Categories
Uncategorized

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.

175 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
7 years ago

Here they answer, “911, what is your emergency?”

kittehserf
7 years ago

Hunky firemen, Auntie Alias? You mean they really do exist outside calendars? :O

katz
7 years ago

Auntie Alias: Bow chicka bow wow. And they’re likely volunteers so they probably all have hearts of gold.

weirwoodtreehugger
7 years ago

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.

Seconded.

Bee
Bee
7 years ago

Hey, so, I was once institutionalized against my will for being suicidal (I signed papers that said I was self-admitting, but if I hadn’t, my therapist said he would have me admitted). It was awful in a lot of ways, and also possibly unnecessary (was I really going to kill myself? probably not), but also kind of useful in that it interrupted my previously kind of out-of-control thoughts/actions. Which was useful because those thoughts/actions were largely pretty destructive.

On the other hand, the friend who called my parents and told her I was acting self-destructively, which was one of the things that kind of sent me down the road to suicidal ideation? I never really trusted her after that, and we stopped talking not too long after. That was probably me being an immature brat, but after 22 years we still haven’t reconciled so, probably not gonna happen.

Now, having recently lived in a city where cops were called on — and shot to death — suicidal people at least three times in the last few years, I would carefully consider my options before calling the cops on a suicidal friend. At least in that city, and especially on a non-white person in a non-white neighborhood.

Alex
7 years ago

Hugs accepted, hellkell, and yeah, I know. I can understand both perspectives on this, and don’t want to tone-police, and also don’t like seeing people get piled on when they’re asking for support, or when comments have made someone seriously uncomfortable, and blah.

steampunked (@steampunked)

kittehserf – I’m in Victoria! In fact, I’m in the bush (was at the Festival of Lights last Sunday), so we are surrounded by hunky firepeople of all stripes.

I have a possibly weird view on the whole institutionalising things as I was diagnosed with a form of anxiety-induced psychosis and they asked me if I wanted to live in an institution for a while. I thought about it and said ‘Let’s see if the drugs work’. The drugs worked, but I really, REALLY got the vibe that the professionals would prefer me not to be there.

It seemed odd to me then and now, a little, because I was a danger to myself and others (suicidal ideation and violence as well as voices), but apparently I was too calm and their resources were stretched too thin so someone who was fine with medication would have been taking up a valuable bed, I guess.

I’m still not sure how I feel about it all – possibly good because nothing DID happen, but I don’t know, it still feels like someone gambled and I was lucky it paid off.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
7 years ago

@kitteh, they really do! That comparison wasn’t lost on me at the time, in spite of my situation. 🙂

@katz, they were the real deal (in more ways than one).

kittehserf
7 years ago

Hey, fellow Victorian! ::waves from Melbourne:: Enjoying the chilly chill chill this wintry day?

Did your drugs/institutionalised situation happen recently? I’m amazed there are any places left where that’d be an option, after our hospital system was Jeffed.

kittehserf
7 years ago

@kitteh, they really do! That comparison wasn’t lost on me at the time, in spite of my situation. 🙂

Now I’m thinking of probably unsuitable “Have I gone to heaven?” lines.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

I guess that’s the one disadvantage of the skinny pretty boys I tend to favor, they wouldn’t be much use in a situation where hefting heavy things around was required.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
7 years ago

@kitteh, I didn’t want to say it in this particular thread but, yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking.

kittehserf
7 years ago

Auntie Alias, I’m not surprised!

zoon echon logon
zoon echon logon
7 years ago

No.

When I was suicidal, one of the main reasons that I (almost) never talked to anyone about it was because I did not want someone calling the police/emergency services on me. If I’m ever suicidal again, I will not talk about it with anyone who thinks that would be a good idea.

@Weirdwoodtreehugger

I guess I just find the notion that calling emergency services is a violation of autonomy very strange. If you saw someone get hit by a car would you stop and ask them first if they’d mind you calling 911? Or would you just call?

An unconscious injured person is not analogous to a suicidal person in terms of autonomy. One is unconscious, the other is not. It is a reasonable assumption that the unconscious injured person would want assistance if they were aware. Involuntarily committing someone to psychiatric care is involuntary.

A better analogue would be someone with a serious, very painful illness. It may be curable, it may not be. If someone in such a condition makes the decision that they’d rather be dead than continue in pain in the hope of it maybe, someday, getting better, I might try very hard to talk them out of it, but I think it’s ultimately their decision.

A question: Intervention in the sense under discussion (I think) pretty clearly involves violation of autonomy. Someone has made a decision, you disagree with that decision, so you forcibly override what they’ve decided to do. To people who think this is justified, what justifies it? (Real question, not rhetorical)

steampunked (@steampunked)

@kittehserf – About two years ago. We do have places left, but the ‘bar’ for involuntary commitment here is much higher than in the states, I get the impression. Though I was asked voluntarially and kind of informed they’d prefer I didn’t if I could just keep it together.

People here have to be assessed by a psychiatrist within a set time, and some states have a tribunal the person involved can request to challenge this. There are also protective measures in place to stop people getting other people committed by making up crap (particularly around violence).

Some treatments require further tribunals and procedures as they are deemed possibly risky to the patient, so it looks (I may be wrong? I don’t know the US laws) as if we have a more graduated system.

In Victoria, the mental health act states you can only commit someone if the person cannot receive adequate treatment for the mental illness in a manner less restrictive of that person’s freedom of decision and action.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Why do people keep acting as if calling the cops/emergency services when someone is suicidal will always automatically result in their being involuntarily committed? It doesn’t.

pallygirl
pallygirl
7 years ago

The couple of times I tried to kill myself I told no-one and attempted at such a time that there would be no interference – it was luck rather than anything else that I am still here. (I haven’t tried for…21 years, I’m over it just in case anyone is wondering.)

I’ve also had a few people I know commit suicide successfully – the worst day was when two people – one acquaintance and one friend/ex-boss killed themselves separately on the same day (different places, different methods, and they didn’t know each other).

My ex-boss was sitting next to me one day at work, and when we were alone, they told me they were really depressed (and the reasons for it) and that they were going to kill themselves and told me the method they were going to use. I tried to change their mind about their reasons at the time, and kept their confidence so that nobody would think anything worse about them. Then about a month later, after I had to finish work for health reasons, they did it.

The fucking guilt I went through was incredible. I blamed myself, I told myself it was all my fault they were dead and went through all the “if onlys” I could think of. They were a super nice person, possibly too nice for this world, and they were dead. It took counselling sessions, while I was getting treated for sexual abuse, no less, to get over this. Plus, they left family behind (no children, thank goodness, but an ageing single parent was among the grieving).

Also not helped by the other person coming to the safe house where I was the night beforehand and being extremely upset (I’ve never heard a guy cry like that before). And then he killed himself too, so I had two flatmates who also had this type of shit on them, at the same time I did.

Where I live, police do not routinely carry guns. Suicide attempters are not shot.

Anyways, that’s my short story such as it is.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
7 years ago

Why do people keep acting as if calling the cops/emergency services when someone is suicidal will always automatically result in their being involuntarily committed? It doesn’t.

Seconded.

mildlymagnificent
mildlymagnificent
7 years ago

“Enjoying the chilly chill chill this wintry day?”

Just you wait till tomorrow if you’re thinking you’re cold right now. Here, I just checked BOM’s reading for this area. The temperature has rocketed up to a balmy 11 degrees. But the wind has also picked up a bit – the “apparent” temperature, what it feels like regardless of what the thermometer reads – that’s down to 1. One whole degree. Courtesy of South Australia, you lot over there can have this as soon as possible so that we’ll be rid of it.

I’m thinking that I should pick up the needles and knit a few draft stoppers. Right now I can feel every one of the tiniest minusculest gaps at every door and window.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

My landlord had to cut down the edges of my door a bit because it was getting jammed, and now every time it’s windy I can feel a draft coming through underneath. I wish they sold those snake things that you can get to cover that part of a door here, but they don’t seem to exist since everyone I try to explain them to just looks at me funny.

steampunked (@steampunked)

A question: Intervention in the sense under discussion (I think) pretty clearly involves violation of autonomy. Someone has made a decision, you disagree with that decision, so you forcibly override what they’ve decided to do. To people who think this is justified, what justifies it? (Real question, not rhetorical)

It’s really tricky. The one I end up wrestling with came out of autonomy over children – as a first-aider, the one time you aren’t allowed to treat someone unconscious is if a parent objects – even if you are convinced the child will die. So I can be told by a parent ‘No, don’t do that, we don’t believe in XYZ medical treatment in our religion’ and I am legally bound to obey this.

Except the fact is I _know_ I wouldn’t obey when it concerned a minor. I’d override the parent here and do everything I could, and I know I’d be jailed for the offence. I am okay with that (not really happy about it, but it’s the price I pay).

The problem is that the ‘intervention’ I am considering in a suicide case is ‘Calling an ambulance’. So the decision they made was suicide, and the decision I have made is to override their decision.

I feel justified in calling an ambulance whenever I think there is a reasonable chance someone is going to need hospital treatment (caveat, I’ve had some training so I’m okay at assessing this unless I’m panicky). I’ve called ambulances quite a few times in my life as a result of being a responder, so it’s pretty normalised for me. If I thought someone had swallowed pills, cut themselves, thought they seemed dizzy, had sharp stomach pains, were, confused, etc, I would call an ambulance.

A lot of those symptoms are also identical to heart attack or stroke symptoms, which I also automatically dial an ambulance for.

If I was near my house, I would call the police as the station is much, MUCH closer than the hospital, and all police stations have a defibrilator, and I can use those suckers.

Leum
Leum
7 years ago

A question: Intervention in the sense under discussion (I think) pretty clearly involves violation of autonomy. Someone has made a decision, you disagree with that decision, so you forcibly override what they’ve decided to do. To people who think this is justified, what justifies it? (Real question, not rhetorical)

I overrode my friend’s decision because she was sick. Her brain had had its normal desire for self-preservation overridden by her illness. This has happened to me. My experience, and that of several other friends who also exprience depression, is that I am glad I was prevented from killing or hurting myself when my depression was that acute.

In the end, it boils down to this: I experience suicidal depression. I know what affect suicidal depression has on my ability to think and act rationally. Given this, I feel I can safely say that my friend was not in a position to think and act rationally, so I stopped her. To me, this is no different in kind (though very different in degree) from stopping someone from stepping into traffic because they aren’t paying attention.

Or, more simply, personal autonomy is not my highest moral value.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
7 years ago

Zoon, Bee and steampunked

Sending the internet hugs

Pallygirl

Hugs if you need them and I wasn’t there you are the only person who knew about what was going on but please don’t blame yourself.

you said that they were very nice people so I bet that they don’t want you to blame yourself.

steampunked (@steampunked)

Hmm, that is a more succinct way to frame it:

I value life over most other objects. There are limits to this (I’m not anti-euthanasia, having watched several loved people die from cancer). But in general I value life more highly than almost anything else.

There aren’t absolutes, it’s just if I have to make a snap decision, I snap to ‘life and the chance to fix whatever happened here’ rather than ‘respect for autonomy unto death’.

It ain’t that I hate autonomy. It’s that if I have to weigh two things of such high merit, the ‘life’ side has more for me.

And now my lunch is over an’ I really gotta work.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
7 years ago

Part of what’s being left out of this conversation is that a very high percentage of people who attempt suicide and end up surviving are very glad that they did. People change their minds. There’s no way to know for sure who will and who won’t, obviously, but it’s weird to be acting as if that’s not a thing that happens.

And I know for sure that it does because I tried myself when I was 17. Like a lot of people who attempt suicide, I didn’t really want to die (although I thought I did at the time), I just needed help and didn’t know what else to do and was stuck in a negative mental feedback loop. Once the people closest to me realized what had happened and made me actually talk about what was going on, I got the help I needed, and the urge went away. So can we please not ignore that part of this conversation?

%d bloggers like this: