Misc

In Defense of Suicide Prevention

In Defense of Suicide Prevention

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

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

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

Written by on September 21, 2017 in All Posts, Misc, Suicide, Terminology with 18 Comments

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

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Speaking of Suicide … Within Limits

Speaking of Suicide … Within Limits

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

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

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

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

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Why I Came Out of the (Suicide) Closet

Why I Came Out of the (Suicide) Closet

  What will people think of you? What will people say about you? Some people asked me these questions when I told them I was publishing an essay in the New York Times (“A Suicide Therapist’s Secret Past”) about a very dark time in my life when I made a suicide attempt. I can’t really blame […]

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Can “13 Reasons Why” Really Trigger Suicides?

Can “13 Reasons Why” Really Trigger Suicides?

I don’t really want to read one more thing about suicide in 13 Reasons Why, let alone add to the mix. But I think it’s necessary. Many articles and essays I read about the show are based on emotion, without acknowledging the very well-researched phenomenon of suicide contagion. The more that people understand the facts about […]

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When a Suicide Prevention Hero Dies by Suicide

When a Suicide Prevention Hero Dies by Suicide

Untold thousands, maybe even millions, of people embraced Amy Bleuel’s symbol of passionate resistance against suicide: a simple semicolon. Tattoos, jewelry, and art feature the period floating above a comma, not for punctuation, but for an expression of hope.  That delicate punctuation mark, Amy would tell people, meant that the writer still had more to say. […]

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Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?

Is It Selfish to Die in a Tornado?

Written by on October 28, 2015 in All Posts, Misc, Stigma with 31 Comments

People who die in tornadoes are so selfish. They have people who love them, people who will be hurt terribly if they die. Yet they die anyway. People who die in tornadoes are thinking only of themselves. They take the easy way out when they refuse to overcome the storm. They don’t care that their […]

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Beyond Magic: How Do We Detect Suicidal Thoughts?

Beyond Magic: How Do We Detect Suicidal Thoughts?

No objective test exists for suicidal thoughts – no X-ray to detect broken hope, no CAT scan to reveal intolerable emotional pain, no blood test to expose toxic intentions. This reality is disappointing, even devastating. People understandably want professionals to predict and prevent suicide. For example, in the aftermath of the pilot Andreas Lubitz intentionally […]

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Transgender People and Suicide: The Tragedy, and the Hope

Transgender People and Suicide: The Tragedy, and the Hope

Transgender youth and adults have far higher rates of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts than the average person. Consider these research findings: The suicide rate among transgender adults in an international study was almost 800 per 100,000. In comparison, the suicide rate in the U.S. for all people is 14 per 100,000. (That study is briefly […]

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