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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
6 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
6 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
Marie
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
Marie
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 years ago

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

Marie
Marie
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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
6 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

greendaywantsavatars
greendaywantsavatars
6 years ago

but having your trust and bodily autonomy violated by your so called friends totally helps

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@kittehs

yeah, cuz taking away people’s aunotomy is so much better. ///SARCASM

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

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

LOL. A Brit friend of min summed up the Eastenders thusly:

“Good morning, so-and-so”
“IS IT?!?”

Marie and Fade: what the hell good is autonomy if you’re dead?

strivingally
6 years ago

As a friend to people who’ve battled with depression (and wrestled with the black dog a little myself), the best thing I’ve been able to do for people is be there and let them know I’m supporting them.

As a health care worker, if someone has suicidal ideation and a plan, I don’t care if they’re going to hate me or feel imprisoned, my first priority is to make damn sure they don’t do irreversible physical harm to themselves (or others).

There is sometimes tension between these two drives, I’ll admit. And there’s A LOT wrong with mental health care and its overlap with the judicial system that needs changing. But I find it pretty hard to argue with trying to save a life being the highest priority.

Just my two cents.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Marie and Fade, doesn’t it occur to you that people are responding to an emergency and trying to save someone’s life? Do you really think they’re sitting down and sussing out these things in a crisis?

What happens if you’re ill – not suicidal, but ill, in a coma or something. Do you expect that people should sit on their hands because you aren’t in a position to give consent to anything?

What really gets me is the way you two are universalising your own, horrible experiences, and seemingly expecting people who are distraught and trying to help to make absolutely perfect decisions on the spot, then jumping on anyone who has done things in their situations that you don’t like.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

You think EastEnders was miserable, try Brookside.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

In Canada, there’s a very high threshold doctors have to meet to justify involuntary institutionalization. A person’s Charter rights are paramount unless there’s strong evidence that person is in imminent danger of self-harm or harming others.

I’m with Leum on this one. My friend/boss committed suicide a few weeks ago. The cracks were beginning to show a few months before that. He was getting help but it wasn’t adequate and his death was the result. If I’d had the slightest inkling of his intentions, I wouldn’t have hesitated to call for help. I’d have called 911 and it would be up to them to decide which service(s) to dispatch.

Robert and Leum, hugs to you both.

kittehserf
6 years ago

“Good morning, so-and-so”
“IS IT?!?”

That’d fit perfectly in a lot of the shows I watch!

scott1139
scott1139
6 years ago

I just reread Leum’s original comment, and it didn’t seem like he HAD other options than calling the police.

kittehserf
6 years ago

::passes extra hugs to Aunti Alias, Robert and Leum::

Never watched Eastenders or Brookside. Crime dramas + Yorkshiremen and Geordies (see: Dalziel and Pascoe, Morse, Lewis) are dour enough. Even with lots of tea.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Brookside? I’m not familiar with that one. One more good thing about moving back to Seattle is that we’ll get CBC, and the two PBS stations there have a lot of British shows.

steampunked (@steampunked)

Up to a point, taking away someone’s autonomy is better than letting them kill themselves. I’m not a fan of forcing someone to live forever when they really don’t want to, but for most attempts, it is a resource available.

Also, having been on both ends of the whole ‘oh God oh God’ ambulance thing, I can say for absolute certain that very, very few people conduct themselves with perfect clarity during a life or death situation. Someone who loves someone who is suicidal is not always going to be able to make a good call because they are going to be in a dreadful state themselves. Things I have seen have ranged from people forgetting where they live (“I don’t know my address!”), to forgetting their own names (“Uhhh…my name’s Bob. Last name…I DON’T KNOW!”), to only being able to stammer out a local hospital address (“Something’s wrong, HOSPITAL NOW THIS ONE.”)

People in panic go for whatever solution they have right there and then, and sometimes ringing a number is the best thing they can manage while running around freaking out. Not everyone panics, but it’s not something they can be blamed for. Especially if blood is visible, it just happens. It’s a normal human reaction.

strivingally: That is a better summary of how I feel.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Plus Red Green, one of my all-time favorite Canadian comedies.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@kittehs

how the heck am I universalizing my experience?

Marie
Marie
6 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’

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

@ hellkell

The last Brookside plot that I remember well is when one of the characters who was being sexually abused by her father killed him with the help of her mother, and then they buried him under the new paving in the back yard. Which of course was later discovered. That show made EastEnders look like the Mickey Mouse Club.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

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?

When my aunt that I discussed in my above post got very sick it was because of a police welfare check that she was found still alive. She didn’t show up for work which was very unlike her. Her coworkers called the police to check on her because they knew she’d been having serious health problems (ulcers and internal bleeding. She eventually caught an antibiotic resistant infection that killed her). As it happened she never regained consciousness and was finally taken off life support. But at least she was given a chance by being hospitalized and we were able to say goodbye to her. Preferable to finding her rotting corpse on the bathroom floor isn’t it? Also she had a cat and a dog and that intervention saved them from running out of food and water and also dying. Both animals are doing well. The cat is with my dad and the dog is with my uncle.

hellkell
hellkell
6 years ago

Marie: you’re thinking that every single person who has emergency services called will be treated like you were, and that’s not necessarily the case. Everyone’s experience will be different.

Go be disgusted. I’m not thrilled with you yelling at two people trying to do right by their friends and children.

fruitloopsie
fruitloopsie
6 years ago

Robert and WWTH

I am sorry I hope you guys and your loved ones are gonna to be ok.

If I was far away and couldn’t get to someone who was about to commit suicide I would prefer to call an ambulance because they have more experience but if I had no other choice I would call the police.

I had a friend in school who said that she was going to kill herself. I got scared and told her that I would be very sad that she did. Afterwards I told the principle and told him to send her to see a counselor. So she started to see her and shes still alive today. I’m happy to see her happy with her new boyfriend. I know that he is taking care of her.

What leum did was great and I just hope that leum’s friend is gonna to be ok.

I didn’t know about being institutionalize after trying to commit suicide.

“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.”

Like scott1139 said that is messed up.

mildlymagnificent
6 years ago

but having your trust and bodily autonomy violated by your so called friends totally helps

Bodily autonomy violated? That’s what we do when we use CPR on someone who’s gone into cardiac arrest. For all I know I might have been the first one to crack my husband’s ribs when he was dying at my feet. He doesn’t remember any of that of course, but he does remember, a bit, the pain of the cracked ribs persisting for several weeks following.

When someone’s already poisoned themselves, it’s all too likely that they’ll be unconscious or so near it that they’re physically and mentally incapacitated by the time someone gets to them. I get the impression that you think everyone, friends, professionals, emergency services should wait until that point before acting – so that the issue of agency has been superseded by unconsciousness approaching death.

Most of us don’t want to wait that long when someone’s life is in the balance. Even when it’s not a life and death matter, plenty of us will act to override a friend or relative’s stubborn refusal to go to the ER when they’re in real trouble with a sprained-but-most-likely-broken arm or ankle.

Auntie Alias
Auntie Alias
6 years ago

Thanks, kitteh. It was such an unnecessary and tragic end. I am certain this wasn’t what he would have wanted. It was a case of sudden emotional pain that he couldn’t cope with in his already fragile state.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

@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?

uhh…. I wasn’t talking about calling emergency services. I was talking about when people end up foricibly instantutionalized

Leum
Leum
6 years ago

I’d like to say that I’d appreciate if people didn’t jump on Marie, her position makes sense to me and was something I considered when trying to decide what to do, especially because my friend is a lesbian and therefore at more risk for police abuse. I also really really don’t like that the first responders for suicidal threats are police officers and not medical professionals.

Without giving away too many of my friend’s details, I have access to her only via gchat and tumblr and she lives over a thousand miles away from me. In hindsight I could have asked for her phone number and tried to talk her down, but she had already rejected my offer to guide her via IM through grounding exercises (which is what I’d’ve done by phone as well). She had a plan, the means to carry it out, an intent to do so, and when I told her that her chosen method would take hours and be horrifically painful, she said “Good.”

I don’t know what her experience with the officer who found her was like, whether zie was trained or not in dealing with mentally ill people (some officers in her city are), or whether she went with zir voluntarily or involuntarily.

I also want to say that I’ve been voluntarily hospitalized several times for suicidal depression, which isn’t strictly relevant, but some people have been talking as though I have no idea what it’s like to fear involuntary committment and that is emphatically not the case. The only reason I had any idea at all of what to do is because of my experiences as a mentally ill person.

kittehserf
6 years ago

Marie, because you’re treating your history of being institutionalised by your parents, and your reactions to that, as if they dictate or are relevant to everyone else’s situation and actions and responses.

I’m pretty disgusted with people jumping on members who have tried to save their loved ones’ lives.

Cassandra – shite, that sounds like the Fred and Rosemary West murders!

kittehserf
6 years ago

Bloody html!

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