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Open thread: Interventions? No trolls, no MRAs.

This is for a continuation of the discussion about the ethics of calling the police when a friend is suicidal that started here.

No trolls, no MRAs, etc etc.  Trigger Warnings for discussion of suicide.

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scott1139
scott1139
7 years ago

The quote I posted was about how people who are depressed generally aren’t in a place to make an informed decision about suicide. If it matters, I also have depression and have thought about suicide.

I also have issues with some of the responses Leum got, as well as with being told to go fuck myself.

Robert
Robert
7 years ago

Earlier today, I saw my seventeen year old son for the first time since Wednesday morning. Wednesday was the day my husband took him to his weekly therapist visit, at which he told her about his suicide attempt the previous Sunday (a week ago, now). He’s been treated (medication and therapy) for severe depression and anxiety for over two years. Neither my husband nor I had known about the attempt until then. He’s been in a local youth inpatient psychiatric facility since then.

I am resistant to the idea that what we did was inappropriate. We very much do not want him to kill himself, and, as he is a minor, we have some legal responsibility for him. If he were eighteen, I think we would have done everything in our power to see that he got whatever assistance he could.

Marie
7 years ago

@robert

*raises hand*

Deppressed teenager saying it’s totaly fucking inappropriate. DId you even talk to him about it, or did you just sen dhim there?? Because I’ve been locked up by my parents and the whole expereince was fucking terrible. I hope for your kids sake your’e listening to him way more about this than my parents did to me.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

I’ll just copypasta the relevant parts of my last post on the other thread.

I don’t know what the laws are in other countries but in the US adults are very rarely institutionalized against their will. The most that will usually happen is a 72 hour hold.

It should also be noted that suicide can have traumatic effects on loved ones too. My aunt’s husband committed suicide, Afterwards she stopped taking care of herself (she already had health problems before he died) and she died 6 months later because of that. If I had foreknowledge of his plans I would’ve called 911 in a heartbeat. They’d both probably be alive today if somebody stopped him. He was an abusive jackass and at the time we were relieved he didn’t take my aunt with him but it turns out he pretty much did.

kittehserf
7 years ago

I also have issues with some of the responses Leum got, as well as with being told to go fuck myself.

::nods vigorously::

I know two outstanding reasons I’d call the police if someone I loved was depressed and threatening suicide – I couldn’t get to them myself, and ambulance response times in this state suck; people are dying from heart attacks because it can take nearly an hour for an ambulance to arrive sometimes. Also what mildlymagnificent said about ambos not having the legal right to break into a house, which police do.

catgirl
catgirl
7 years ago

I don’t see what’s wrong with getting help for suicidal friends. Obviously, the urgency may help you decide whether you call the police right away or see if you can reach a family member, counselor, etc beforehand.
I know that some states, however, don’t have the best inpatient care or that law enforcement personnel can be insensitive. I’ve only called the police on someone who was fantasizing violence towards others (he claimed to be planning a shooting). In other cases I usually listened and would walk students over to counseling centers if they wanted to go and needed support. Being on a university campus allows for this.

Robert
Robert
7 years ago

My husband was in the session with the therapist, my son’s psychiatrist and my son. I am sure my husband spoke with him about the decision, but I was not in the room. If it helps, the entire process took about nine hours, included visits to three medical facilities, and no police were involved. We did not simply sign a form and hand him over.

catgirl
catgirl
7 years ago

Weirwoodtreehugger:
The reason many institutionalizations are “voluntary” in certain US states is because once you’re taken in, you’re required to sign a form that says you’re there of your own free will. If you don’t, you will have to go before a judge at the end of 72 hours and it’s widely known that people don’t win those cases, and involuntary commitments will end up on your record.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Everything that I’ve ever seen from Robert suggests that he’s a caring parent who would always try to do what was best for his kid. Can we maybe take that as a baseline assumption?

In other words – not OK with what was said to Leum in the previous thread, and not OK with Robert being jumped on in the same way either.

Robert, I hope both your son and you (and your hubby) are OK. Have you had a chance to talk to him/the staff treating him and get a sense of how things are going yet?

Marie
7 years ago

@robert

thats good to know at least.

general

i have problems with how accepted calling the police is here. ‘law enforcement can be insensitive’ not police, but secuirity guard for a ‘mental health faciitly thing’ I was given the option of either leaving with him voluntarily or getting dragged there. Because the thing to do is apparently threaten people to get yoru way.

I have problems that (in the other thread) there was lots of acting like that it was either call the police or do nothing for your friend.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

This is something I’ve never talked about here and hardly ever talk about with anyone else, but I do have experience dealing with depression and when I was a teenager I did contemplate suicide. If I had taken action on those thoughts I’d hope that my loved ones would intervene in any way they could.

There were some extremely judgmental comments on the other thread so I wanted to put that information out there.

Please don’t assume another commenter doesn’t have any first hand experience being depressed or feeling suicidal unless you know for sure that they do not.

contrapangloss
7 years ago

Thanks for starting this thread, David. I’m really hoping everyone can still get along when this blows over, because I respect you all.

This is a really, really tough issue, and everyone’s experience is going to be different.

I know, for me, there was a situation where I wished I had talked to some authority, be it parents, school councilor, or anyone. The girl across the table from me in Japanese class was a reasonably good friend, but not my closest friend. It was 10th grade. She was visibly depressed one day, and made some statements that I was worried about. I’m not going to repeat them here, but they made me scared for her.

I didn’t say anything, other than offering her a hug (which she didn’t accept) and letting her know that if she needed anything, she could call me.

She shot herself that night.

I still wish I had called someone.

I don’t know if it would have helped, but even the fact that there was a chance it would have and I didn’t take it, is something I can’t forgive myself for.

Marie, I’m sorry if what I’m saying hurts you. I really don’t want to hurt you.

But, in cases where someone has a plan, and I can’t be with them, I’d rather cause harm and loose a friend, than have a friend loose their life.

I’ve failed to do that once. I don’t think I could handle failing in that way, again.

I’m so sorry if that makes you feel hurt, or if it makes you think less of me, which it probably will.

My condolences to people on all sides of this issue. It’s awful to be depressed, to be the suicidal one.. It’s also awful to be on the other side and not have a clue what to do.

Take care of yourselves, alright? Please?

greendaywantsavatars
greendaywantsavatars
7 years ago

this whole “the police are help” skeeves me out. You can try to help someone, but you can’t force it. If someone *doesn’t want* to be locked up and you try to get them locked up, you are contributing to the stress and misery in their lives.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Robert, I am so sorry. You’re getting him help, and that’s a good thing.

Marie: No. Your experience is not universal, I’m sorry yours was horrible.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

At least they’re alive to be stressed and miserable and can work on getting help.

Marie
7 years ago

@cassandra

this whole fucking thread was set up to discuss interventions.

@catgirl

Weirwoodtreehugger:
The reason many institutionalizations are “voluntary” in certain US states is because once you’re taken in, you’re required to sign a form that says you’re there of your own free will. If you don’t, you will have to go before a judge at the end of 72 hours and it’s widely known that people don’t win those cases, and involuntary commitments will end up on your record.

Thank you for the details.

The ‘involuntary instantutionalization in US is rare’ was bugging me a lot, and I couldn’t articulate why.

catgirl
catgirl
7 years ago

Robert:
I think you are a great parent and what you and your husband did for your son was the right thing. You don’t need to justify it to anyone.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Robert, I am so sorry. You’re getting him help, and that’s a good thing.

Marie: No. Your experience is not universal, I’m sorry yours was horrible.

QFT

steampunked (@steampunked)

No idea if this is useful or not, but I’m a St John’s Ambulance trained first responder (go through my retraining regularly, etc) and this is what we were told to do as first responders in Australia in the case of a threatened suicide:

* Call an ambulance, ask the ambos if they want us to call the police or poisons hotline.
* Be aware that the ambos possibly will call the police themselves.

If present, of course try the general things first – the talking, the reasonable attempts to assist the person, however:

Be aware that first responders and ambos(*) often end up needing first aid, counseling or treatment themselves, and therefore be careful.

I asked about the cases where someone was saying they did not want assistance, and was informed that the legal requirement in Australia was to leave the specifics of dealing with lack of consent up to the ambulance officers and police _while the person was conscious_. However the moment that person became unconscious, their medical consent was held to be in suspension and we should act, if at all possible, to save someone’s life.

Things get a lot more flexible with consent around suicide attempts that might harm someone else – so anyone threatening to jump from a height where they might hit a bystander, something like that.

You aren’t required to act in Australia as a first-aider, but conversely, you are also not able to be legally punished for acting. There’s no such thing as being able to sue someone attempting to the best of their ability to save a life here, even if the first-aider accidentally kills someone.

(*) Oddly enough, they never mentioned the police needing counseling, but I’ve got to assume they would.

scott1139
scott1139
7 years ago

The reason many institutionalizations are “voluntary” in certain US states is because once you’re taken in, you’re required to sign a form that says you’re there of your own free will. If you don’t, you will have to go before a judge at the end of 72 hours and it’s widely known that people don’t win those cases, and involuntary commitments will end up on your record.

That’s really messed up… 🙁

jemimalomax
7 years ago

I think it’s a very difficult situation to be in. I myself have had to be caught by the police when I have gone AWOL from psychiatric hospitals. And they are difficult to deal with. On the other hand, if they hadn’t caught me I would probably be dead. I have never had to call the police on a suicidal friend but I have had to tell a nurse in one of the hospitals I was in that one of my friends had brought back blades from when she went on leave home. It wasn’t a nice feeling to break her trust, but I knew it was the right thing to do. And later on she told me I had done the right thing and we remained friends.

kittehserf
7 years ago

this whole fucking thread was set up to discuss interventions.

Discussing interventions =/= jumping on Robert, or anyone else, and yes, that’s what you’re doing.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Apparently you’re just supposed to say comforting things to people who are suicidal. And while that can be a help, it’s no guarantee they won’t kill themselves. I lost a good friend…god, almost 20 years ago, he never let on that he was suicidal. Looking back, I know that the last time I saw him he was saying goodbye. He should be my age.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

@ Marie

You can talk about interventions without talking to Robert the way you initially did, or at least you should be able to.

On the issue of it either being call the cops or do nothing, it depends on the situation. When my high school best friend was suicidal I physically followed her around and wouldn’t let her be alone until a. she told me what was going on and b. I knew the immediate crisis was over. If she got into that same state of mind now, though, I wouldn’t be able to do that, because she and I are on different continents. Sometimes calling whatever the local equivalent to 911 is may be the only option a person has, and if I did find out that she was in trouble and had no way of getting to her, and she’d stopped answering her phone/email, that’s exactly what I would do. I’d also call her parents, but they don’t live near enough to her to be able to get to her in time in crisis, so emergency services it is.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Apparently you’re just supposed to say comforting things to people who are suicidal.

And a nice cup of tea. Cures everything. /has watched too much UK telly

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