i love you and i appreciate how much you care but please get better at talking about suicide

[this post deals with suicide. please read with care.]

hey guys, as someone who’s been suicidal and who has come frighteningly close to losing people i dearly love to suicide and who has helped people grapple with being suicidal and who loves people who have lost people they love to suicide, i am really begging you to please be more careful about how you talk about it.

talking about suicide *is* important and i don’t want to discourage you from doing that, but please please /please/ educate yourself about the best way to do so before you do or before you share articles that do. teen vogue has some good articles about this topic, including the following:



also, the cdc has media guidelines to follow for talking about suicide, which we as individuals should also be following, especially when we’re talking about suicide on social /media/. these guidelines, which i have been referring to as i write this, are in an easy to understand format here: http://afsp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/recommendations.pdf

a couple highlights from this guide: don’t talk about the details of a suicide. don’t share graphic depictions of suicide.

please do not post articles about people’s deaths by suicide that do not follow the guidelines outlined in the document above.

(a personal note about how not to talk about suicide: it is incredibly distressing to me to read people’s assumptions of what being suicidal is like, which are often implicit in the ways they offer care particularly on social media platforms after a celebrity has died by suicide. you are all so well-meaning and i love you for that, but i would truly prefer that you don’t comment about the nature of suicide when you don’t understand it. a good rule of thumb if you have not been suicidal yourself is to assume that you don’t understand it and to avoid speaking about it as if you do.)

the do’s and don’ts section of this web page, below the “how can you help them?” header provides a good guideline on how to talk about suicide with someone who is suicidal, which are also good things to be mindful of when making posts about suicide: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-someone-else/

if you want to offer help to your loved ones on social media, a good way to do that would be to post the numbers of suicide prevention hotlines. (you can even call one yourself if you’re specifically worried about somebody you love, also, by the way, and they will help you help them.) the u.s. national suicide prevention lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-talk (8255).

this cnn article features more crisis line resources: https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/06/health/iyw-suicide-how-to-help/index.html

it is imperative to include information about ways to get help in any discussion you have about suicide.

you can also amplify the voices of people who /have/ been suicidal. a good post to share might be this one, from sam dylan finch, titled “what i wish my loved ones understood when i’m suicidal”: https://letsqueerthingsup.com/2017/09/10/what-i-wish-my-loved-ones-understood-when-im-suicidal/

please share these kinds of articles with care and with proper content warnings, like the one i used at the beginning of this post. these sorts of discussions can be triggering to folks, like they often are to me, especially when i’m not given the opportunity to prepare myself for them.

also, when talking about suicide, please avoid implying in any way that it is the fault of the people who are now grieving that their loved one died by suicide. they are not responsible for it and i promise you they are hurting enough. please be vigilantly cognizant of how many sides of this issue there are.

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