The Three Types of Suicide Prevention

Since I’m an asher, I obviously object to suicide prevention. I find it to be a violation of bodily autonomy. It is taking someone else’s death and cancelling it, as if it were your own. Pushing yourself to the edge, overriding survival instincts is very hard. Once a person manages to do that, stopping them by force is condemning them to a miserable existence they don’t want.

But suicide prevention, like many things, comes in different forms. These are the three main types I’ve seen. They are all fairly immoral, but some are more than others.

1. Suicide Prevention by Force

This is the cruelest of all types. It shares similarities with rape and murder. ‘By force’ means in a prettier language, ‘rescuing someone from suicide’. Suicide prevention by force is holding back a person from jumping, taking away the gun when they aim it, stopping a suffocation process. When the person is already in the process of dying, intervening is cruel. Surviving an attempt is a traumatic experience. The person will have to live on with the memories of it. Surviving some methods will lead to permanent damage (Especially in suffocation methods). Not only that, but preparing the method and doing it is a lot of hard work. By stopping it, you throw all that work in the trash.

Most importantly, this type of prevention doesn’t address the underlying causes of suicide. It’s not about helping the person with what drives them to die. It’s merely about keeping them alive. If you ever used force in order to stop a suicide, you’re a horrible person.

2. Direct Suicide Prevention

This type of suicide prevention is fairly immoral, but not as harmful as Type I. Whereas Type I should be considered a crime, Type II is merely being an inconsiderate moron.

The mistake many people make is that suicidal people don’t want to die. They think that deep down inside suicidal people want to live and want help finding a reason to go on. Some people are like this. Death, for them, isn’t a desired choice but just the better of two evils. If they can, they will avoid it.

Many suicidal people don’t think this way. Death is something they’re excited about, it’s a liberating thought. Telling people that they shouldn’t die is pointless. There is a whole arsenal of argument why suicide is valid. In the end, unless you can prove non-existence isn’t better than existence, you cannot stop a suicide.

Moreover, telling people they shouldn’t die changes the conversation. It’s no longer about the suicidal person, but about the people left behind. Everyone knows suicide hurts everyone around, but that’s not the suicidal’s problems. If life is as good as you say it is, you will get over this grief.

Suicide is already stigmatized, and Type II reinforces it. It doesn’t matter how much you say ‘we need to talk about suicide’. The mere fact you reject suicide as a valid option makes you hostile. It means you disregard the person’s bodily autonomy and basic rights, that you don’t respect their choices. Groups like ASH and Sanctioned Suicide exists to get away from these people. You cannot talk people out of dying because people who are against suicide are one reason people commit suicide.

This isn’t helpful. We don’t need who you think you are. It’s pointless to talk someone out of dying when they don’t consider dying a bad thing, when life is more harmful to them.

3. Indirect Suicide Prevention

This is the type of suicide prevention that is moral. In fact, it actually benefits everyone.

Indirect suicide prevention is attempting to build a society that won’t drive people to kill themselves. Building a society that makes people want to stay won’t guarantee people won’t exit, but it be better for everyone.

Attempts to build such a society are varied. Some focus on reaching out to mentally ill people, helping them with their depression, anxiety, trauma and other things. Some focus on creating a more communal lifestyle. Some help with the economical problems. Either way, building a welcoming society is the only moral way to try to prevent suicide. Even if a person still exits, such a society will be able to provide support to those left behind.

It’s important to note that perhaps assisted suicide is necessary in such a society. A society that accepts suicide as a valid option actually welcomes suicidal people, instead of alienating them. It doesn’t push them over the edge and gives them full agency. It’s possible that by accepting suicide, you can actually lower them.

Of course, all these types exist on a scale and what people do is somewhere on them. A person who talks to a jumper on the Golden Gate bridge is between Type I and Type II – an asshole, but not a criminal. Look at this and think what you’re doing, and how you talk to suicidal people. It’s possible that all this time you were encouraging them to die by telling them not to die.

You cannot, and should not, prevent suicide. Suicide prevention is selfish. True selflessness is helping a person go through with it despite how much it hurts you. If you find this odd, wait until someone bullies you or gaslights you. Unless you’ve been to Sanctioned Suicide or A.S.H., you haven’t spoken with suicidal people honestly.

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30 thoughts on “The Three Types of Suicide Prevention”

  1. Lot of flaws in your logic.

    Example 1 : A kid comes home who has failed test after test after test. She goes to her room, forgets to bolt the door and proceeds to cut herself with a small blade. Her mother, sees this from another room and decides to intervene. Here is where your logic takes a drastic turn. You expect the mother to not stop the little girl because she decides suicide is plain better? And you then compare that a mother saving her child from it by claiming suicide prevention is rape and murder?

    Example 2 : A girl dating her boyfriend has a breakup, has her heart crushed and decides to end it all. Her friend, who knows of the events decides to stop her from jumping off a bridge. The friend, according to your article, has now done something cruel by stopping her from living her life. When clearly she could have moved on in life, and focused on more important things like her career and probably regretted later in life.

    In the following examples, what if the girl in the first example, grows up to become an aspiring lawyer ? and what gives someone the right to end it all when they don’t have the necessary sanity to think clearly? Is it as clear as someone who is feeling refreshed after a midnight sleep having no form of depression ? Is it a wise decision to end it all because someone decides they are not gonna marry the person they love? as is the case in the second example.

    Being miserable and ‘in suffering’ are rather broad examples. Its not the same comparison for a war veteran losing all his limbs and contemplating suicide vs a kid who has exam issues. Saving someone from suicide also can mean that someone wishes them to be in their life and that their life holds meaning for them.

    People save others not because they know what problems they face or what is troubling them, they save them due to the act that they can one day see in clarity and find hope.

    Your article is mostly about euthanasia or mercy killing. Not all victims of suicide are suffering to the point of requiring mercy killing. If it is truly needed there is a law that abides by that. You and me are not the judge of who should die and who shouldn’t, but in both our articles we have counter logic ranging in proportions. So it comes down to agreeing to disagree.

    Have a nice day and keep writing.

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    1. 1. If the child expresses clear desires to die, they should be allowed to do so. Sounds horrible? Well, this is not your life and not the mother’s. I would limit AS to age 16 or so.
      2. Break-up is a rational reason for suicide. It’s not so easy for everyone and some people are tired of heartbreak. You are not to decide for someone whether career is more important (Really? Money is more important than human connection?).
      Also, what if she grows up to be raped? to be broke? To lose everyone she loves in a fire?

      Prove to me suicidal people are always not in their mind. Also, is being ‘not in the right mind’ means you’re also not allowed to refuse sex? Where does bodily autonomy begin?

      The difference between you and me is that you want to choose for others. You step in an decide, “No, you will live even though if you don’t want to!”. Of course, once someone treats you in the same way you’ll be up in arms. So which is it? Why is being suicidal means not having basic human rights?

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  2. A lot of suicide prevention hotlines, websites etc are what you’d call ‘indirect’ preventions, since it takes the suicidal person to contact them. It’s entirely up to the suicidal individual.

    From reading this post, I think when you begin by saying “I obviously object to suicide prevention.” isn’t quite true. What you appear to object to is not suicide prevention (things like the samaritans and other hotlines depending on your country) but to police and the psychiatric professionals witholding people under force.

    It doesn’t matter whether the decision you’re trying to make is to jump off a bridge, or trying to decide between which house out of 2 is best to move in to, both situations can be helped by at the very least having a conversation about it to help you decide. In the end after the discussion, it is entirely up to that person whether they jump from the bridge or which house they buy.

    If someone has collapsed and needs CPR, should they be left?

    Isn’t suicide prevention, in the way outlined above, where it’s still up to the suicidal person on what to do, similar to CPR? The person trying to ‘prevent’ the suicide can only try to use whatever tools they have at their disposal, it doesn’t necessarily save the persons life. The same with CPR. You can try doing it and hope it saves their life, but it won’t necessarily work. I know CPR and suicide prevention are different in that the person collapsed hasn’t made a choice to collapse and almost die. But both people witnessing the distress have a choice, try to help knowing it might not work, or just walk by and leave them.

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    1. I do object to suicide hotlines and Samitarians in a way. They reinforce the idea that suicide is always wrong, that people don’t have a right to die. They’re not a place where you can talk. Your suicidal thoughts just get demonized.
      If a person stopped a suicide but was unaware that it was a suicide – thinking that the carbon monoxide was an accident, that the drowning wasn’t on purpose – I would not consider it a crime.
      The problem is, you view suicide as a ‘distress’, a thing that’s negative in and of itself.
      Suicide is more like breaking up a relationship or exiting a theater when the movie is crap. It is a choice. If a person told me they want to kill themselves, I’d ask them why and get them talking. I wouldn’t ever, however, try to convince them to stay alive. It’s a choice that’s far too personal for me or you to make.
      It’s not worth living in a world where people force you to stay alive. Respecting the person’s decision is one way of easing their pain.

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      1. No. People in suicide forums often spoke badly of them. One person was in a training course for it and described as ridiculous and silly.
        I heard they also can breach privacy and call the cops on you.

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      2. Well I don’t know about all suicide prevention hotlines, but for many they can’t call the cops on you. They’re actually not legally allowed.

        I have spoken to suicide hotlines, i’ve always been told it’s my decision in the end. You can talk to these people anonymously, they don’t even have to know your real name.

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      3. “Suicide is more like breaking up a relationship or exiting a theater when the movie is crap. It is a choice.”

        Well not really. You can walk out of a movie when it’s crap, but you know what else you can do? You can continue to watch other movies afterwards. There is massive difference between that and suicide for that reason alone! Same with a break up, you can have future partners if you want. Killing oneself is not like just walking away from a a bad thing, to use your example of walking out of a movie theatre, they’re not just walking out on one shitty movie, or even 10 shitty movies, they’re walking out on all the shitty movies and all the movies that weren’t shitty.

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      4. So what if the person closes off all other options? It’s their problem, not yours.
        Remember, no one chooses to live. Everyone is forced into life. Suicidal people are well aware that suicide is the end of all things. That’s the primary of objective of suicide – a state of nothingness.
        A lot of these arguments don’t work since they’re rooted in the idea life is good in and of itself. Suicidal thinking doesn’t operate with that assumption.

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      5. You’re the one assuming that I’m assuming anything. 😉

        It’s also not actually true that all suicidal people know suicide is the end of all things. Some of them have a religious, spiritual take on it. Some believe they’ll be taken to some ‘other’ side.

        Some do believe that it is the end of all things.

        That does not mean that a suicide prevention service is not ‘moral’ the idea of suicidal people having someone they can talk to, to help them decide if taking their own life is what they want to do, doesn’t mean they have to live. They can go ahead and kill themselves afterwards.

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      6. From my and everyone else’s experience, these pro-life people don’t help anyone. They just make us feel worse and bullied.

        No, you cannot go ahead and kill yourself afterwards. Suicide is tough and demands a lot mental strength.

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      7. You’re assuming I don’t know how shit about suicide. “No you cannot go ahead and kill yourself” well yes people can, people have done it. That doesn’t mean it’s ‘easy to do’ what I’m saying is that it’s still up to the person after they’ve phoned suicide hotlines. Quite frankly, you clearly grasp at straws to try to purposely be disagreeable.

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      8. If I share my plans with people, they will most likely try to stop me. A user from Reddit got doxxed because he posted that he’s going to kill himself. A few users in the suicide community have similar experiences.

        Either way, we must stop sending the message that suicide is wrong. You don’t want to kill yourself? Fine, but leave the people who want to die alone.

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      9. Lol. You’re not even replying to the points made anymore, you’re just rambling on about Internet sites. Hint: Reddit and forums aren’t suicide prevention sites. Another hint: suicide prevention hotlines don’t come to you, they are there for the person if they choose to call. The person chooses to call the hotline, not the other way around. Read what I’m saying instead of making assumptions.

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      10. I know, but suicide hotlines are still biased and pro-life. They still reinforce the belief that life is good and suicide is wrong. This anti-choice mentality is what drives suicidal people to kill themselves. What kind of sick society believes people should live against their will?

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  3. Hi, whilst I find myself agreeing with many points you have made and a few from commenters too, I just wanted to ask your opinion. An expansion on your original post perhaps.

    What are your thoughts on ‘cries for help’? How are we to judge that the girl struggling at school actually wants to die? How can we be sure that what she is doing is in fact an active attempt at suicide? How can we be sure the person stood on the golden gate bridge isn’t hoping for someone to stop and say ‘there’s other options’?

    If a person is cutting as a way of screaming out for attention because they do not know what to do in life, where to go or perhaps what the point is, at what point do we notice that this person doesn’t actually want it all to end, they just want help making it bearable and have run out of ways of expressing so. At what point do we take the blade from their hand in case they cut too deep? Or at what point do we decide to leave them and wait for them to unintentionally catch an artery?

    I go back to the standing on a bridge. What do you think of the person who goes to that bridge in the hope of a strangers kind words and a hand to hold and in fact not fully decided on exiting? That person may jump as a result of people just walking past, make their final decision at the realisation that people don’t care enough in this world to stop and spare some time.

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    1. What you’re talking about is a different discussion than what post is about. It’s about the practical application of assisted suicide.

      First off, assisted suicide being easily available would mean a few things. Society will accept suicide. It won’t be demonized thought anymore. Second, it clears the suicidal person’s mind.

      When one opts for suicide, they don’t think about Living Vs. Dying. They also worry about being rescued, about the failure of the method, about being discovered, about overcoming the psychological barrier of survival instinct.

      Assisted suicide would first off clear that mind. It would allow them more easily to weigh the benefits of living vs. dying.

      Second, since society accepts suicide it will be easier to talk about such feelings. The person wouldn’t have to hide it. I didn’t find peace with my suicidal thoughts until I found SancSuicide.

      Third, I don’t believe AS should be applied as soon as the person asks. It shouldn’t be a ‘buy now, get now’ thing. There should be a waiting period of a few months with consouling in order for the person to gain a better understanding of the nature of death. However, at the end, the choice MUST remain in the hands of the suicidal person. I do not care if the girl is only sad ‘over a math test’ or ‘over a break-up’. If, at the end of the waiting period she still prefers to exit we will give it to her.

      This is crucial. The moment we rip away this power of choice from suicidal people, we make their life less worth living.

      Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s a very interesting perspective but I’m not familiar with the term, “asher”. What does it mean, if you don’t mind me asking?

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    1. alt.suicide.holiay is a newsgroup (Don’t know if it still runs. Don’t know how to handle Usenet) that was, perhaps, the first pro-choice suicide discussion board.

      Many people there were suicidal and many posted their goodbyes there. However, the main philosphy it promoted is the right to die. The idea that suicide should be easily available for anyone who wishes it so.

      Ashspace.org collects a lot of the writings from the newsgroup and includes the archive of alt.suicide.bus.stop (Another offshoot).

      The spirit also lives on in the subreddit Sanctioned Suicide.

      There is no better place to understand the suicidal mind. It’s not a pro-life research desperately trying to prove suicidal people are all thoughtcriminals who need re-education. It is the voice of the suicidal, unfiltered and uncensored.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You made a fair comment on one of my posts that I had not interacted enough with a suicidal mind and so I took some time to read a few of your posts. Whilst it’s true that I’ve only my own and a few friends’ experience with suicide to base my own opinions off, I feel somewhat that your opinions are based far too heavily on what you have experienced yourself. For you, suicide might be a valid option and if that’s how you truly feel then that makes that true…but only for you. Sending out the message that suicide prevention is wrong is not I feel a good cause. There are so many people who have been prevented from ending their lives that have gone on to bigger and better things. Many of them will not resent and hate those who saved them like you suggest they will, many will have even gone into suicide prevention careers themselves. Not everyone who wants to die today will want to die tomorrow. Not everyone who is allowed to fal from a bridge will want to die the moment they do and there are survivors to prove it. You are right in saying you have the power to choose when you die. But in telling everyone suicide prevention is wrong you’re denying those just crying out for help the chance to live.

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    1. I think suicide prevention is wrong for the same reason I think slavery or rape is wrong. People own their bodies and their lives. They are not yours to use, to control, to dispose of or to continue.

      If you want to talk to someone, show them a different way you’re welcome. The moment you stop respecting their choices, the moment you take away their gun or rip off their exit bag is the moment you become a criminal.

      Suicide preventionist should take a good look at their agenda. They alienate their audience (In a reddit discussion, many clearly stated that life DIDN’T get better after the suicide attempt). They claim their body isn’t theirs.

      You know that video about consent and comparing it to tea? About how you shouldn’t force people to drink tea or to have sex? The same goes for life. You think life is always better than death? But you only lived your life.

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      1. I totally agree that your body is yours and you have the free will to do whatever you wish to t but I wouldn’t compare a well intentioned stranger to a rapist or any other criminal.Would you call a police officer a criminal for preventing the use of potentially deadly drugs? Would you discourage a doctor from saving a chocking person because maybe they want to die? Whilst I take your point that some people simply do not want to live and never will want to, it’s not as black and white and yes prevent suicide and no do not. Some people want to die and others simply feel like that’s their only option. Again going back to the video I linked to, Mark Henick believe he wanted to die and was saved, physically pulled back by a stranger. He now works to save others and is truly thankful to that stranger. If they, like you encourage, had ignored the man on the bridge because it’s his life to end then Mark wouldn’t have lived to see things get better and a successful life would have been wasted. As I say, this is an extremely complicated topic and there are so many ways to look at it. I just disagree with your stance that either you leave people alone or your a criminal. Everyone’s experience with suicidal thoughts are different and therefore everyone should be treated individually.

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      2. A person who injects heroin isn’t necessarily aiming to be addicted. A person who wants suicide most likely aim to be dead.

        I said this in another comment. A person who stops a suicide from the misguided notion that the person wasn’t suicidal – that it’s an accident – isn’t a criminal. I’d do the same thing too.

        Henick isn’t working to ‘save others’. He’s working at fighting thoughtcriminals and re-educating them. You don’t save people from suicide. That’s like forcing people to stay in abusive relationships.

        I don’t think people should ignore strangers who are about to jump off. I would talk to them, too. But I wouldn’t pull them from the edge. Hell, I wouldn’t even try to convince them to live. I believe the best thing you can do for a suicidal person is to listen to them and simply talk to them. Dying is a lonely thing. I’ll do what I can to make that person feel better – if I made him decide to continue to live, good luck to him. If he decides to jump, at least his last moments weren’t so lonely.

        Henick’s life improved, but who guarantees that if I go on living I would have a TED talk that would spread around the internet? Life may not necessarily better. It’s a gamble.

        Suicide should be accepted and talked about openly. Only then people will talk about it freely.

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  6. I agree that the stigma against suicide should be lessened, but I think it should be replaced with a better understanding of what causes a suicide, i.e. a perfectly legal and morally acceptable tragedy. Suicide should not be something we cheer people on for. Any wish to die inherently requires some level of unacceptability of the current conditions, which is obviously tragic (the universe or society was unable to provide for the person’s needs).

    We will never be in a position to see someone jump off a building and not think twice about it. If someone wishes to end their life, they should have the right to do so (as it’s their own life, not someone else’s). However, public suicides are extraordinarily traumatic for those who happen to be in the vicinity at the time. If someone decides to attempt a suicide in public in the middle of the afternoon, they should at least expect some people to object and try to help them. Certainly many public suicides are in fact cries for help (that’s why they are public), and I personally would not want to live in a society whose citizens neglected this fact, ignoring the cry for help as the person in need dies at their feet. Just as a person getting mugged would cause us to intervene, a public suicide would prompt us to intervene in order to help the individual. Committing suicide in private would thus implicitly mean “do not disturb”.

    Similar to how the samurai committed seppuku in the privacy of their homes with only a close friend to help them, suicide should be an understandable action that nevertheless needs to happen away from everyone else (like masturbation, or defecation). Nobody wants to see another person die, unless they’re a vindictive and hateful ass.

    If you have come to the conclusion that you wish to end you life, I see two legitimate options: do it in the privacy of your home, letting a close friend or associate call the clean up crew after you have expired, or have a government association that allows two or so weeks for counseling (mostly for financial and legal affairs) before helping you die.

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    1. I don’t believe suicide should be cheered for. That’s like being against suicide. I am for choice.

      The universe is unable to provide most of our needs, actually. The universe isn’t made for us but we somehow adapted. We can’t live in most of the world.

      I am against public suicide on moral grounds, since you force the experience of seeing death on others. Suicide is a private thing and should be done privately. Unless a person has no access to other methods – guns, CO, poison, only then I might say they should be allowed to jump. With assisted suicide, all methods become immoral (Since they suckerpunch and leave a mess).

      AS doesn’t even leave much of a mess. Your body simply stops functioning and you bury it or donate to research.

      Thank you for the comment.

      Like

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