Some tools for talking about suicide

Recent events have had me remembering some of the stuff I learned when I was doing crisis counselling, in particular the stuff we were taught about suicide prevention. I got to use this knowledge rather a lot, unfortunately, since I usually worked a late evening shift which was apparently one of the prime times for suicidal thoughts and actions, as I averaged one or two callers at risk of suicide every shift. (As well as the guy who used to ring up at exactly 8pm on Mondays to tell us how ‘confused’ he was about various sexual issues and fantasies. In detail. But that’s another story.)

Anyway, since a couple of things have made this a bit more relevant than is precisely fun of late, and since it strikes me that a lot of this is useful, or at least non-harmful, information, which may not be quite such common knowledge as I think it is, it seems worth writing some of it here.

Note that I am writing about suicide prevention under the cut.  You don’t have to read it if it’s going to make things worse for you right now.  If you yourself are feeling vulnerable, distressed, or especially suicidal, at the moment, for any reason at all, please talk to someone.  Note, too, that it’s easy at a time like this to feel guilty about being miserable because others have it worse off.  But feelings are feelings, and it’s not a competition.  If you are in Australia, Lifeline is on 13 11 14.  If you are overseas, here is a handy list of suicide helplines all over the world.  Please stay safe.

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At the going down of the sun…

I found out last night that a friend of mine in America killed herself shortly after the election results were announced.

She had a health condition that was painful and disabling, and which required daily medication to manage.  And, from what I can gather, she died because she knew she would not be able to afford that medication if Obamacare was repealed.

She was a wonderful writer, a collector of folktale retellings, and an adopter of rescue cats.  I’ve known her for fifteen years online.  I never met her in person, and now I never will.  But that did not make her less of a friend.

She is not the first casualty of this election, and she won’t be the last.

Lest we forget.

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Please, everyone, look after yourselves and each other.  And if you are not coping, please call someone.

(The link above has a list of suicide helplines for countries all over the world (the USA ones are in the right sidebar).