Parents

Let’s (Really) Talk about Suicide

Let’s (Really) Talk about Suicide

In a week when two celebrities, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, died by suicide within days of each other, so did hundreds of other people in the U.S. One of them was named Flinn, a classmate of mine in high school. On Flinn’s public Facebook page, an outpouring of sympathetic posts, one after the other, […]

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10 Things to Say to a Suicidal Person

10 Things to Say to a Suicidal Person

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

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10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

10 Things Not to Say to a Suicidal Person

  “I want to kill myself.”  Those five words are a shock to hear, a dreadful pronouncement from a friend or family member you do not want to lose. You recoil at the thought. How could they want to die? As unwelcome as those words are to your ears, your loved one has handed you […]

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“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

“Shame Festers in Dark Places”: Keeping Suicide Secret

A friend recently sent me an anguished email about someone she knew whose teenage daughter died the week before. The mother was telling others that the death was an accident, when it was unquestionably a suicide. This saddened my friend greatly – not only the suicide itself, but also the family’s shame, so intense that […]

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“You Can’t Do Everything”: Limitations in Helping a Suicidal Person

“You Can’t Do Everything”: Limitations in Helping a Suicidal Person

Just about every list of “suicide myths” mentions this one: “If a person is serious about killing themselves then there is nothing you can do.”  But is it always a myth? In important ways, yes, it is a myth. There are many things that loved ones of a suicidal individual can do to help – things like […]

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Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

Is a Suicide Attempt a Cry for Help?

“She is not really suicidal. She just wants attention.” “He did not really attempt suicide. It was just a cry for help.” “If she had really wanted to die, she’d be dead.” These are often the reactions of friends and family to a suicidal person. Sometimes, it is true that a person who made what […]

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“How Would You Listen to a Person on the Roof?”

“How Would You Listen to a Person on the Roof?”

What would you say to a person on the roof? That is, if you were called out to a crisis scene, where a young woman sat on the roof of a tall building weeping and shouting that she would jump at any moment, what would you say to her? This provocative question – What would […]

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The Most Dangerous Time: Suicide After Discharge from a Psychiatric Hospital

The Most Dangerous Time: Suicide After Discharge from a Psychiatric Hospital

There are many characteristics that place a person at higher risk for suicide – depression, substance use, a prior suicide attempt, as examples.  It is important for clinicians to know that an especially dangerous characteristic, one that exponentially increases the chances of suicide, is recent discharge from a psychiatric hospital. I am at the Aeschi West […]

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10 Reasons Teens Avoid Telling Parents about Suicidal Thoughts

10 Reasons Teens Avoid Telling Parents about Suicidal Thoughts

Teenagers often tell me that they do not like to talk with their parents about their suicidal thoughts. Some teens do not tell their parents at all. There are many reasons why teens lock parents out. The biggest reason that teens give me for not talking to their parents about their suicidal thoughts is a […]

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Do Antidepressants Cause Suicide?

Do Antidepressants Cause Suicide?

Antidepressants and suicide are an odd combination. On the one hand, antidepressants reduce depression, which is a major cause of suicide. But – and this is an important “but” – there is also consistent evidence that, in a very small proportion of adolescents and young adults, antidepressants can trigger suicidal thoughts and suicide itself. Before I […]

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