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Suicide Prevention: Myths and Advice


I recently heard a solid podcast: The Myths and Truths around Suicide, from the Art of Manliness podcast (*actually a really good one that dives into leadership, literature, history, and a bunch of other topics), interview with Professor Rory O’Connor, who has made his work to study suicide. In it, he discusses data, myths and concepts.



It is never a waste to continue to have these conversations, as suicide is common is first responder culture and truly preventable. Additionally, there is information I picked up that is helpful since we frequently encounter people in crisis, with suicidal ideations and/or encounter death by suicide.

Some of my takeaways (some review and some new):


  • You will not plant the idea of suicide if you ask someone if they are suicidal.

    • This is often the bridge to helping get help or getting a plan together to get help

  • Suicide is a permanent solution to generally temporary problems.

  • Contributors to suicide:

    • Feeling of being trapped, isolation, exposure to suicide (self or others), impulsivity, past behavior

    • Higher in young adult men

  • Preference is to call it “death by suicide” rather than “committing suicide” (from the notion and history of suicide being a crime)

    • This can be helpful for family and survivors

  • Some family and friends of those who have died by suicide have accounted for a rise in mood and optimism. The rise in mood and enhance cognitive ability to enact the plan. This led them to believe they would not kill themselves, and caught them off guard.

    • This is attributed to the notion that once someone develops a plan of suicide, they have clarity in the decision and thus appear lighter, less stressed, happier, etc.

    • Thus, if there is a sudden lift and rise in mood (without clear explanation of life circumstances) this could be considered a warning sign in itself, so CHECK IN

  • Prevention

    • Safety planning

    • SUPPORT

Support can be many things, many ways. As always when in doubt, check in and ask. I often get asked as peer support if we (the person asking, me, another peer) should check in. Let’s build and foster a culture where the answer is ALWAYS yes. The risk/reward is so far on the side of just asking and providing that check in or helpful ear to listen, if nothing else it was a good opportunity for connection.

Podcast link here .

Take care and look out for each other,

ET

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