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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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Robert
Robert
7 years ago

We respect our son’s autonomy enough that, when he asked us/his therapist/ his psychiatrist to allow him to stop taking his meds (fluoxetine, guanfacine) because he found their effects disagreeable, we agreed. This was a while ago.

We did speak with him in a private setting at the facility, and he assured us that he was being treated well. My husband is going back to see him on Tuesday.

I greatly appreciate the support I’ve been shown. As someone who took it for granted most of my life that marriage and parenthood would never happen, I truly cherish my family and am glad that it shows.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Brookside sounds a lot like One Tree Hill in terms of ridiculousness.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Leum, I’m so sorry you and your friend are going through this. I hope she’ll be okay.

steampunked (@steampunked)

I think most people are talking specifically calling emergency services – I didn’t talk about committing myself. I’m not sure how committing works here, really – like a lot of Western countries, the government hugely de-funded most institutions here.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Robert, I’m glad your son is being treated well.

Leum
Leum
7 years ago

Thanks kittehserf (and everyone else). I hope she will be too. If/when I find out I’ll either post about it here or email David for a thread if this one has died.

kittehserf
7 years ago

I certainly don’t think institutionalisation would be a given here, especially since most of our mental hospitals were closed decades ago. Care in the community aka leave people in need of help with nowhere to go.

scott1139
scott1139
7 years ago

And tbh, not much to say, other than I’m totally disgusted with the number of people here going ‘oh yeah, take away their autonomy’

Yeah, except in Leum’s case the only options seemed to be: “call police, friend’s autonomy taken” and “risk friend killing self”. And Leum said she had plans, means, and intent.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

@ kittehserf

I can’t remember what year that plot aired, but I think it predated the West case, which is extra creepy.

And yeah, not every case in which the police are called when someone is trying to commit suicide results in involuntary incarceration. Most don’t. What Marie and Fade’s parents did was shitty, but a. that doesn’t mean that every other situation will go the same way, particularly when it involves adults whose parents are not the ones calling in the authorities and b. it doesn’t make it OK to keep lashing out at other people who’re trying to figure out what the hell they can do to help a loved one who’s in a crisis situation.

Also, if you call the emergency phone line isn’t it the dispatchers who ultimately decide who to send out? If you called the local police station that would be different, but if you call the emergency line I’m pretty sure that they’re not going to allow you to tell them “cops only, no ambulance needed” or whatever, they’re going to ask you what the situation is and then dispatch whoever they think is best suited to handle it accordingly.

katz
7 years ago

Leum: Feel free to revive the thread for updates. It’s not a necro if it’s relevant new information that we want to hear, all of which is true.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

@ Robert

I’m glad things are going relatively well so far. Please feel free to keep us posted/ask for support, if that’s something you want/need. The fact that you really love your kids is obvious every time that you talk about them, so don’t think for even a second that most people reading your words here don’t know that you’re a good father.

Dawn Incognito
Dawn Incognito
7 years ago

Leum, I just wanted to say that I think you did the right thing. I say this as a survivor of one failed suicide attempt and several planned-but-not-attempted ones.

My sister is a nurse, and she told me about the horrible deaths she’s seen of people who’ve attempted suicide. She’s had people tell her that they didn’t mean it, but unfortunately they did too much damage. Every time I think about taking a header off the balcony or in front of the subway I remember that.

It sounds to me like your friend was in medical danger. Calling the authorities may have saved their life. I don’t see how that can be wrong.

I hope you and your friend are okay.

steampunked (@steampunked)

kittehserf – Yes, that was my impression. Leading to the situation that is (for Australians) more common: Someone who is suicidal and you are the carer and the only resource you realistically have is the police and ambulance.

Given the way ambulance times are ramping up more and more, I’d probably call the police as well, as they would get where I am faster. After all, they’re trying to defund the bloody ambulances as well.

cassandrakitty – I thiiiink so, but here you get asked ‘Fire, Police, Ambulance’, you say one word, and you get directed IMMEDIATELY through to the one you choose. It gets hinky around some of it, as the Firies are volunteers, so channels can get weird. A lot of our Emergency Service personnel in the rescue area are also volunteers. You might have to call back more than once to get more than one group, but just getting a single group is pretty easy.

It should be efficient, and it would be if we’d pay our ambos a decent wage and maybe provide our fire folks with decent support.

mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

I suspect that a lot of the reason behind emergency contacts often sending police first, or only, is what the financial arrangements are with ambulances. Police don’t charge for callouts. Most ambulance services do. So if they’re not sure whether a person needs ER attention, they’ll send the cops first and let them call an ambulance if they see the need.

And then there’s always the access issue. If a door needs breaking, they have to be there even if it’s the ambulance that’s the real need.

Alex
7 years ago

Well, this is just my experience, but suicide dominated my thoughts on and off throughout my entire adolescence. And no one, not a single person knew. Oh, I’m sure several people knew I was depressed at times, but they never knew the extent. See, I’d set myself up as the listener, and often felt that other people didn’t need to be burdened with my baggage. I don’t blame people for not knowing; I must have hid it pretty well, and I really should open up more to people who are close to me. But it would have been nice if *someone* had seen and tried to intervene.

I mean it hurts to know that if I ever got into a really, really bad space and got as far as an attempt, it’s possible nobody would have any clue and I wouldn’t get any help. That knowledge has forced me to be my own person who talks me down when things get really bad. I guess what I’m saying is, however stressful being put into an institution or having the cops called on me might be, when it comes to a life or death situation, for me it would be nice to know that someone gave a shit enough to try to do *something* for me.

My nana went into hospital for liver cancer while I was visiting my mom and sister 8 hours away. When I returned, I had to stay with my grandparents, and my grandfather was pretty anal about bedtimes and lights out. Problem was I couldn’t sleep. Without the light I had nothing to distract me, so I started scratching my thighs, and of course he had no idea.

My last boyfriend had seen me almost faint after a hot shower once. Some months later I was in a hot tub, and I’d gone down to my neck to stay warm. Well, he couldn’t see me from the pool and immediately thought the worst and rushed over. Later he tearfully told me he’d been really afraid and said “You can’t”. I burst into tears. Logically I know there are many people who’d be devastated if I died, but sometimes I have a hard time believing it, so hearing it said in so many words really moved me, and quite unexpectedly.

But again, that’s just me. Leum, I hope your friend’s doing okay. And also it’d be nice if people stopped jumping on each other. Jumping on trolls is cool. Not so much when it’s people I like and respect doing it to each other. :/

kittehserf
7 years ago

I can’t remember what year that plot aired, but I think it predated the West case, which is extra creepy.

I suppose that’s marginally better than if they’d done it afterward. But ewww, anyway.

When you ring emergency in the US, do they ask first off whether you want police, ambulance or fire brigade? That’s how it goes here, and I suspect I’d default to “police” for something like this, if it was someone far away.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Where I live I’d prefer to call the ambulance people first in an emergency, since the station is close and they have medical training, but in an emergency where you think someone is about to try something, but hasn’t actually done it yet, it’s pretty much a case of whoever can get there quickest.

kittehserf
7 years ago

ninjaed by steampunked!

Which state are you in? Here in Vic the ambos have been fighting for better pay and conditions for years.

Alex, hugs if you want them.

contrapangloss
7 years ago

@Kittehs,

Generally dispatch says: “You’ve reached 911, what is the emergency”

Then, they dispatch any available resources that they can, or could be required.

Generally, a fire engine (for door breaking, extra bodies to manage heavy patients down flights of stairs, so on), and ambulance (for the patient).

The troopers (police) will also get called in if the call has any potential to be hazardous to rescuers or there is any chance of the patient dying, be it heart attack, severe trauma, or suicidal thoughts.

kittehserf
7 years ago

contrapangloss, that sounds more helpful for when you don’t know exactly who you need, doesn’t it? At least as long as the distpatcher’s on the ball.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

@ Alex

Agreed on all of that. I haven’t been in that mindset since high school, but if I ever was again I’d really like to hope that anyone who cared about me would intervene first and worry about what was going to happen next later.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
7 years ago

In my city, fire department personnel are trained as first responders since they can usually arrive at a scene before an ambulance. A couple years ago I was having stroke symptoms, called 911, and the fire dept. arrived first. There I was sitting on my porch, surrounded by a half dozen hunky firemen asking me questions and taking care of me. Ooo la la! 😉 They were excellent from a medical standpoint, too.

hellkell
hellkell
7 years ago

Alex: All the hugs.

I’d prefer if arguments like this didn’t happen at all, but saying nothing this time was not an option.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

I did some Googling. As I suspected, it is in fact rare for any adult to be involuntarily committed past a 72 hour old. Inpatient care is expensive, even if the patient has insurance and since the 80’s the US has been steadily moving away from institutionalization.

Here’s a state by state breakdown if anyone is curious.
http://mentalillnesspolicy.org/studies/state-standards-involuntary-treatment.html

In Minnesota where I live it is a last resort.

MINN. STAT. ANN. § 253B.09(1) “If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the proposed patient is a person who is mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or chemically dependent and after careful consideration of reasonable alternative dispositions . . . it finds that there is no suitable alternative to judicial commitment, the court shall commit the patient to the least restrictive treatment program or alternative programs which can meet the patient’s treatment needs . . . .”

Even for the state to intervene and force outpatient care the standards are pretty high. A person must be proven unable to make responsible decisions themselves.

Given the laws in my state I feel fairly certain that a person in a crisis is highly unlikely to be held for an unreasonable period of time and feel OK calling emergency services if there is no other option.

Alex
7 years ago

kittehserf, hugs are accepted. 🙂

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