Talking About Suicide

Because it's not a taboo

A rare report on us

I’ve started looking into how overseas groups address attempt survivors, and here’s a happy discovery. Suicide Prevention Australia lay out in detail its position on attempt survivors and what’s needed to help them. Usually, unless it’s an academic paper, we’re a passing mention. Here, we’re the entire report.

They’re direct, and a lot of what they say is encouraging. Some examples:

“There is still a strong stigma attached to suicidal behaviours. This stigma frequently inhibits the ability to understand, reach out and respond to suicide attempt survivors.”

“The personal experiences and views of those who have survived a suicide attempt need to be incorporated not only in research, but also in policy, prevention strategies, and service provision.”

“Responses to suicide attempt survivors should not be restricted to medical or health-related interventions alone as it may be equally important to help a person address their social circumstances.”

“Addressing the pain and suffering, and potential lethality, associated with suicide attempts is long overdue.”

“Suicide attempt survivors can uniquely contribute and identify their individual needs and guide the development of effective prevention and aftercare strategies.”

“SPA also draws attention to the reported lack of input from people with a mental illness or suicide attempt survivors in the decision-making process regarding involuntary treatment, as well as the frequent lack of legal representation when decisions are made.”

“There is a need for a safe space — other than a hospital ward — that provides the opportunity for time out and the help needed to regain perspective and hope.”

“Engagement, follow-up and maintaining contact with suicide attempters after emergency room contact is critical.”

“The majority of research has typically focused on the effect of completed suicides on those left behind. More needs to be known, therefore, of the impact of a suicide attempt on family, friends and/or the wider community.”

“Limited information is available for prison suicide attempt survivors. … there is currently very limited empirical literature on the impact of involuntary and solitary confinement of prisoners who attempt suicide.”

 And they did this back in 2009.

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