying, that the hope is false, Of course no one wants to die, they would prefer their mental anguish to end, and the hope keeps them going. Just because people have survived suicide attempts, it does not mean they are happy or would not prefer to have died if this is how it remains for them. Hope keeps them going. In most cases regretfully, mental illness will not be cured if they have suffered for so many years, they will keep going and find ways to cope, often because of family/children they have. This is far different to being content or happy after suicide attempts.