Suicide

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 them. […]

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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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“When Hope is Gone Just Hang On”: More Songs Against Suicide

“When Hope is Gone Just Hang On”: More Songs Against Suicide

“Sad songs,” the line goes, “say so much.” And there are thousands of them. Many sad songs intensify a melancholy mood; some even extol suicide as a solution. Fewer and farther between are the songs that, while acknowledging the intense pain that fuels suicide, offer hope, encouragement, or inspiration to stay alive. In an earlier […]

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If You Are Suicidal, Envision Your Future Selves

If You Are Suicidal, Envision Your Future Selves

Suicide lies. It tells you that the way you feel now is the way you will feel forever. Hope itself can seem like a toxic lie, a set-up for disappointment. The present feels permanent, and the future feels foretold. Don’t fall for the lies. “The future,” as they say, “is unwritten.” Things can change. Things […]

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“Let’s Get Physical”: 7 Tips to Calm Anxiety

“Let’s Get Physical”: 7 Tips to Calm Anxiety

Anxiety is not all bad. We need it to survive. In ordinary situations, anxiety can move you to meet deadlines, obey the law, avoid hurting others, and take other actions necessary to avoid negative consequences. In extraordinary situations, anxiety can save your life. If you are hiking in the woods and see a mountain lion, […]

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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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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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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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“Oh, I’m Begging You, No”: 18 Songs Against Suicide

“Oh, I’m Begging You, No”: 18 Songs Against Suicide

Some songs portray suicide as a compelling option, even an outright solution. It is doubtful that listening to such songs can cause suicidal thoughts, but it might intensify them. Consider that old adage: What you focus on, expands. Focus on songs that portray suicide positively, and positive thoughts about suicide can expand.  So, here are 18 songs that implore people to […]

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