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Reply #45: There is no objective point to where people stop... [View All]

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Caliman73 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-24-10 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #41
45. There is no objective point to where people stop...
You are very correct. It is a very difficult situation, which is why in places where there is involuntary detention and treatment, the laws are limiting to the entities who are working to protect individuals. There is always room for abuse. I have seen the system abused and have tried to fight that. I have had to make the clinical decision to detain people who were suicidal, or to determine that they were not an imminent risk. Stripping people of their rights and choices is a horrific decision to have to make, and there need to be safeguards upon safeguards to prevent people from being locked up casually. When I worked crisis, many of my colleagues hated the patients' rights advocate, who would get people released from the behavioral health unit quickly. I did not. He was doing his job and I was doing mine. I was always glad that there was someone there to challenge my decisions, because it meant that I had to be very sure of what I was doing.

What I have seen in my clinical experience however, is that a large portion of the people I worked with, typically improve with treatment and changes in their circumstances. that did not always meant that they didn't have other periods of struggle, but I had many a client actually thank me for detaining them, though at the time they would curse me vehemently. If someone really wants to kill themselves, they will do it in a way that cannot be prevented. Typically though, people give many signs that they are struggling to hold on, and are looking for help to get them through.

I have seen both scenarios, many times. People who don't want to do it, but feel so desperate and who just need help. They give signs that sometimes are missed. They make attempts that they think might be, or hope will be, or plan to be discovered, but circumstances get in the way, and they end up dying by accident. I have seen people who were thought to be doing well, who just make the choice and take care of their situation without any indication or chance to intervene.

I have moved away from the idea that people who commit suicide are selfish. They are typically just out of options on how to continue on in their lives. If we can intervene and give them a bit of space and really help them see other options, then I think it is a worthwhile endeavor. It shouldn't be done just because we think suicide is "bad" or "selfish" or "hurts others" though.
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