Amidst all the noise and nonsense in the US about gun control and "mental illness", here’s a breath of fresh air… a sensible, moderate and cost-effective program to reduce gun deaths.
Not the full answer, of course, but a sensible and practical focus on the reality that most gun deaths are suicides – as opposed to the hype and panic around "mentally ill" mass murderers.
I believe some other states/counties in the US are also providing free gun locks… I dips me lid to you all for these occasional moments of sanity…
I rarely meet people with these views, or see their poisonous literature, but you sort of know they’re out there and still influencing the toxic culture we have around suicide.
Just imagine if you were suicidal and found yourself in the "care" of someone who regarded suicide as a "direct offense against God", "a gravely evil choice" and “a gravely immoral act".
I really believe that doctors, counsellors and other therapists that we might encounter during suicidal times should be legally obliged to disclose any religious views they have about suicide. Such hateful, ideological prejudices are really dangerous, just like similar ones that regard homosexuality as evil and immoral.
Yes, it’s 2013 but we still need to beware that these scary people exist …
PS And why aren’t the suicide prevention "experts" speaking out against such hateful, dangerous people? These views aren’t from some anonymous Twitter rant, they’re published in a "respectable" journal speaking to the American Catholic community. They claim a readership of 100,000+ and this article got over 140 Facebook ‘Likes’.
Wow! Here’s another new website that’s putting a human face to suicide survivors. Please visit, meet the survivors, check out the fab video… and if you can, help Dese’Rae to complete her project by donating to her Kickstarter fund…
A report on the "explosive growth of suicides in South Korea", especially among older women. The NYT is careful, quite correctly, not to confuse correlation with causation…
"The epidemic is the counterpoint to the nation’s runaway economic success, which has worn away at the Confucian social contract that formed the bedrock of Korean culture for centuries."
… but the link to massive and rapid cultural changes in recent times seems pretty strong. One phrase that jumped out at me was…
“The family was always an extended self"…
… i.e. suicide is best understood as a crisis of the self… and how we need to be mindful of cultural variations/diversity in how we each develop our sense of self… and ditto when our sense of self falls apart…
Spotted while browsing the AFSP website…
"Studies in the last 40 years have confirmed that physicians die by suicide more frequently than others of their gender and age in both the general population and other professional occupations. On the average, death by suicide is about 70 percent more likely among male physicians in the United States than among other professionals, and 250 percent to 400 percent higher among female physicians. Unlike almost all other population groups in which men die by suicide about four times more frequently than women, among physicians the suicide rate is very similar for both men and women."
I was upbeat about the new AAS survivor’s blog but we also need to remind ourselves what we’re up against.
Here’s a quote by Robert Gabbhia, Executive Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), a large and influential organisation with massive resources for promoting the medical propaganda about suicide.
“Among the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. most are claiming fewer lives each year but sadly suicide is one of the few that continues to rise. Depression and other diseases of the mind that contribute to suicide are real illnesses, not weaknesses. Not character flaws. People battling these illnesses deserve understanding and treatment afforded people with any other illness.”
An intriguing research project that’s looking for first-person accounts of surviving a suicide attempt – if you read their FAQ you’ll see they will accept stories even if no actual attempt was made (phew!). Stories can only be submitted through this website and are completely anonymous. Once submitted, stories may – or may not – be posted on this website… currently there’s about 25 stories out of what appears to be about 180+ that have been submitted. They also may – or may not – be edited by the researchers before getting posted to the website.
I have mixed feels about this project. On the one hand, I’m excited to see some serious and genuine interest in the first-person accounts of survivors. On the other hand, I’m uncomfortable that you lose all control over your story once you’ve submitted it. But mainly that the subsequent analysis and interpretation of these stories will be done by people with a medical perspective and purpose. We’ll just have to wait and see what they come up with. And hopefully they will make this valuable database of stories available to other researchers for other (non-medical) analysis and interpretation.
But it is another indication that finally, at last, there seems to be some interest emerging among the "experts" for our stories in our own words.
1. Waking Up Alive. – http://wakingupalive.com/
Although I’m familiar with the book with this title, this organization in New Mexico is new to me. Looking at their website, they sound terrific, including how they model themselves on the Maytree Respite Centre in the UK. Gosh, we sure need more and more respite homes – refuges, sanctuaries – for suicidal people. Unfortunately, they seem to be closed at the moment due to a "hiatus" in the organisation, which sounds rather ominous. I hope they’re back open for business again soon.
2. Midnightdemon7 – http://midnightdemon.com
A blog by an attempt survivor that is pretty busy – lots of posts and plenty of comments from 170+ followers. The blogger (can’t see their name anywhere yet) seems pretty keen on the concept of ‘psychache’ and the work of David Jobes, which I also regard highly. I’ve subscribed (become a ‘follower) to receive notifications of updates… worth a visit, I reckon…
3. Attempted Suicide Help – http://attemptedsuicidehelp.com
Created by Juliet Carr, initially to support people who care for a suicide attempt survivor, which is an interesting perspective – i.e. there’s lots for those grieving the death of a loved one to suicide but little or nothing for this trying to give support to attempt survivors. But Juliet soon realised that she could not ignore the survivors themselves. It’s still fairly new, and looks pretty mainstream in many ways, but worth watching, methinks.
The pity is, of course, that these are all in the US. Is this because there’s more happening there, or are they just more entrepreneurial and cyber-savvy than others? I’d love to hear of any other people, organisations or websites of interest, especially non-US ones.
A terrific article in the Guardian on the growing use off coercion in the UK. If you’re not already familiar with the author here, Richard Bentall, I recommend his books elsewhere on the website.
Too much coercion in mental health services | Richard Bentall http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/feb/01/mental-health-services-coercion (Maxthon Mobile Browser)