This coming Saturday will be International Survivors of Suicide Day.
When I saw that phrase, I thought that it was a day to celebrate people who've had suicidal ideation but have survived; that seemed in keeping with a friend's discussion of their recent suicidal thoughts, in which they quoted a Tumblr post:
I don’t think suicidal people get enough credit for not acting on their suicidal thoughts.
This post is for all of you who have survived the urge to end your life, either coming out the other side or still fighting to stay alive.
I noticed how when someone has a physical illness such as cancer, and they come out the other side or even remission, they are able to celebrate surviving. I think all of the survivors of being suicidal should too.
Congratulations, and keep on fighting.
But it turns out that the day was intended as a day for survivors of suicide loss, which is important too. Maybe we can both celebrate for people who've made it through, and grieve for those who haven't?
At any rate, the day was called to my attention by a woman named Amy's post about her mother's suicide. (I originally saw this on Facebook, but even though that's a public post, it's apparently visible only to signed-in Facebook users. So I'm linking to the LJ version, which is visible to everyone.)
It's a good post, but difficult. Like my friend's abovelinked post, part of the point is to try to make discussion of suicide more visible, to talk about it publicly. But it may be hard for some people to read.
Here are a couple of potentially useful resources from that post:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has a free and confidential 24-hour call line (in the US): 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
- A list (from the American Association of Suicidology) of potential warning signs: Ideation, Substance Abuse, Purposelessness, Anxiety, Trapped, Hopelessness, Withdrawal, Anger, Recklessness, Mood Changes.
...I was going to try to say something here about means restriction, but it's a complicated topic that I don't know enough about. I linked in 2008 to a New York Times article about preventing impulsive suicide, but Bhadrika's comment on my entry makes clear that there are other layers to consider. The Lancet has an extensive 2012 article, “Means restriction for suicide prevention,” but it doesn't lend itself to brief summary, and you have to register (for free) on the site to read it in full. So instead of trying to do justice to this complicated subtopic, I'll just leave the links there for anyone interested in doing more research.