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Video:TABOO ALERT: People Feel Really Awkward If You Bring This Up. Especially If You'Ve Tried It.

Health & Wellness  (tags: society, treatment, risks, safety, prevention, protection, illness, humans, health, ethics, Body-Mind-Spirit )

- 1824 days ago -
Wow.If life is hard before a suicide attempt, imagine how hard it must be after. If we can begin to help people who have attempted suicide or who are contemplating it by bringing this issue out into the open, I would definitely consider that a conversati

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JL A (281)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 8:02 am
TABOO ALERT: People Feel Really Awkward If You Bring This Up. Especially If You’ve Tried It.

Wow. If life is hard before a suicide attempt, imagine how hard it must be after. If we can begin to help people who have attempted suicide or who are contemplating it by bringing this issue out into the open, I would definitely consider that a conversation worth having.

Melinda Clark

ORIGINAL: By JD Schramm for TED. If you found this talk inspiring, please check out another post on this topic.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 10:14 am
A difficult issue to comment on

noted thanks

JL A (281)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 10:35 am
Difficult, but important. I lost a friend to suicide in high school and a classmate in college; both were very bright and talented.
You are welcome Carol.
You cannot currently send a star to Carol because you have done so within the last day.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 10:51 am
People also have no idea about how to talk with a friend who has lost a loved one. This is vary like that. In both cases saying something is probably less important than listening, offering and being available to listen, and doing so non-judgmentally (unfortunately the last seems to be beyond some people's ability).

Kit B (276)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 11:01 am

Suicide is relegated to that "no-man's land" of mental illness. How and when do we learn that the brain is attached to the body and there is no shame is being sick. Sooner or later everyone's life is touched by suicide, best to get over your judgmental self before that day.

Joanne is correct, a kind word, a touch on the shoulder, a smile of love and human compassion is the greatest kindness.

JL A (281)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 11:06 am
Great insightful comments Joanne and Kit! Unfortunately I'm told: You cannot currently send a star to Joanne or Kit because you have done so within the last day.

John D (48)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 12:54 pm
I guess it shows that no one can ever imagine what someone else is living through or with... as already stated a kind word or soft touch can maybe work miracles...

Birgit W (160)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 2:40 pm
Wow, very brave man. Unfortunately we see depression as something we should never talk about it.
But in the way our society sucks, we have to realize how many people are actually suffer on depression. We have to start talking about it, and showing more compassion and love to each other.
We are living in a very isolated society, and have learned not to trust anybody anymore. This has to change.

Gene J (290)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 3:11 pm
My 21 year old son, Brandon, a beautiful young man with everything to live for was man number 20 on 2/25/97. For the first time in his life, and the last, he did something perfectly the first time he tried it. My life has never been the same, it is not now, it never will be. Addiction is a horrible thing, so is undiagnosed bi polar which I believe he also was, long before it was an every day word. The thing is, part of me went with him that day. Part of me recognizes that although it was not my choice, he had the right to make it his, that is the essence of free will. He didn't think it through, that wasn't one of his strengths. He spent his life leaping off bridges, I catching him before he could land. That day he didn't give me a chance to do my part. It broke me, for many year, in some ways still. It broke a lot of things. Ripples he couldn't have begun to imagine, not at 21 when you are not yet a fully formed adult. I admire John for speaking out, but I am conflicted. I can imagine circumstances under which I might not choose to continue life, there are some things I will not bear, and we don't have that discussion either, the end of life choices we don't allow anyone to make, we treat our pets more humanely than we do each other. I know, sort of all over the map on this, but I get what he's saying. I live it.

JL A (281)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 3:13 pm
So many heartfelt and compassionate comments! Thank you all.
You cannot currently send a star to Birgit because you have done so within the last day.
You cannot currently send a star to Gene because you have done so within the last day.

Dotti L (85)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 4:29 pm
Gene, thank you for sharing.

Arielle S (313)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 5:07 pm
Gene, my heart hurts for you. At the same time, I applaud you for recognizing this was your son's choice. Right or wrong, it was his decision to make. I'm sure he never thought about the pain he would cause. I do not consider suicide wrong and like you, there are conditions under which I would consider it. I don't feel we have any right to judge what another chooses unless we have walked in those particular shoes. Hugs to you, my friend.

JL A (281)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 5:15 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Arielle because you have done so within the last day.

Jeremy S (3)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 6:39 pm
Gene, thank you for telling us your story.

The man in the video was well-spoken and calm, which made his message all the more powerful. My question: Is the awkward nature of this situation a product of Western society only, or is it true in Eastern cultures too? I know they used to practice hari kari (perhaps they still do), but I don't know if they discuss it.

JL A (281)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 6:44 pm
Jeremy--there have also been other cultures where suicide was the norm in certain situations elsewhere in Asian and in Africa at least.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 7:16 pm

Bette-Ann Libin (11)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 7:17 pm
Heart wrenching~

JL A (281)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 7:21 pm
You are welcome Geoff

Diane K (134)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 7:25 pm
Definitely a tough topic, but good to know there is a discussion, since if suicide takes someone's life, it isn't a good time to discuss. This attempt was made by someone related to me, bipolar, more than once, a failure.
He is still recovering, but has medication issues to hopefully help what's going on in the brain. Thanks for posting JL.
With sympathy, to Gene.

Helen Porter (39)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 9:15 pm
I volunteered for about five years with Suicide Prevention. Then I was employed with Warm Line connected with Crisis Line for about 8 years. I was privileged to work with many suicidal people. I was promoted to supervisor.

Inexperienced people have the saying, "If he was really going to kill himself, he wouldn't talk about it. He'd just do it. WRONG!!!!

One of the first things I learned was that almost always someone who is suicidal will tell another person that they are suicidal. In my early training one of the examples that sure grabbed my attention and determination was a case of a volunteer who had this nuisance of a caller. Caller kept calling and threatening suicide even when the volunteer was not on duty and had simply accepted the call.

One night, our volunteer came home from a trip out of town. He was exhausted. The phone.....the annoying caller. Another threat to kill himself.

"No, you're not going to," the weary volunteer said,


We learned to take every threat seriously.

There's the saying "If he was really going to kill himself, he wouldn't talk about it. He'd just do it."


So if someone threatens suicide what can you do. Of course, if you can, you get that person to professional help as fast as possible.

What you can do, what we did to save lives, is LISTEN. JUST LISTEN. Keep the person talking. It's ok to ask questions that keep him talking. But DO NOT criticize, explain, educate or anything else except LISTEN
and when necessary ask questions.

One of the most therapeutic things you can do for anyone is JUST LISTEN. We could have been fired for giving advice.

If someone let's you know he's considering suicide, if you can, get him to professional help right away. It could just be a matter of calling your local Suicide Prevention service, a doctor, some professional. And, for your part, just listen.

I know it's hard. Many of us think and indeed may have the answers.

Advice doesn't work.

LISTEN. You can save lives that way.

JL A (281)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 9:29 pm
Thanks for sharing your expertise with us Zee and providing us with the guidance that could well make a big difference in someone's life if we follow it when faced with someone threatening suicide.

You cannot currently send a star to Zee because you have done so within the last day.

Helen Porter (39)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 9:45 pm
Green stars to Gene, Joanne and Kit. You are so right. Thank you for sharing.

I was so blessed to share those years of service.

I am grateful.

And yet, I really believe, together with you and our Care2 members, I can do more good than in any of the volunteer services I have been privileged to give throughout the years.

I am grateful.

Helen Porter (39)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 9:47 pm
You cannot currently send a star to JL because you have done so within the last day.

Thank you for the article.

It may indeed save lives.

Leann Wells Huber (0)
Wednesday June 19, 2013, 9:48 pm
It is definitely a subject worth discussing. I imagine the social stigma of attempting suicide on top of the pre-existing stigma of being depressed and feel soooo bad for these people.

Patricia H. (440)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 3:53 am
thanks for posting

Gloria picchetti (304)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 4:57 am
Suicide failure is one of the reasons voluntary euthanasia should be legal. You can't force someone who is in pain or poverty to "look on the bright side" because there is not bright side of pain or poverty.

John De Avalon (36)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 6:11 am
My heart goes out to all those who follow or attempt to follow this drastic course of action...

A reminder to us all that we need to keep our eyes and ears and hearts open and alert, and to be there for people..

M B (62)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 6:22 am
suicide and euthanasia shouldn't be a taboo. It's important to talk about, and as Zee said "to listen". I've lost two friends, and afterwards I think I should have listened ! Now this is ages ago, but it still hurts.

Wolfgang W (235)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 7:47 am
You are what you think .Life is beautiful. If you think it isn't, it will not be so.

JL A (281)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 8:21 am
You are welcome Zee and Patricia.
You cannot currently send a star to Gloria because you have done so within the last day.

Twyla Sparks (208)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 9:07 am
I also have lost friends to suicide and I did listen, I tried everything but you know what she did it anyway. : (

Kit B (276)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 10:04 am

For my own reasons this has long touched me deeply:

Kit B (276)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 10:19 am

I don't think suicide should be taboo, then again does it matter how you lose someone? The pain of loss is still aching at your core, the person you long to talk with is gone. The only difference with a suicide is the societal condemnation. It's much harder to express your feelings of loss when others are judging the act of suicide, not the loss.

The song I posted - How to Save a Life, we all wish we knew that answer, not one of us do. We can try, we can stay up all night many times, we can help that person seek counseling and still it may happen. Never judge till you can honestly "walk a mile in those shoes", I say we can not really do that. We may try, but look into yourself, you know, we all know that we do not ever totally reveal the hidden side. Partly because, I think, we are taught to be ashamed of those thoughts. Societal condemnation we have a long, stony path to walk before we are free of those strings.

I have dealt with loss from suicide and "natural" death, and there is no difference in the pain for those of us left here.
There is a difference, sometimes ever so slight, but a difference in how the information of cause of death is received by others.

Debbie G (306)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 10:25 am
Gene, I am so sorry for your loss. Great comments here. Suicide and all mental illnesses should all be brought out in the open. Open discussions can lead to help for the suicidal.

JL A (281)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 10:27 am
Thanks Kit. You are right in that the level of disclosure can never be 100%--there are three aspects to each of us. That which we know about ourselves that others also know, that which they know but we are not self-aware about, and that which we know but do not share. The sad thing is the obsolete views that a parent or spouse or significant other somehow should have been able to control the child or spouse's behavior or exert sufficient influence to alter the outcomes. We can never do so unless the other person chooses it. People who communicate those obsolete views add to the pain of those left behind.

You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last day.

Gene J (290)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 11:13 am
You're right, Kit, it really doesn't matter how. I've lost both of my boys, Brandon as above, Evan, my oldest 18 months after a horrible car accident from which he simply could not come back from. The hardest part for me was the "out of sequence" part, children should not precede their parents, I wouldn't wish that on anyone, it is that I struggled with most with Brandon, then again 13 years later when Evan died. That changes life in a way I could never have conceived of before it happened to me. Believe me, I've run the gamut of feelings on this from self-loathing to certainty I must have done something awfully wrong in some previous life to have earned this one. It is a dark place losing children takes parents too. I've come to terms with things, I understand them on an intellectual level, but the visceral feeling never really goes away. And I imagine this is the same for those who have lost friends of the same age, though it was not when my dad and grandparents died, that was in sequence, I missed them, still do, but it was "okay" in the greater sense of life as we live it here. With my sons, and I think this probably true for your loss too, Kit, and other who have lost siblings, friends or children - every gathering is a test, for me there are two chairs empty where my boys should be. I've learned to cope with that, but I never stop feeling it. I've learned to deal with their birthdays, holidays, but for some reason Fathers Day seems to get more difficult each year now with them both gone. Maybe that too will ease with time. It just turns life upside down and I don't think those who do suicide really understand, or perhaps their pain is so great they can't endure, the ripples their passing leaves in the lives of others. How many are so affected by their passing.

For me, personally, the manner doesn't matter, it is the absence that does. Well, maybe that isn't quite true, it is hard to be clear even with myself about this. My oldest son was my best friend and at 36 I was still learning how special he really was. I believe Brandon would have been an amazing man too, he was so much more loving as a child than his more reserved brother, he wore his heart on his sleeve and you always knew how he felt, with Evan and I that isn't always the case. Brandon over reacted to his situation, in my thinking, but he did that all his life, and still he did something that didn't require my consent. I have to be okay with that in order to be okay with myself. I do believe in free will, absolutely. Even when the choice is not what I would do. It is difficult to talk about - Kit, you, and others mentioned societal misunderstandings and people not knowing what to say. That is so true, when Brandon died, my next door neighbor was a woman in her 70's, very Catholic, and she assured me, I suppose trying to comfort me in her way, that he was not in Hell, just purgatory. Neither of which I believe in and that wasn't actually a helpful comment back then, I had to look up what she meant. The pain for those left behind is real. It fades with time, but I tell you there are still thoughts that bring tears to my eyes, did fathers day, did yesterday when I wrote the comment above. I am okay, I function, but our lives are so intertwined, that though we do have free will, our choices affect far more than ourselves. Life, and death, is incredibly complicated. All without ever touching on end of life with dignity issues. Thank you all for your thoughts and comments, I appreciate them, and you JL for raising the issue. There are no easy paths here. No handbook. Just each other to lean on. That is sort of how we're built, I guess. Learn everything by experience, but for that to be helpful to all, we need to share what we learn freely. That part we aren't nearly as good at, as Kit mentions. Fear of what others think or say. I have learned to take what I believe and leave the rest. But it took me a life time to do so.

JL A (281)
Thursday June 20, 2013, 11:29 am
Thank you Gene for sharing so clearly the pain-filled contrasts and providing what you've found and learned to perhaps help someone else on their life journey.You cannot currently send a star to Gene because you have done so within the last day.
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