What do we do if someone says they will kill themself?



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against_the_clock
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02 Dec 2010, 7:32 pm

Should we report it to Alex? a moderator? if so which one? Or can we really do anything about it?



Kilroy
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02 Dec 2010, 8:21 pm

people say they're going to kill themselves for the attention
the only suicides I've ever known of here, they never said a word



against_the_clock
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02 Dec 2010, 8:35 pm

Yeah that makes sense, and I am now getting the impression that these threats of suicide are so common on here that it is impossible to alert everyone's family without it turning into a full time job. However, Alex was sued over an incident where someone threatened violence and Alex wasn't able to contact the guy's family before he did something http://articles.latimes.com/2006/nov/18 ... perger18/2
It seems likely that someone might try to sue over the website not contacting family members in a suicide, so I thought we may have to report it anyway, but then again people sue over everything and I don't know enough about the law to say whether this is a legit reason.

But yeah, I guess it looks like there is really nothing you can do, just wondering if there was an existing protocol for this.



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03 Dec 2010, 5:46 am

I don't think anyone is under onus to do anything in a legal sense, but in a moral sense if you feel it's neccessary to intervene then do so.

If someone wants to come online and talk about their suicidal ideas with a bunch of random strangers rather than with family, it speaks of their trouble of not being able to talk about things with their family more than anything (family are judgemental and insensitive maybe?). That family who sued were just looking for someone to blame other than themselves. THEY should be the one keeping track of their son's/daughter's mental health, not us.



blue_bean
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03 Dec 2010, 7:01 am

against_the_clock wrote:
Yeah that makes sense, and I am now getting the impression that these threats of suicide are so common on here that it is impossible to alert everyone's family without it turning into a full time job. However, Alex was sued over an incident where someone threatened violence and Alex wasn't able to contact the guy's family before he did something http://articles.latimes.com/2006/nov/18 ... perger18/2
It seems likely that someone might try to sue over the website not contacting family members in a suicide, so I thought we may have to report it anyway, but then again people sue over everything and I don't know enough about the law to say whether this is a legit reason.

But yeah, I guess it looks like there is really nothing you can do, just wondering if there was an existing protocol for this.


I think it might go a bit like this in terms of things legally: If there is absolutely NO other avenue for someone to get help other than on WP (unable to pick up a phone and make an appointment with a professional or call a phone counsellor, completely unable to get themselves to a local psych unit or ER, no family, no friends, no neighbours, nothing but an internet connection, living in the middle of nowhere) then people online might be obliged to help. All other avenues for help must be exhausted before WP is legally obliged to do anything. I suppose we're obliged to recommend them places to get help (family, friends, GP, hospital, phone counselling), but we should be under no obligation to contact emergency services ourselves unless it's the absolute last resort. I'm pretty sure most people in suicide crisis can use a phone to call for help, unless they're non verbal.

Another legal argument is that suicide is a choice, other forms of death aren't. Nobody can be negligent for their death if they have a will to die (unlike say, someone on life support who might have a will to live and has their machine wrongly turned off).

The boy in the example above had family, and they were obliged to help him first. It wasn't up to WP to tell them that their son was suicidal. I'm sure somebody at the time suggested ways for him to get help (tell his family) and that would have been enough for WP to escape liability.



against_the_clock
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03 Dec 2010, 7:45 am

Thanks for the responses. Yeah I've seen people contact mods about this stuff. For instance here: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt144849.html

I guess it would still be a good idea to contact mods even though I don't know what they could do. Last time I contacted Alex about this, it says he read it (at least I think that is what it meant) but I didn't get a response back. I guess I'll contact mods from now on unless they tell me to stop because they can't do anything.

But yeah, I agree we aren't legally obliged to do anything, but morally it is different.



sinsboldly
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03 Dec 2010, 10:26 am

when the moderators address the issue publically then they draw the forum into the issue. The mods usually have to act as concerned members because, so the forum can't be implicit in the suicide threat, or 'responsibility' is implied.
as the terms of service say:

Quote:
Moderators
----------------------
Moderators of WrongPlanet are entrusted with helping to keep the forums civil. These
individuals are not paid and do not speak in an official capacity for WrongPlanet.net.


We were always told to watch the thread but not conspicuously moderate the thread, this way WP is not 'involved.' See Wikipedia WP reference to William Freund, who in 2005 shot two people and himself and posted about it before he did causing great consternation to those that read the posts and 'what can we do' angst. What individuals do about it is between their conscious and themselves.

see:


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hale_bopp
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03 Dec 2010, 9:14 pm

I don't think suicide should be taken lightly whether its attention seeking or not - the reason being is because you don't know if it is. I have my suspicions of certain members here and the threads they make, but there has been more than one real cry for help on this place for people who actually ended up killing themselves. Back then I did not believe they would, but boy did I wish I believed them.



Lene
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03 Dec 2010, 9:45 pm

Wow. I never heard about Freund before! Just trawling through the site, there was another guy too, who murdered a dermatologist.

Some guy recently threatened to shoot people too; I reported him to the mods and the whole thing died down, but some idiot actually reported me for 'whistleblowing' :roll: . Wish I'd known about these cases then!

This is a really good idea for a thread by the way. I doubt WP can officially give guidelines (not without lawyers involved), but it would help us all pool advice and hopefully work out a strategy.



Last edited by Lene on 03 Dec 2010, 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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03 Dec 2010, 10:02 pm

I just give the silent treatment. People post because they want responses. I don't want to give them what they want whether it's more fuel for the fire or sympathetic attention.


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Plasma_Pistol
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19 Dec 2010, 11:29 pm

People like this are the reason people kill themselves.



Plasma_Pistol
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19 Dec 2010, 11:32 pm

Tell them to call 1-800-suicide or 1-800-talk
telling them they are seeking attention only makes it worse



kc8ufv
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07 Jan 2011, 10:46 pm

Plasma_Pistol wrote:
Tell them to call 1-800-suicide or 1-800-talk
telling them they are seeking attention only makes it worse


Sometimes these aren't practical options. I've helped with a couple suicide watches via instant messengers, and been stuck late at work one evening because me and an attorney ended up on suicide watch duty for his client. The absolute best thing to do is to keep them talking. If I know them enough to have them on an instant messenger, or have a phone number to contact them at (if I can't get them to call the self-help numbers such as previously mentioned) and I see them post something to indicate they were suicidal, I will attempt to get them into a more interactive method, and KEEP THEM TALKING. Depending on who, when, or where, I may also attempt contacting someone else who knows the person to attempt to keep them up, or if the person is really close, I would likely attempt to contact appropriate support personel local to them, or have someone contact on my behalf while I am keeping them talking.

This always is a personal effort, never on behalf of wherever I am working, or what site I am visiting.



Adamantus
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31 Jan 2011, 4:44 pm

But this is a worldwide site guys, calling an American number won't be useful for everyone, it depends where the live.

If the person is from the UK or Republic of Ireland then I know they should call the Samaritans for example:

UK: 08457 90 90 90
ROI: 1850 60 90 90



kc8ufv
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16 Feb 2011, 11:27 pm

Adamantus wrote:
But this is a worldwide site guys, calling an American number won't be useful for everyone, it depends where the live.

If the person is from the UK or Republic of Ireland then I know they should call the Samaritans for example:

UK: 08457 90 90 90
ROI: 1850 60 90 90

Agreed, you do want someone somehat more local, even if only because it's easier to call, but also less issues of conflicting dialects. However, most are only familiar with the numbers for their part of the world, though, I'm certain numbrs could be located for a good part of the world. The bigger issue is you may not know the person's location to look up the number.



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