I feel the slogan should say something like " Suicide, it's not a choice". People need to understand that my brother, our loved ones did not choose to DIE.To live here where people think it's ok, because it's a res. problem (the race of a victim should not matter nor make them worth less), is just unbelievable to me. There are no services here and the stigma surrounding suicide is ridiculous and fatal. What always kept my brother from getting help was his fear that the community would find out he was "crazy". I wish you luck with your project. Any help I can offer will be gladly given
My son signed a medical release naming me as someone who would have access to his case and his Dr... I had every right to discuss his case with his idiot Dr. That is what I was (inadequately) referring to. The ass still shut me out when I called him, when I tried to tell him how poorly my son was reacting to the prescribed medication. When I used a psychological term to describe how I felt my son was doing (how dare I tread on his sacrosanctimonious territory). Unfortunately I was too stressed to even remember I had those rights. If I had more support, someone could have reminded me. I only remembered they were official when I got copies of the medical records after his death and saw the signed release (my son and I both signed it). My son never stated he was below a 6-7 on the scale of 1-10 regarding his suicidal thoughts and every other time he was asked during treatment it was higher. I am taking further action against this horrible person.
What I should have said was it is important for both professionals and the people who love the suicidal to encourage the suicidal to sign a release as part of the treatment, and then follow through with open communication. To take it a step further, except in extraordinary cases, it should be standard protocol. One piece of information I would put in a pamphlet on how to help the suicidal is before bringing someone in for treatment is to ask is the dr. is willing to have open communication to support the patient and the patient is willing to sign a release. If the dr is unwilling, find another. If I had a pamphlet like that in front of me, I would have remembered I had a release. Maybe I'll write one.
I believe that the confidentiality laws need changing when someone's life is in danger. Anyone who has attempted or contemplated within at least several months or less should be considered a danger to themselves. It says it right on the anti-depressant boxes: family needs to be involved and kept in close contact with the dr. when starting a new dose with a suicidal person. Of course if you don't have a sample box and the dr. and patient don't tell you, you won't know that. And drs ignore it.
I am sure there are plenty of people who blame me, even in my own family. I guess what I was trying to say was not that blame is not an issue, because it is. But that we have to push beyond that archaic and stereotypical way of thinking on society's part. Parents used to be blamed for autism in their children, but they continued to fight for them... It was the parents, more than the drs. who did not stop pushing and working with and sometimes against the professionals and the system that caused the great strides that have been made, even while they were being blamed. It is only through openness and education that these things change. So I think the blame has been in place a long time. I believe that openness and communication around every aspect of suicide communication is the only thing that will get people to stop blaming.
Suicidal people don't think clearly. Drs are not well trained and almost never have the whole picture. We have to open this up for as many people to help as possible. When society learns how critical and difficult it is to help someone in this state, then they will stop blaming and start acting.
I wish there was an organization in place with a hotline # to support those who support the suicidal. THAT would be invaluable.
I know my words don't address every situation. I know there is no across the board solution. I know some people had no clue that their loved ones were in trouble. I know that sometimes people in trouble push help away. But for me and possibly for many others these things would have helped immensely. They could have helped me save my son. He was beyond helping himself other than asking me to help him. That was the most he could do right then. I failed him. I tried and I failed him, because I had no clue other than taking him to the drs and the system.
I can't even begin to describe the pain I've felt in the last year or the struggles I and my family have endured through. But I can say that I'm blessed with a good support group in the town I go to college in, as well as supportive friends and the staff here that have become like family to me. I probably wouldn't be here myself if it weren't for them. But I don't think they even realize how important they are to me. My family back home are not as fortunate as me. And as mum continues to decline so low, I get more and more frightened becuase of the position we were left in- with crummy state insurance where mental health isn't even covered. And while the losses continue to add up, my family is left grasping at straws. We tried to save my dad, but only he could save himself as the doctors didn't do anything to stop him and they wouldn't listen to us.
There's no instructions out there for what you're supposed to do when you know they're suicidal and the doctors don't do anything. There has to be somewhere to turn to, because let's be honest here, life is important. And I miss the living, breathing father of mine. But he was just another one that slipped through the cracks of the health care system... those "trained" mental health care professionals...
Calling the hotline or 911 is what family members are supposed to do if they think their loved one is in danger of harming themselves. Unfortunately, many of those people (the operator, police, doctors) aren't sure what to do after you get your loved one there. The "Standards of Care" vary from hospital to hospital, but for the most part it states that someone (we would hope a psychologist etc) evaluates them and if they think they are at risk, admit them for a 72 hour "watch." What happens during that "watch" is also up to the individual hospitals and is individualized for the patient needs.
BUT If the doctors, nurses, police aren't trained, then what????? We've taken our loved one for care that they wont get.
The more I think about it, the more I am propelled to action. Perhaps a letter writing campaign to hospitals to urge them to look into their policies and review them with staff or have workshops...something!!!
*sorry for the rant* I just wanted to say jam, I really am sorry about your Dad. The situation sounds similar to our own.
Proud Army Mom
I thought I would lay down and die after losing my Son to suicide.
Instead I chose to fight the monster that killed him.
Hold On, Pain Ends
My anger toward the gross incompetence that exists in so many areas that are trying to be supportive is one of the things that keeps me going- and like psyquestor it makes me want to take action. I will not let go of what may one day allow me to make a difference. I will not!
jamjam, I applaud you for your awareness of the survivors in your mom's area. I know you are young, at school and have a lot on your plate. After the fiasco at my group, I began to google SOS facilitator's handbooks. There are several facilitator's handbooks on the web for different support groups for survivors. The best one I found so far in my limited search so far was the Tri-State SOS facilitator's handbook. It is very together. Their groups are peer facilitated, run by survivors of suicide for survivors of suicide. They have wonderful guidelines. I wonder if your mom or another survivor you know in her area might be a good person to get that information to. I don't have time this moment, but I will post the link on this thread. I know these groups can make a world of difference. I will be driving 60 miles now to attend a survivor facilitated group. I hope one day I will be strong enough to support a group here. One of the suggestions is that facilitators be at least 2 years out, which is probably wise.
The bottom line I believe is, we the survivors are the ones who will make a difference, who will ultimately learn how to share what provides the most support for other survivors, and most importantly, we are the ones who will have the greatest impact on making suicide prevention effective.
I am so grateful forever to have this space, to say things I would never say or perhaps even think of if i were not inspired by the others who are here. The kind of support I spoke of in the beginning of this post with people being there in shifts and checking in was what saved my life after my son died. Friends, not family. Some people who barely knew me but cared anyway. Because I was and still largely am a loner, I did not have a huge network of friends and caring people. But I know I need people and they have shown up with their hearts open. Great big hearts. I am so grateful, just as I am so grateful for everyone here.
The thing with my dad is that we probably could have stopped him for a while longer. Becuase of hippa, the health care workers wouldn't tell my brother to watch him or anything; we didn't even know about the pamphlets and numbers until after he was found. Instead, since my poor brother didn't know, he didn't stop my dad when he walked out the door. Don't you think that after a certain point, they should inform the family of the severity of the situation? My mom couldn't do anything because she was with me while I was under having a procedure done. Needless to say, I definitely think that there needs to be further education especially in those that are supposed to know how to intervene during these sorts of situations.
I'm not going to lie, I'm really lucky that my group's fascilitator is understanding of us, as she doesn't know the pain herself but does let us say whatever we need to whenever we need to. And on the rare occasion that she cannot be there, she has it arranged so a couple that has been going for years is able to pick up the keys and facilitate it themselves. These people have grown on me and become like family in a sense as well. I cannot imagine all the ways a survivor facilitated group would be different, but maybe that's a good sign of the group i'm attending. My heart aches for my family and others in my area that are not able to have any benefit of a group. I mean, even I have a little bit more difficult time, not only becuase i'm home, but becuase I'm without any of my support. I've tried to encourage my family to find support/help but they've yet to do so, so it's painful to see the struggle and I'm guilty of allowing it to bring me down too.
And actually, by the end of this week marks the year for us. Well, year from when he disappeared. As strange as it may sound, with the encouragement of one of my priest friends, I might go on a retreat in Michigan instead of sticking around campus for hte weekend. He told me I could either endure through the weekend, likely sulk as a lot of families are visiting this weekend, and make the weekend a bad year mark, orrrr I could go on a retreat and make it a positive time instead. I just have to get my work shift covered. And finish convincing myself to do this, despite how busy i am.
Yes, yes, yes.jamjam91 wrote:The thing with my dad is that we probably could have stopped him for a while longer. Becuase of hippa, the health care workers wouldn't tell my brother to watch him or anything; we didn't even know about the pamphlets and numbers until after he was found. Instead, since my poor brother didn't know, he didn't stop my dad when he walked out the door. Don't you think that after a certain point, they should inform the family of the severity of the situation?
I'm really glad you have a good facilitator. I just had a bad experience and was mouthing off. A whole lot. Sorry everyone. My buttons are pushed and stuck on the issue of prevention. One of the ways I cope with my failure to save my son is to think of all the changes that could be made, and to express my anger at the incompetence and the avoidance in the medical and mental health fields surrounding the issue of suicide and consequently its prevention.
Whatever you do this weekend Jamjam, I hope it is positive and meaningful for you in honoring the memory of your Dad.
This is the link to the Tri-State SOS Facilitator's Handbook: http://phillysos.tripod.com/sos/SOS_leader_handbook.pdf
I'm going to post it in another area of the forum too, in the hopes that it might help those who would like to start a group in their area, especially if there are no other resources.