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Suicide Data Reveal New Intervention Spots, Such as Motels and Animal Shelters (scientificamerican.com)
146 points by orpheum 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 108 comments

> And the information revealed that people in crisis regularly turn their pets over to an animal shelter.

I don't know why I assumed they were visiting the animals at the shelter to try to find comfort when I read the headline. The idea of planning to surrender your beloved pet before committing suicide is heartbreaking.

More heartbreaking would be if the pets of these suicide owners die of starvation over a period of terrifying, lonely days. It's more heartwarming, if anything, that a person who wishes to end their suffering still holds empathy and respect for the living.

People who feel their lives are so terrible it isn't worth going on are usually not monsters. It's usually someone else in their lives that is a monster.

They usually just have too many problems, not enough support and have spent too many years wrestling with it without resolution.

If they were monsters, they would probably be planning someone else's death, not their own. It seems all too common that people around them are a big part of their unresolvable problems.

People who turn to suicide are people who turn their pain inward, not outward. They just want their suffering to stop in a world that both has no answers and often isn't really trying to find them.

An uncle of mine blew his brains out a couple of years ago after a decade of struggling with mental health issues. I used to get so enraged at him for abandoning his family in that way.

For some reason, your post really brought home to me that maybe what he was seeking was a way out, that he couldn't live with what the person he had become was putting his family through and that maybe he did it because to him that was better for them than sticking around.

Helping me understand that event probably wasn't your intent, but thank you for sharing this, because I think you succeeded.

I hope you and your family have been able to find peace or are at least able to work toward it... I am so sorry for your loss.

There's a quote in the novel Infinite Jest that changed my perception on suicide. This passage helped me make some sense of something so terrible. It helped me see that I honestly can't even imagine what's going through the head of someone who is going against every human instinct to otherwise survive.

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”

Our current world mostly doesn't have effective solutions for mental health issues. Given that fact, it's easy to feel like death is the only possible escape.

I know a few things that can be helpful, though it's still a hard row to hoe. But saying I know anything useful often just gets me called crazy by internet strangers -- just more evidence that our own personal hells are all too often compounded by other people.

I hope you can make your peace.

"Our current world mostly doesn't have effective solutions for mental health issues. "

This is not true. "Mental health issues" may be a broad field. I guess US prisons are full of such people, some beyond repair. But I know people who got hospitalized because of health issues and they are doing quite well today.

There is help. There are medications and things can normalize.

I have a friend who developed mental issues and, as far as I know, is roaming homeless in Canada. But this must not be the rule.

> There is help. There are medications and things can normalize.

They can, but the odds and process aren't the greatest. It's a pretty common experience that people spend years going through different treatment options before they find something that really works. For major depressive disorder, something like 15-20% of patients never find something that works consistently.

It can also be not entirely or to any degree selfish. Depending on the particular state one is in, the world can be like a place where one is only causing harm, no good. Friends and family suffer because of oneself, one is betraying work and society and one is also constantly disappointing the once beloved pet. It really can be an act of "whelp if everyone is better of without me, then...", it can be an altruistic thought in a really twisted way that stems from a highly disturbed sense of selfworth. I have been there, and it was not all about me, I was genuinely convinced I would make the world a worse place in every way, that every person loving me is fooled etc.

I can feel so much pain from that description and I truly hope you are doing well mate!

Thank you! It was absurdly much pain, esp. considering it started at age 9. It is not a place where I wish anybody, and I can't imagine I will ever suffer anything comparable. But good news: I decided to live (religion played and plays a role, with interesting implications on "Good God vs Suffering"), at 18, I felt like I have a fresh start, at 23 I got therapy, now at my mid-twenties I am able to deal with my episodes well, stopping most of them before they begin (comes down to stress management).

It was hell. But I enjoy my life now, and I learned many lessons in that time. My past is part of me and I can use even my past for good. I try to be a role model for the people that deal with depression around me (and maybe later academia). There is very good news for people with depression: Once one decides to get help, there is a lot of well-researched therapy (& medications if needed) around. Chances of recovery and depression management are high. And it is a field where great progress is made.

Thank you for you wishes! I can only encourage anyone with depression and similar problems to seek help - it does not bother the therapists and can improve life in ways not imaginable!

The gist of what you're saying is correct, but we must be careful with words such as "monster". There may not be anyone in their life causing their suffering, it's actually often the opposite, there is simply no one to turn to.

I also personally tend to avoid the word "usually" because being suicidal is not overwhelmingly associated with any specific situation. All kinds of people can have suicidal thoughts, and having them is not a sign that you're a good or bad person.

Reminded me of this[https://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2012/s3448140.htm], where China continues to label Tibetan self-immolators, as Terrorists.

Where can adults living with this kind of thing, like extreme bullying or psychopathy, get help moving on to better their lives?

I do what I can to share useful information. In addition to to speaking out on HN, I blog about things like homelessness and LGBTQ issues.

If you wish, I could direct you to some of my writing. Beyond that, I don't personally know. "The System" tends to not have good answers.

Personally, if anyone cares, the most important thing someone like me needs eyes on them to keep accountability against abuse. Basically I need help defending my right to peace, civil rights.

Empowerment, opportunity come second, I think.

I don't know much about the system. I'm not interested or in-need of explicit welfare or handouts, and everything else was a massive waste of time.

Hate and abuse, tyranny, bullying, whatever you call it I think can happen to anyone, or any group, but it usually happens to people who were weak, or who experienced it before. Once it happens more than once you become such a target for opportunists, and pariah for everyone else who is "just following their self-interest."

I honestly don't even know what the best thing to do is.

I don’t know of any catch all resource. Is this something going on right now, or in your past? If it’s right now, the focus will be on separating yourself from the problem. If it’s the past, then that’s recovery. If you send me an email (my last name at gmail) I could point you to some things that helped me and could apply to your situation.

It is hard to explain everything, but it started when I was a teenager and talked to people at my school about abuse at home. My father hired a team of lawyers after that and they cut a deal with child services which had me shipped off into the Troubled Teen Industry. There I experienced the start of this pattern of abuse and a cult of personality of put downs to me started. It sounds crazy, but I had some authorities there just telling me put downs all the time, like it was a scene from a movie about certain math prodigy at Harvard.

When I was 18 I was taken out of there and then just homeless. By my mid-20s I had a lot of problems with extreme bullying again and unexplainable negativity towards me, but after a short stint with homelessness again I moved to a new city, applied for some jobs and got up to a about 80-90k compensation within a year there. Then I started having problems again with stalking and apparent intent to harm me.

This probably reads as unreal, unbelievable. If I didn't know better and read someone write this on the internet, I'd think it reads like the person has paranoid delusions, mental illness.

Thank you for sharing. To me, every part of your story sounds completely believable.

CPS has limited resources and a lawyered up parent can beat them. I’ve heard of institutions based on abuse like you described. Someone who went through what you did would likely end up homeless, but then there’s a chance they can beat that and get a good paying job. And then it’s a well known phenomenon that people who have been victimized at some point in their life are more likely to experience it again, later.

I don’t know you past your comments, but nothing I read sounds like paranoid delusions or mental illness.

I’m not a therapist, but I suggest you talk to one. I’m guessing you have health insurance with your good job. They wouldn’t have to give you a severe diagnoses to have it covered. I don’t know you, but maybe a professional would find you to be dealing with Adjustment Disorder or Anxiety. A professional therapist could be the trusted advocate that you need.

My caution is to only go with a licensed therapist, and one that gives you a good gut feeling. Be 100% prepared to walk away if this person starts acting like the abusers in your life. And avoid unlicensed people like “life coaches”. Some of them are great, but I also think they have a higher rate of people who just enjoy having power over other people, and that’s the last thing you need.

I hope this helps.

Thanks for responding, but I quit my job a several years ago and even left the country so I think this is not easy to come by.

Hey there! I am sorry for what you have been through so far. Since I am to go soon, I will keep it short:

1) I heavily suggest going into counceling. The change of behaviour and self concept needed might be too much to manage on your own.

2) It is a unfortunate, but well-researched phenomenon that perpetuators go for a certain type of personality that expresses itself by way of talking an non-verbal communication. There is also such a thing as bad, bad luck, but social dynamics also play a role. This is an area where you can likely improve aswell: Recognizing your feelings, others feeling and actions, and what is okay and not okay for you,

Gotta go now, all the best tho! Your problems seem treatable to me, but it might take time. You can do this.

I don't know how to say this without it coming across the wrong way, but if we look back up the thread the topic was about victims having difficult social circumstances, or even just unsolvable, abusive ones.

I always see this pattern when talking about tyranny and its victims. When it is talked about in an abstracted sense (meaning you are distanced from the situation by time or place), it is almost always in the above context of toxic environments. But when it is addressed directly, the focus turns to the victim and trying to identify what is wrong with them, not with the group.

I know it is a long shot but I am really eager to document the extreme abusiveness and kind of life-ruining tyranny I've experienced. I want to raise awareness and stop this from happening to anyone else.

> But when it is addressed directly, the focus turns to the victim and trying to identify what is wrong with them, not with the group.

This is because it is the only effective way to change anything. The victim has to recognize their situation, develop the will to escape / change it, and then do concrete steps. Of course, not alone. You are not guilty of anything, but it is still your responsability to change your life if you want it. It is hard and shitty, but nobody will change because you feel shitty.

It is the same as with every other difficult situation. I could stagnate my whole life, complaining about nobody helped me when I first voiced suicidal thoughts at age 10. I was fucking hard and many people failed me, including me. I did not have a childhood. I see every right to complain and blame others. But who will this help? No one. I had to change something. Because my environment is the last thing that will change.

> I want to raise awareness and stop this from happening to anyone else.

I will be blunt: This is not an effective way of achieving this goal. Much more effective would be to 1) get help (helps you to tackle those problems in your environment) and 2) join an organization that does deal with bullying (they likely know how to reach more people more effectively).

>I will be blunt

Are you sure?

Maybe your ideas would do better in my situation, maybe they'd fare worse?

Whenever we hear about bad history, such as what happened in Nazi Germany, religious persecutions, or even witch trials, everyone says they'd help them. My story is different mostly in the sense that whoever is trying to kill me or inflict ill will to me hasn't succeeded yet, and that my tyranny is not part of a collective, it is against an individual.

I don't want to be combative for its own sake. What I mean is to get at is I don't really know how much time to put into this advice. Help from whom? What organization?

I'd be very interested in some research backing up (2). Not because I don't believe you (actually I very much do). More that I'm curious and want to find out more about this phenomena.

Sure thing! In all honesty, that was something that I heart from my mother. (She works in psychology, but she is not an academic. So I should probably retract the "well" in "well-researched") But a quick research turned up these two sources:

General info about Victims, Bullies, Victim-Bullies


More on point: In-depth about who is more likely to become a victim


I haven't read these thoroughly, but hopefully it's a place to start. I searched for "picking victims study." That seemed to come up with some hits. A search for "group dynamics abuse" was less helpful.

Targets who displayed vulnerable body language were more likely to report past histories of victimization, and psychopaths identified these individuals as being more vulnerable to future victimization.


What Do Sexual Predators Look For When Grooming Victims?


Short Circuiting the Victim Selection Process


Marked for Mayhem


This probably reads as unreal, unbelievable.

No, it doesn't.

A really good first step can be your doctor, who can lay out options and resources. Think of them as a knowledgeable first responder.

It worked for me.

Don't have a doctor. What kind of things were they able to suggest which was helpful?

May not be a popular advice - but try a church. If you have reservations about religion you can let them know, but more often than not - there is a welcoming community and in local church groups you'd find a bunch of folks who are willing to go an extra mile for someone else and most of them do really care.

Obvious disclaimer - do watch out that they do not end up exploiting your vulnerabilities - there are known cases where that unfortunately happens as predators are everywhere.

Everyone's depression is their own, and what works for one may not work for another. And, what doesn't work for one may yet work for another.

So the specific things that worked (and didn't work) for me may be different for you. Be open minded and critical, and don't be surprised if you have to try a few things.

That said, the first thing that helped was the validation that came from talking to someone that, in my mind at least, had some broad knowledge of the subject, and knew enough to listen critically, to see whether I was in immediate crisis (I was).

The two things we tried first are often the two "go to's", an anti depressant (citalopram, an SSRI) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).



Different categories of anti depressants work through different mechanisms. I got lucky, my ssri began to work almost immediately; usually it takes a couple weeks to see any effect, if any, good or bad.

I didn't fare well with CBT, I think because I'm too cynical, and I could "see the magic trick" that I was trying to play on myself. Which is the wrong way to think of it, but I couldn't help it. So I stopped that. But it has helped lots of people.

I'm not saying these two things are what will help you. But you asked.

The doc also suggested vitamins D, which I still take, and B something, which I stopped because it makes my pee smell really bad.

He also prescribed an anti anxiety drug for the immediate crisis, which I filled but never used.

And we discussed immediate crisis resources like 911.

My remedies are almost not important. The main thing was that I got validation (lots of self doubt when you're depressed), and the relief and hope that comes from taking action.

The pets won't die of starvation. They tend to eat their former owners. Cats especially seem to go for the face. Source: am pathologist.

Well, your screen name was aptly chosen.

I just wanted to comment that my post wasn't intended as a criticism, even though it might have come across that way. Your screen name is humorous and your post was informative!

> The pets won't die of starvation. They tend to eat their former owners.

… and then die of starvation, presumably.

nah, the stink brings the neighbors before that.

Can confirm, a partner of mine has a kitty with a lil bit of face-eating in her past.

I too have much compassion for animals, but idea of a human being preparing for taking his or her own life in turning over a pet is, in my heartfelt opinion, a much more poignant occasion.

It's better than having your furry friend attempt to eat you after you commit suicide - the terrifying part is this is exceedingly common, even among smaller breeds.

Why "even among the smaller breeds."

A human can be...20x bigger than a small cat/dog, easily. It's not that usual for animals to eat something that much bigger than them. Much more common among carrion scavengers, but still kind of notable.

It's common for people intending to kill themselves to tie up loose ends and put their affairs in order. It's actually often listed as a warning signal of suicidal behaviour. Generally when people go they want to cause as little trouble for their loved ones as possible.

FWIW many people advocate preferring the phrase "died by suicide" (slightly awkwardly, but best they can do under the constraints) to reflect their belief (and perhaps yours) that suicide is a symptom of an illness, not a crime.


Shows that there are a lot of good people who commit suicide. Maybe a society would benefit if it went the distance to protect them.

...which may be helped by switching away from the historical accusatory language of "commit".


Oh thank goodness, the "woke" patrol is here! Thanks for pushing the more politically-correct (as of about three years ago) euphemism for killing oneself. To kill oneself is to commit an act of violence or murder against oneself.

Hmm, I had a different assumption: it was that animal shelter workers were more prone to suicidal tendencies. IIRC the data does suggest that veterinarians are, so it wouldn't have been unexpected to find a similar trend.

> to try to find comfort That's what I jumped to as well, the reality really is heartbreaking

One point about suicide prevention that I think deserves a little more mention: people who survive an attempt typically do not ever commit suicide [1]. Lifetime survival rates range across studies, but they hover around 90%.

Of course, 10% is much higher than the general population rate for lifetime suicide completion rate, which is more like 0.01%, and things are complicated by severity of attempt (you’re more likely to end up in a hospital if you use pills instead of a gun). But still, most people who attempt suicide decide against it after the fact.

[1] https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/survi...

I've said it before, but really, assault rifles and bump stocks and what not are the complete wrong thing to focus on. Long guns kill practically _nobody_ compared to handguns.

It's the best compromise ever: ban handguns, keep long guns fully legal. 2nd amendment supporters wanting to "prevent tyranny" and hunters still have their long guns, homicides and suicides (which comprise the overwhelming majority of gun deaths and are committed overwhelmingly with handguns) drop significantly.

Banning handguns for private ownership is what the UK did after the Dunblane massacre in 1996 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunblane_massacre)

It would be a bit thorny as LEO's operate with handguns and legitimate CCW's carry handguns, but you could definitely restrict them much more. I do agree that it mostly seems like a no-brainer compromise, handguns are not particularly militia nor hunting material.

Doesn't seem that difficult, don't LEOs already have access to equipment that isn't legal for civilians? And I think the assumption is that legitimate CCWs would no longer be able to carry handguns.

Handguns are protected by 2A under Heller.

And as always with gun control demands, the notion of "compromise" is as slimy as looking for middle ground on abortion, or mass surveillance, or segregation. Compromising rights is a verb, not a noun.

I like how you put "prevent tyranny" in quotes, like it's not believable.

It's not. The idea that a rag-tag group of citizens with a stockpile of AR-15s could challenge "tyranny" by fighting a modern US military is laughable.

Vietnam beat the US. The Taliban is beating the US. The US was founded when farmers used guerrilla warfare tactics against the current world superpower. South America guerrillas are unbeatable.

It's really your position that is untenable.

I think that GP's position is tenable if the tyranny comes slowly. Sure, a country-wide armed insurgency is hard to beat. That's relatively uncontroversial. If most people are comfortable as the water boils around them, however, then the armed insurgency is not going to be country-wide.

I think that argument has some basis in history (e.g. Nazi Germany), where the tyrannical government slowly got worse and worse without major internal revolts. On the other hand, there have been times where the people snapped and revolted all at once.

I don't think the GP's position has anything to do with slowly implemented tyranny; the GP is only referring to once the ragtag group has formed, and assessing their chances of success.

I think that what you describe as the boiling frog scenario would be the best possible strategy for a government that is concerned about its policies being forcefully rejected if implemented all at once.

That came to mind as well. We're taking for granted here that much of the population was drinking the kool-aid when the Nazis took power; there wasn't, say, very popular dissent. And that's a more realistic scenario with a tyrannical power. I can't imagine one, at least a domestic one, that manages to hold on to tyranny despite the large part of the population wanting them out. With or without weapons.

Banning firearms is the water boiling.

The U.S. army, while preventing the North from encroaching, were effectively sitting ducks and as the casualties grew so did the anti-war tide at home, until they pulled out and the south was left to their demise. The North, then separated when the U.S. arrived, bordered China, their arms supplier, and had thick jungle cover from the Ho Chi Min trail all the way to the south. While the U.S. took some pot shots at the North through bombing missions they "officially" were never invading.

This was an impossible situation from the beginning.

> South America guerrillas are unbeatable.

Bolivian insurgency failed, Guevara died. They don't always win.

The thing of it is the arms involved at the outset are irrelevant. You can't coerce a population largely unwilling to be controlled. Arms (including bombing devices) inevitably make their way into peoples hands. In the event of martial law things would fall into such disarray it's unsustainable.

I take issue with the idea that a population needs to be armed a priori with a specific set of weapons in order to repel a "tyranical government", which is a kind of boogeyman idea if I ever heard one. A tyrannical govt, comprised of a minority of people, versus the U.S. scenario is not a likely one. You'd sooner see a civil war, and even that's incredibly unlikely. But then I suppose you'd see gun regulation as evidence of tyranny.

The most tyrannical govt I can think of is the Chinese one and they have popular favor with their people. The HK situation shows that popular dissent is powerful with or without weapons.

Vietnam was backed by China and the USSR, the Taliban by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

Their most effective weapons tended strongly toward IEDs and RPGs rather than longarms.

And yet, the idea is that they should be allowed the opportunity.

If a government is unilaterally in complete control of all people at all times, full stop, then there isn't any real freedom, is there? You'd just be subecting all of society to the whim of whoever had enough money and/or guns aleady to have taken power.

But this is no place to have that discussion. Besides which, most people who express the opinion you have are not interested in contemplating any other perpsective any way.

False dichotomy.

The government doesn’t have to be in unilateral control for us to admit that citizens would have a very difficult time fighting the extremely well funded and trained military. (For the most part, they wouldn’t need to anyway, they have control of something far more powerful... banking, they’d freeze your funds and you’d be done for).

It doesn’t follow that a government that you can’t fight via conventional means gives the populous no recourse. Voting rights are still the law of the land here and civil disobedience has been effective in the past.

Secondarily it could be argued (very easily) that second amendment in the USA is about the right to maintain well regulated local militias, which at the time would have been populated by yeoman farmers bringing their own weapons.

Historically this is relevant because the revolution was fought by exactly such a set of militias on the continental side, and the British obviously thought this was an illegal action. So they needed a clause “this thing we’re doing is legal and legitimate.”

Buut there’s a difference here between a militiaman with a musket that can fire maximum 3 shots per minute, as part of the local defense force, and an independent yobbo with a hundred of round per minute assault rifle.

But no one focuses on the part of the second amendment that pertains to ‘well regulated militias’, it’s almost as if an industry that makes something with a limited audience outside of military and law enforcement has an agenda and is influencing the debate.

If there was serious armed resistance by citizens in American other nations that would benefit from weakening American power could send key weapons as support, e.g., anti-tank and MANPADS.

Which is why both the Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam war ended in no time.

There's challenging by force (against an organization who has nukes and drones and all that sweet stuff), and challenging by legitimacy.

E.g. imagine Hawaii seceding from the US. Does it take equal military might?


You seriously think a bunch of citizens with long guns is going to be able to prevent tyranny by the greatest military force the world has ever known?

The most obnoxious part about this comment is how sure you think you are.

The important questions to ask are, how does the civilian population split? How do the police, the military split?

What exactly do you think civil war looks like?

The idea that you have all the answers and some how guns are ineffective, at the very least in hurting those who want to oppress, is so laughable and appropriate for HN.

What is going on in HK right now? You think that would happen if they were armed?

No one says we win, but we make it hurt. You would rather be enslaved?

The US is looking for a way out of Afghanistan and they are not the victors. Lost to some men with long guns.

> What is going on in HK right now? You think that would happen if they were armed?

No, they'd be dead. Armed conflict with the PLA with no artillery or air power?

(Street protest relies on some unspoken norms that police won't indiscriminately fire on and kill protestors, precisely because the protestors aren't armed. The whole point is to stop short of actual deadly urban combat. This is partly why Tianamen was so shocking; while it's difficult to know what actually happened, it's clear that army units were sent in and simply murdered a large number of people who were carrying out an unarmed protest.)

> it's clear that army units were sent in and simply murdered a large number of people who were carrying out an unarmed protest

Which is utterly puzzling because the technique of priming the slaughter with agents provocateurs amongst the protesters is neither new nor particularly difficult. Were the leaders involved just incredibly incompetent at tyranny or was there something else going on?

> How do the police, the military split?

This is exactly the question that makes civilian arms stockpiles utterly irrelevant.

If anything, a well-ish-equipped rebellion would make it easier for the government to avoid that split: "kill them or they will kill you" is the oldest trick in the book for keeping an army fighting on your side.

First, there's a deterrent effect. 300M guns (not spread out evenly, it looks like there's a power law distribution going on) is simply not ignorable. Nor is the culture that has them ignorable; these people are significantly better prepared than the usual resistance minority . . . the kind that has been know to hold out for decades against really well funded, state-sponsored opponents.

Doesn't mean they're on your particular side, though :-)

> First, there's a deterrent effect. 300M guns (not spread out evenly, it looks like there's a power law distribution going on) is simply not ignorable.

- Evacuate POI to overseas territories / nuclear aircraft territories using the Air Force - Send in the tactical nukes - ... - Profit? Mostly death

Seems pretty ignorable to me.

Depends on what you mean by prevent tyranny.

But there are numerous examples of fighting forces comprised of citizens with small arms and explosives making the mission long, bloody, and expensive for the US military.

Nearly every military conflict after Korea has been of this variety.


There are sparse (sparse because guns in history are rarely found among civilians) instances of people using arms to defend themselves against overwhelming state adversaries. Dictators may be cruel but they're not exactly trying to rack up police casualties.

The case you cite is illustrative of the point that it doesn't tend to work, though.

> A total of 13,000 Jews died, about half of them burnt alive or suffocated. German casualties were probably less than 150.

30% reattempt suicide, which is much higher than the general population.

This is a great example of why quantitative research isn't always enough, and this sort of "ethnography" of suicide qualitative research is also important. Some times you have to find out what the ground conditions are that generate the data in order to really understand what's going on & generate insights.

Indeed. Hard to design a double blinded, randomised, placebo controlled trial for suicide prevention.

I was thinking the same for economics. How can you really measure all of the side effects of a government policy? For ex: if the conditions in a marketplace are so bad (for ex: because of a monopoly, or gov-back entrenched businesses, or other useless barriers to entry) that no one ever even tries to start a business, so there's no one ever to complains and nothing to measure.

At most you have some increasingly out-of-date information from before the policy was implemented, when the wider market, technology, access to capital, etc has changed.

Another example is minimum wage laws, it's very difficult to measure what costs there were if the jobs simply weren't created, not simply going declining in existing businesses or measurable marketplace. Combined with the countless other factors which influence hiring and cyclical trends.

I'm not sure what the solution is here but I'm skeptical of a lot of economic research.

How is this not quantitative research? It's counting pieces of information. All data analys comes from data. Quantitative research can't exist at all without it.

There's certainly a quantitative component. It's easy and often useful to add some such components to qualitative research. But getting into the field, tagging along with the death investigator, seeing the whole process from begining to end, that's qualitative. You're seeing much more than just all of the numeric data captured.

I'm not saying quantitative research can exist without data, I'm not sure where you got that idea. But not all data is quantitative. Data that is non-numeric is qualitative data. A case-study, for example, is often qualitative, though incorporating plenty of numeric data in support.

Interesting and important. There are probably many more intervention spots when causes of despair are considered.

Other perhaps obvious indicators of risk would be likely be lay offs, prolonged unemployment, significant job or status loss, loss of assets, foreclosure / eviction, divorce, death of spouse and/or family, severe illness or diagnosis, chronic pain, chronic health conditions, isolation, loss of social standing, drug/alcohol abuse, etc.

I have a friend that is a death investigator. She's an extraordinary person, kind, humble, and reliable. I try not to pry but what she does tell ranges between truly sad and humorous beyond belief. It's a career that is totally necessary but few can handle.

Indeed. I have a friend who spent several years in forensic medicine before settling on trauma surgery as a final career path. The stories that come from his forensic medicine years prompt emotional reactions (in most? in me!) that range from the deepest sadness to astonished/horrified amusement. I can't comprehend how he did/does it day-to-day!

Is there any merit to the idea that health workers can help people and their family with being prepared for the suicide?

I think we spend too much effort on avoidance without acknowledging that people come to a conclusion of ending their life for multiple reasons, and people aren't really falling for the prevention.

Did the underlying irreconcilable problem get solved? No? Okay imma head out.

Does the person have to be in pain or struggling with something? Intervention failed

Setting up cultural barriers doesn't prevent it, setting up religious mental barriers doesn't prevent it.

The crux of the idea is that suicide hurts those still living. Maybe there is room to prepare the living for that, instead of just being collateral damage in a failed or missed intervention opportunity.

My primary argument is that our culture is too one-dimensional on this issue and maybe shouldn’t just be prevent the suicide just because.

Does the above approach have merit? Why or why not?

(edit: just saw another poster who said people that attempt it and survive don't try it again 90% of the time. that somewhat influences my thoughts, but they still attempted)

Let's assume that the 90% statistic is right. That certainly seems to lessen the burden on families of suicidal people, but at what cost? This number doesn't tell us about the reason those people never attempted again. We all hear about the gruesomeness of deaths by suicide and the impact on relationships with family and friends. It is very likely that the toll an unsuccessful attempt takes on someone combined with observing the attempt fail makes people reconsider suicide as a solution to their problems. It is not likely that this correlates with resolving their problems in another way. If the problems are hard enough to solve or to live with, the total burden on everyone involved could be much higher after an unsuccessful attempt than after a successful one. Suicide prevention success should not be solely measured by suicide statistics, or by the mental health of family members. I think your idea is going in the right direction, which is to avoid thinking of suicide as the worst possible outcome, to consider the impact the worst living situations have compared to the cost of escaping them, and to potentially try to minimise both.

If you aren't familiar with the topic, I think you would find discussions around euthanasia interesting - a lot of it centers on when suicide is an acceptable individual choice.

Yes I do find those discussions interesting

I was actually scared the first time I went to Switzerland because I was wondering if that was a low key way to off someone

Turned out to be classic American paranoia and I’ve really loosened that up from hanging out with Europeans of the generational wealthier variety. No care in the world!

Most suicides are impulsive acts rather than the conclusion of irreconcilable problems.

Tech Lead from YouTube just published this about the FB employee suicide last week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbEQriZEfoI

Posting because, if allegations are true, it only reinforces my belief that our white collar workplaces have become highly mentally taxing and employees need judgement-free resources provided by employers to deal with them.

The majority of large employers provide Employee Assistance Programs where employees (and family members) can talk to a judgment-free therapist for at least a few sessions. Those therapists are trained in suicide risk, and will report to the authorities if a patient seems likely to attempt suicide soon.

... at the risk of the action being career-ending (or career progress ending).

No that's not a risk. EAPs are run by outside providers. Patient privacy rules prevent them from discussing anything with employers.

I've seen firsthand cases where EAP providers "leaked" details back to the employer.


I took short term disability leave to deal with severe mental health issues. My career didn't end, in fact, I got a promotion very shortly after returning to work. I didn't even lose my security clearance and I fully disclosed my hospitalization/disability leave. My clearance is required to do my job.

Wow, is this a defense contractor? Are they hiring?

I would take all of that with a heaping cup of salt:

* All of this guy's info is from the Blind app, which is basically a step above the bathroom wall when it comes to information.

* He himself was fired from Facebook, so it's not like he's unbiased.

I know nothing about the situation, but I do know that for most companies it is a difficult balance between respecting privacy for the deceased and performing an investigation if it was indicated that something in the workplace was a factor.

>our white collar workplaces have become highly mentally taxing and employees need judgement-free resources provided by employers to deal with them

Seeing what people in other countries go through, willingly, sacrificing for their families and persevering in relative poverty, I can't help but feel that sentiments like these come off as weak and entitled. If anything it shows that life in the first world is too comfortable, which understandably makes it hard to appreciate how easy we have it, even in the "roughest" of tech jobs.

A white collar job can become a mental torture chamber if you are surrounded by bad people. There is an abundance of exploitation, bullying, futility, and lack of fulfillment in current tech culture and very little support structure.

Mental welfare is very different from survival.

All of that plus bodily degradation can be true of blue collar jobs. Singling out white collar work comes across as out of touch and spoiled.

The response was specifically to somebody who is unsure why white collar workers can have a severe mental health crisis and that it is orthogonal to survival or financial well being or "being hard". Do you really think anyone on this site would claim blue collar workers don't confront suicide?

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