Suicide contagion is bunk

Some celebrities have killed themselves and now “mental health experts” say that this may lead to suicide contagion:

Suicide contagion is a process in which the suicide of one person or multiple people can contribute to a rise in suicidal behaviors among others, especially those who already have suicidal thoughts or a known risk factor for suicide.

“If they’re already struggling with thoughts of depression or risk of suicide, they’re already trying to get information about how other people are experiencing it,” said John Ackerman, suicide prevention coordinator in the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Wanting to kill yourself is a moral issue, not a medical issue. Terms like suicide contagion exist to cover up the discomfort people feel at discussing suicide. A worthwhile discussion of a suicide would involve considering a person’s values, what choices that person had or thought he had and that sort of thing. Instead we make up stories about diseases causing suicide:

Moreover, suicide can be preventable — death should not be an acceptable outcome of depression, said Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
To whom is the death unacceptable? If a person chooses to kill himself he finds his death not acceptable. If this professor is so squeamish that he won’t admit that, then what use is he?
“When you have heart disease or when you have certain forms of cancer, there’s a profile or a calculator of risk factors that’s done. So with heart disease it’s obesity, smoking, exercise, cholesterol, family history, and age. Same thing for suicide,” Lieberman said.

Heart disease is a fault in a person’s body. Suicide is an action a person takes. An action doesn’t have risk factors. A person takes an action because he has some motive for doing so. If you’re not talking about that motive, you’re distracting people from real problems, not solving them.

The article continues:

The statement noted that many people in the US do not have access to mental health services when needed.
A lot of people have access to “mental health services” they don’t want, i.e. – people who have been involuntarily committed or drugged, or threatened with commitment or drugging. For example, in the UK in 2015/16 the government reported that it involuntarily committed 63,622 people. Every time somebody consults a psychiatrist the psychiatrist has the option of using force against his patient. So the only people willing to consult psychiatrists are either ignorant people who know nothing about psychiatry or people who are willing to put up with being coerced.
If you want to actually help people who want to kill themselves, you should oppose this crap. If you want to punish them with imprisonment without trial, then you should at least admit that and then we can have a discussion about the morality of your position.

About conjecturesandrefutations
My name is Alan Forrester. I am interested in science and philosophy: especially David Deutsch, Ayn Rand, Karl Popper and William Godwin.

One Response to Suicide contagion is bunk

  1. > Suicide contagion is a process in which the suicide of one person or multiple people can contribute to a rise in suicidal behaviors among others, especially those who already have suicidal thoughts or a known risk factor for suicide.

    “can contribute”. That’s so vague. A restaurant serving you food that tastes less great than you hoped “can contribute” to auto-homicide too.

    Maybe this very article will contribute to Alan’s auto-homicide. It could. it’s capable of doing such a thing, e.g. by annoying him, and being in a worse mood could be a contributing factor.

    > involuntarily committed 63,622 people

    jesus christ that’s 0.1% of the population INVOLUNTARILY committed *in one year*. over a 75 year lifespan that’s like 7.5% of the population, less repeats, so maybe 3% (wild guess).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: