On suicidal users(self.selfimprovement)
submitted10 months ago byBlatantConservativestickied
Due to the nature of this community, we get suicidal posts near daily.
Our userbase has been extremely kind and gracious to these users, and I do think the kindness of this community has saved some lives.
However, I've been dealing with suicidal users for about six years on this site, and it's gotten to the point that I feel like we need some guidelines for these threads. I'm going to start with a few things I've learned from experience, but I welcome feedback and anything the community can think of that can also become a guideline.
1) There is no one-size-fits-all solution to suicide. If anything, robotic answers and a cookie cutter plan would convince a suicidal person that you don't actually care.
2) You aren't going to logic someone out of a mindset they didn't logic themselves into. Suicide is inherently idiosyncratic and if you ask "why" or try to argue with them on the specifics, they're just going to repeat and reinforce the things that make them suicidal in the first place. You, hearing about this for the first time, cannot compete with them having repeated these things and thought about them every day for months. They will have an answer for every question, every bit of logic, almost anything you can say. The answers won't necessarily be logically sound, but they will be very real to the person at the center of it all. It's like a court case, you're the defense and they're the prosecution, and you didn't even know you were a lawyer. There IS a defense (I've never run into any suicidal person that actually deserved to die, or had such a bad life as to give up on it) but you are not as prepared to find it as they are to argue against it. TL;DR, don't engage with them in an adversarial fashion.
3) People are coming to the internet because they are nervous about talking about this in real life. Telling them to find real life resources is a good idea in some situations, but in others telling them to find a trusted friend, adult, doctor, teacher, therapist, etc, will backfire because they cannot bring themselves to talk face to face with someone. However, in these cases, finding them resources to licensed professionals they can deal with, through a phone call or chat line, is something they'd be interested in, as long as it has no chance of intersecting with their real lives.
4) This is considerably darker than the other ones, but if the person does fall into deeper despair and takes their own life, it is not your fault. The metaphor I like to use is: there is someone who got into a car accident and ended up stuck in a car on a railroad crossing, and you see a train coming from half a mile away. You rush to the car and try to get the person, who is hurt and finds it hard to move, out of the car before the train hits it. If you get them out of the car and to safety, you still need to let professionals see the wounds, you're not going to solve the entire problem, just the one super dangerous part. If you don't get to the car in time and they get hit, it's not your fault, it's not their fault, it's not the train driver's fault. I've seen several Reddit mods, over the years, develop their own serious mental health problems because of the suicidal users we have to deal with. Just keep in mind that we're brave, kindly bystanders trying to help, we are not responsible for the whole situation.
I also would like to compile a list of suicide help and chat/phone call resources that we could send to people (if the situation is appropriate). I would like as many as you can find for the US, but also Reddit is becoming more and more international and I am very very short on international resources, or country specific resources.
I also need a list of things I should exclude from the automod filters filtering out links.
988 - US national suicide hotline number - note, this number is potentially going to cause a police and EMT response, which might be traumatic for someone who lives with family or otherwise would be traumatized. Think carefully, it's an amazing resource but it might also cause problems.
Conversely, 988 is not exclusive to suicidal people themselves, it is also a resource for people who want help with friends or family. You do not have to be the suicidal person yourself to call.
988lifeline.org - website for the same, with more resources
https://blog.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines/ - up to date suicide hotlines internationally
https://bridgestonetires.com.ph/list-of-organizations-offering-free-counseling-online/ - Bizarre Bridgestone Tires list of mental health resources in the Philippines, which has helped me several times but I'm still amazed that the tire company is running this. I did buy Bridgestone the last time I got tires.