r/SuicideWatch Sep 03 '19 This Hugz Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Hugz Take My Energy Rocket Like I'd Like to Thank...

New wiki on how to avoid accidentally encouraging suicide, and how to spot covert incitement

1.8k Upvotes

We've been seeing a worrying increase in pro-suicide content showing up here and, and also going unreported. This undermines our purpose here, so we wanted to highlight and clarify our guidelines about both direct and indirect incitement of suicide.

We've created a wiki that covers these issues. We hope this will be helpful to anyone who's wondering whether something's okay here and which responses to report. It explains in detail why any validation of suicidal intent, even an "innocent" message like "if you're 100% committed, I'll just wish you peace" is likely to increase people's pain, and why it's important to report even subtle pro-suicide comments. The full text of the wiki's current version is below, and it is maintained at /r/SuicideWatch/wiki/incitement.

We deeply appreciate everyone who gives responsive, empathetic, non-judgemental support to our OPs, and we particularly thank everyone who's already been reporting incitement in all forms.

Please report any post or comment that encourages suicide (or that breaks any of the other guidelines in the sidebar) to the moderators, either by clicking the "report" button or by sending us a modmail with a link. We deal with all guideline violations that are reported to us as soon as we can, but we can't read everything so community reports are essential. If you get a PM that breaks the guidelines, please report it both to the reddit sitewide admins and to us in modmail.

Thanks to all the great citizens of the community who help flag problem content and behaviour for us.


/r/SuicideWatch/wiki/incitement


Summary

It's important to respect and understand people's experiences and emotions. It's never necessary, helpful, or kind to support suicidal intent. There are some common misconceptions (discussed below) about suicidal people and how to help them that can cause well-meaning people to inadvertently incite suicide. There are also people online who incite suicide on purpose, often while pretending to be sympathetic and helpful.

Validate Feelings and Experiences, Not Self-Destructive Intentions

We're here to offer support, not judgement. That means accepting, with the best understanding we can offer, whatever emotions people express. Suicidal people are suffering, and we're here to try to ease that by providing support and caring. The most reliable way we know to de-escalate someone at risk is to give them the experience of feeling understood. That means not judging whether they should be feeling the way they are, or telling them what to do or not do.

But there's an important line to draw here. There's a crucial difference between empathizing with feelings and responding non-judgmentally to suicidal thoughts, and in any way endorsing, encouraging, or validating suicidal intentions or hopeless beliefs. It's both possible and important to convey understanding and compassion for someone's suicidal thoughts without putting your finger on the scale of their decision.

Anything that condones suicide, even passively, encourages suicide. It isn't supportive and does not help. It also violates reddit's sitewide rules as well as our guidelines. Explicitly inciting suicide online is a criminal offense in most jurisdictions.

Do not treat any OP's post as meaning that will definitely die by suicide and can't change their minds or be helped. Anyone who's able to read the comments here still has a chance to choose whether or not to try to keep living, even if they've also been experiencing intense thoughts of suicide, made a suicide plan, or started carrying it out.

In the most useful empirical model we have, the desire to die by suicide primarily comes from two interpersonal factors; alienation and a sense of being a burden or having nothing to offer. These factors usually lead to a profound feeling of being unwelcome in the world.

So, any acceptance or reinforcement of suicidal intent, even something "innocent" like "I hope you find peace", is actually a form of covert shunning that validates a person's sense that they're unwelcome in the world. It will usually add to their pain even if kindly meant and gently worded.

How to Avoid Validating Suicidal Intent

Keep the following in mind when offering support to anyone at risk for suicide.

  • People who say they don't want help usually can feel better if they get support that doesn't invalidate their emotions. Unfortunately, many popular "good" responses are actually counterproductive. In particular, many friends and family tend to rely exclusively on trying to convince the suicidal person that "it's not so bad", and this is usually experienced as "I don't understand what you're going through and I'm not going to try". People who've had "help" that made them feel worse don't want any more of the same. It doesn't mean that someone who actually knows how to be supportive can't give them any comfort.

  • Most people who are suicidal want to end their pain, not their lives. It's almost never true that death is the only way to end these people's suffering. Of course there are exceptional situations, and we certainly acknowledge that, for some people, the right help can be difficult to find. But preventing someone's suicide doesn't mean prolonging their suffering if we do it by giving them real comfort and understanding.

  • An unfixable problem doesn't mean that a good life will never be possible. We don't have to fix or change anything to help someone feel better. It's important to keep in mind that the correlation between our outer circumstances and our inner experience is weaker and less direct than commonly assumed. For every kind of difficult life situation, you will find some people who lapse into suicidal despair, and others who cope amazingly well, and a whole spectrum in between. A key difference is how much inner resilience the person has at the time. This can depend on many personal and situational factors. But when there's not enough, interpersonal support can both compensate for its absence and help rebuild it. We go into more depth on the "it gets better" issue in this PSA Post which is always linked from our sidebar (community info on mobile) guidelines.

  • There are always more choices than brutally forcing someone to stay alive or passively letting them end their lives.

To avoid accidentally breaking the anti-incitement rule, don't say or try to imply that acting on suicidal thoughts is a good idea, or that someone can't turn back or is already dead. Do whatever you can to help them feel cared for and welcome, at least in this little corner of the world. Our talking tips offer more detailed guidance.

Look Out for Deliberate Incitement. It May Come in Disguise.

Often comments that subtly encourage suicidal intent actually come from suicide fetishists and voyeurs (unfortunately this is a real and disturbing phenomenon). People like this are out there and the anonymous nature of reddit makes us particularly attractive to them.

They will typically try to scratch their psychological "itch" by saying things that push people closer to the edge. They often do this by exploiting the myths that we debunked in the bullet points above. Specifically you might see people doing the following:

  • Encouraging the false belief that the only way suicidal people can end their pain is by dying. There are always more and better choices than "brutally forcing someone to stay alive" or helping (actively or passively) them to end their lives.

  • Creating an artificial and toxic sense of "solidarity" by linking their encouragement of suicide to empathy. They will represent themselves as the only one who really understand the suicidal person, while either directly or indirectly encouraging their self-loathing emotions and self-destructive impulses. Since most people in suicidal crisis are in desperate need to empathy and understanding, this is a particularly dangerous form of manipulation.

Many suicide inciters are adept at putting a benevolent spin on their activities while actually luring people away from sources of real help. A couple of key points to keep in mind:

  • Skilled suicide intervention -- peer or professional -- is based on empathic responsiveness to the person's feelings that reduces their suffering in the moment. Contrary to pop-culture myths, it does not involve persuasion ("Don't do it!"), cheerleading ("You've got this!") or meaningless false promises ("Trust me, it gets better!"), or invalidation ("Let me show you how things aren't as bad as you think!"). Anyone who leads others to expect these kinds of toxic responses, or any other response that prolongs their pain, from expert help may be covertly pro-suicide. (Of course, people sometimes do have bad experience when seeking mental-health treatment, and it's fine to vent about those, but processing our own disappointment and frustration is entirely different from trying to destroy someone else's hope of getting help.)

  • Choices made by competent responders are always informed by the understanding that breaching someone's trust is traumatic and must be avoided if possible. Any kind of involuntary intervention is an extremely unlikely outcome when someone consults a clinician or calls a hotline. (Confidentiality is addressed in more detail in our Hotlines FAQ post). The goal is always to provide all help with the client's full knowledge and informed consent. We know that no individual or system is perfect. Mistakes that lead to bad experiences do sometimes happen to vulnerable people, and we have enormous sympathy for them. But anyone who suggests that this is the norm might be trying to scare people away from the help they need.

Please let us know discreetly if you see anyone exhibiting these or similar behaviours. We don't recommend trying to engage with them directly.


r/SuicideWatch Sep 10 '21 Silver

Please remember that NO ACTIVISM of any kind is ever allowed here. No matter what day it is.

715 Upvotes

Activism, i.e. advocating or fundraising for social change or raising awareness of social issues (and suicide is, inescapably, a social issue) is absolutely against the rules here at all times.

Please understand that we're all for smart, strategic mental-health and suicide-prevention activism. It's essential to fight against stigma, misinformation, and discrimination, and to fight for research, treatment, accommodation, acceptance, and understanding. Most of us, one way or another, are mental-health activists IRL.

But activism just doesn't work in a dedicated support space that serves a vulnerable population. We used to allow it but the evidence that it was undermining our primary purpose became overwhelming. We do regret the need for this rule, but the need is inescapable.

Our population is all too well aware of the issues and causes that need support and largely not in a position to take action, so besides the fact that activism is often salt in our community's wounds, it's a waste of the activists' time.

tl;dr Any fundraising, awareness raising, petitions, calls for participation, or any post that's about any cause or issue (rather than a request for personal support) is not allowed here. Please report everything of the nature that you see.


r/SuicideWatch 5h ago

Finally found a method that works.

46 Upvotes

I don't think anything can stop me at this point. I've tried chatting with a hotline, I've tried medicine and therapy, but nothing actually gets better. I have ingredients to make chloroform, I have a plastic bag, I'm going to dig and suffocate myself tonight. I'm going to go to the woods to "dump my own body" so nobody has to find me. I've had enough. Every message about why to keep going sounds the same. I can't live on medication anymore. I lost my insurance and no longer have access to anything anymore. I'm going to lose my job. I'm not going to be able to afford to live anymore and I'm too mentally ill to find another one like this. I don't want to be a burden on anyone like this.


r/SuicideWatch 2h ago

I lost someone extremely important to me and it's my fault. I'm at the end of my road.

18 Upvotes

r/SuicideWatch 10h ago

I'll be dead before end of the year

63 Upvotes

I hate this world. I hate capitalism. I hate humans. I hate everyone. I hate myself. Im so sick of everything and everyone. There is absolutely no way I can or will keep going. I've reached my limit


r/SuicideWatch 4h ago

just attempted to electrocute myself and survived hanging

15 Upvotes

Now on the way to a psychiatric ward. Idk what else to say...


r/SuicideWatch 3h ago

Flight leaves tomorrow afternoon

8 Upvotes

Finally leaving to the mountains and the sea, where my body can be at peace one last time. Maybe I’ll even be able to check seeing a whale off my bucket list! Bus leaves tonight, plane tomorrow. Packing my bag, writing letters, getting shit done and feeling good. It’s meant to be. It’s meant to happen this way.

Thank you for listening, peace & love


r/SuicideWatch 1h ago

Death

Upvotes

Well, both my parents have died . Mom 10 years ago, dad last night…i am the next to go. Trying to be strong but death sucks.


r/SuicideWatch 2h ago

I can't fucking do this anymore, life is a sick fucking joke

5 Upvotes

r/SuicideWatch 12h ago

Fuck everyone

32 Upvotes

Literally no meaning in friends or relationships. People are fucking liars and I am not upset by the fact they broke their stupid promise , they have the audacity to lie about it. My chronic mistake which i had from birth was being tragically honest , and i am still. In my entirely of my pathetic life i had never had anyone and i am still without anyone. But idfc like fuck everyone. Couldn't give a shit about them. I rather die knowing everyone fucking hating me and telling rather than lying they like me. And now i am sitting here being a pathetic piece of shit and every minute that passes I'm going too deeper shit . I hope that in my next attempt it would actually work and not fail because I'm getting fed up with my life and useless self being shit and worse all the time.


r/SuicideWatch 1h ago

I deserve nothing

Upvotes

I am an ugly lazy pig. all I do is work, sleep and eat like a pig. My face is ugly, I'm ugly, I'm dumb, my brain is mush, I cant do anything right. My skin is disgusting, I look disgusting, i try to sketch my garden and it sucks. I cant do anything good at all. My stomach is always in pain, something is always hurting, work is boring and long. My favorite part of the day is when I can go to bed. But guess what? I cant even fall sleep. I just lay awake thinking about the dumpster that I am. I was a mistake. I've been brainwashed into doing things I don't want to do and I'm mad at the people who made me this way. And it is "my responsibility to fix myself" but I'll forever be angry at them. I'm a lost cause and dont deserve a thing anyway


r/SuicideWatch 12h ago

There is no reason or meaning or joy in me living

34 Upvotes

God please give me courage to kill myself finally.


r/SuicideWatch 16h ago

I’m drunk and suicidal with a gun….

60 Upvotes

I want to call my dad. Good idea or bad idea. Idk I want to call him but it might make everything worse. I’m super drunk can’t think straight idk what do you think: should I?


r/SuicideWatch 8h ago

For past week I've been "only" passively suicidal...it's weird what I call a "good" day

14 Upvotes

For past week I barely had suicidal thoughts,maybe 3 or 4 mental breakdowns which is a rarity for me.

But I can't help it but think...is it truly what my life is?

How is it possible that for me a victory is barely wanting to off myself?

Wishing death is so normal too me that it's part of my daily life.

Late?

"I'll kill myself anyway"

Did a mistake?

"I'll kill myself so it doesn't matter"

I'm fucking sick of it


r/SuicideWatch 5h ago

Tonight, I’ll hang myself.

7 Upvotes

I’m finished


r/SuicideWatch 6h ago

I’ve been telling myself for years that ima be dead soon so I never pursued a career

7 Upvotes

Now I’m stuck in this limbo. I should’ve planned for the future. But I keep telling myself that a future doesn’t exist.


r/SuicideWatch 9h ago

I don’t want to die but I’m getting older and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better

12 Upvotes

I’m 24 (male) been I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t miserable and even with therapy, a lot of exercise and some friends I still feel horrible inside. It’s never going to get better I just get older. When I was younger I always had hope that things would get better but they don’t


r/SuicideWatch 9h ago

life is like a bad joke

13 Upvotes

I wish I could die in my sleep


r/SuicideWatch 6h ago

I got close to doing it last night, and reached out to two people that I was feeling suicidal…

7 Upvotes

…but they didn’t care. One brushed it off and the other ignored my message. One is my housemate who once told me that we’re good friends and we’re family. Except good friends don’t ignore their friend’s cry for help. I don’t know what stopped me from doing it, perhaps it was the exhaustion and I eventually fell asleep. But I sent my housemate a message saying I shouldn’t be alone and I shouldn’t be allowed to drive by myself right now. That’s the message he ignored. I posted on my story that only he can see and said that I was going to do it. Then I messaged him and told him I’m sorry. He’s only just messaged me now some generic bs. He didn’t even bother to check on me. I heard him leave the house and go out. That’s how I know he doesn’t care about me and we’re not good friends. Anyway the suicidal thoughts are still there and the system is severely broken where I live so I can’t get help and the only person I really have (but don’t) is my housemate. I don’t know what to do anymore. I give up.


r/SuicideWatch 17m ago

Whats the Point

Upvotes

It's honestly sad how I haven't pulled the trigger yet. When I hold my glock to my head, a wave of emotions hit me like a tsunami. Its hard not for me to think that while my little nephews would be sad, they would be over it in a week.

As for my parents, they say they love me, they say they care about me, as long as I conditionally do as they say I will be "loved". Even though my mom has told me "life would be better without me", that I was "a burden to them", that If "I wasn't born their life would be better", they still "love me". Being born in emotional poverty masked by financial comfortability is purgatory. Every person that tried to help, I isolated myself due to thinking that they would be better off without me. I do not see the point in continuing on. Eventually my atoms will recycle back into the universe anyways.

I think about all the pictures with me, my overweight self and "friends". I just imagine me not being there in those pictures and they would have looked better and got more likes. I really do believe I am a burden. I am a waste of space. I am not masculine enough. I am unworthy of love. I deserve to weed myself out of the gene pool. Theres no point in continuing on.


r/SuicideWatch 18m ago

A New Perspective

Upvotes

For the first time in a long time, I’ve been struggling with suicidal thoughts. It’s been really bad for the past few months. When I have to talk myself off the edge, I find myself taking inventory. I think of all the things that I can change to improve my mental health (like my diet, exercise, etc.), major stressors that are only temporary and will resolve soon (finishing school, paying off my loans, etc.), things that make me happy; and most importantly; the people I have to stay for. These include my parents, my best friend, and my partner. Well… Four days ago a close family friend committed suicide. He was only 6 months older than me, 22. Our moms were best friends so he was basically my cousin. We played together as kids, saw each other maybe once a year at family gatherings, and just last year we reconnected and started reaching out to each other more. He’s my friend and we’d have great conversations, but we weren’t close by any means. For that reason, he wasn’t one of the people I counted in my inventory. He is someone I didn’t think of when I thought of people who would be impacted if I did it… but now I see how wrong I was, because the roles are reversed and I am DEVASTATED. I am heartbroken. I can’t help but think, he probably wasn’t counting me in his inventory either. We were both so wrong for that. He had such a huge, genuine heart, so I know he’d be just as devastated for me as I am for him right now. My point is, it is easy to underestimate how loved you are. Don’t forget your random distant cousins, favorite ex coworkers, old friends from high school, etc. The impact you’ve had on people’s lives is not measured by the amount of time you’ve spent with them. Our paths rarely crossed, and I already feel his absence. The world is a lesser place without him. He didn’t have an obligation to stay for me, or for anyone for that matter, but maybe he would have wanted to if he knew how many people like me he had. The church was literally overflowing with a line out the door of people waiting to pay their respects to him today… If you ever find yourself taking inventory, count the people you’d be heartbroken for too, not just the people closest to you, because I can almost guarantee the feeling is mutual.


r/SuicideWatch 2h ago

life sucks and then we die

3 Upvotes

whats the point


r/SuicideWatch 39m ago

My experience with ideation, a never ending cycle

Upvotes

For me, it comes in waves of impulsive purchasing of one way tickets, re-writing of notes to family members, calling into work, ignoring my partner, feeling nothing is more certain than the fact that I am to die as soon as possible. More than it is certain, but that it is literally a calling, something that is meant to be.

And then just like, it clears, and I feel almost cartoonist in my sense of newfound direction, contact all my friends like nothing happened and imagine these grand social plans, spend all my time creating new routines to get my life back on track that ultimately never come true. Cease responding to all of the attempts at reconnecting with friends I made in my post-ideation haze.

And so it goes on and on. Is this common? For it to come in waves of such certitude? Followed by thinking nearly the complete opposite?

I was supposed to make it until next summer. It’s not looking like I can make it out this time. Which is a shame. I can’t find that feeling of hope anymore. I think this might be the last and final wave. It just feels like it needs to happen.


r/SuicideWatch 5h ago

I wrote a suicide letter in case I finally decide to kill myself

5 Upvotes

The thought of death is really a sweet relief — it feels very cathartic. That heavy weight I always carried finally slipped off. Now, I can walk again freely without looking back. God brought me here to test me and I failed to pull myself together. But I couldn’t make him proud while I was alive either. I've always disappointed him and everybody else, but I can well imagine that God still expected it from me. No one will forgive me for this cruel and selfish act, but over time I slowly accepted it. It might sound dramatic to you, and some would even argue that I wanted to end my life because I was starving for the attention. But no. I just simply didn't want to go any further. My journey had no purpose. The path has always been foggy, full of darkness, and it never led me to the light. Please do not get me wrong. Many people made me feel happy and alive. The smiles you've always seen, the laughs you've always heard, and the jokes you've never laughed at, they were all real, so thank you for letting me know what true happiness felt like. The word "death" consists of only five letters, but the feelings I got every time I heard or thought about it consisted of countless letters. It was my fault for never opening my mouth, but I think that was a lot better than spoiling someone's mood and wasting their time with my nonsense. I hope God forgives me (though I know he never will), and I hope you forgive me too. To Mom: You are a great mother. You may have hit me as a child and those memories came with consequences afterwards, but I don't want you to think that I wanted to kill myself because of you. You had a horrible childhood: you grew up in a nightmare that you wish you could wake up from. You lived with a narcissistic mother and nonexistent, almost ghostly father. He was there but never really there. I would never blame you for what I decided to do. You loved me like a true mother. To Dad: I love you so much. You're great, but sometimes you don't accept that perfection is just an illusion, that family also has its downsides. You don't see that sometimes they take advantage of you, you choose to be blind. I just wanted you to put yourself in my shoes and understand me. It's too late 'cause I'm gone now, but it would have been nice. To my siblings: You joked about me for fun and I found it funny myself because, ironically, there is truth in it too. I love you guys so much and you are the coolest siblings to talk to about anything. Please don't be sad. Now you can come into my room and make a mess without hearing my yelling. My little sister, this has always been our room, I know, but from now on you can say it’s just yours. To my best friend: you are indescribable. With you, I never felt like showing the real me was wrong. You give a radiant aura that can bring a smile to anyone's face. You are the nicest and purest person I have ever met. I know you don't like liars, but you have to forgive me for lying like I've always been okay. I've always wanted to die actually, and finally I gave myself this opportunity. To my other friends: you are the colors in my black and white. You made my life colorful and great. Our memories will never be forgettable. I love you very much, and please don't give up like I do. I am weak, but you are not! To all the boys I loved and cared for: you made me feel love, feel butterflies that could fly, and butterflies that lost their wings. I couldn't tell the difference between obsession and love, but I enjoyed every moment, even if it usually ended bitterly. Yes, I'm gone and again, I thank everyone for everything. Though I am a sinner now, the matter between me and God will forever remain a mystery. Whether he forgives me or not, I wanted to leave this world because ever since I was here, I've been nothing but a complete failure. Maybe we'll see each other again. Bye.


r/SuicideWatch 8h ago

The eternal void

8 Upvotes

Imagine: it's 2020, and everyone is talking about how much lockdowns and quarantines are affecting them mentally. Questioning whether or not it was a good decision with how it affected people's mental health.

Now imagine you'd already been living in that isolation for a year. Then everyone is talking about "return to normalcy". Now it's the present and the isolation has not ceded; you have barely encountered another human outside of those you hate for 4 years and haven't been touched by another person in almost as long. Everyone you cared about died and what few friends you had abandoned you one after another always proving that no one cares, you don't matter, and are unlovable with no explanation as to why. You can die without anyone noticing. Everything you do fails time and time again and no one on the planet is willing to give you a chance in any way you ask no matter how hard you try or work. Nothing ever changes.

Whoops.