Hi Pam,

You’re welcome!

You’ve brought up a few more really interesting and important points here.

With respect to your depressive episodes, I hear you. Based on your description of how depression works for you, it does sound like suicide planning really isn’t a good fit for you. In fact, the Veterans Affairs article I linked to earlier admits that while it’s useful in general, they don’t have great data about the utility of safety planning for various sub-groups of the population. It might work better for, say, people with schizophrenia and may not work at all for others, say, perhaps people with MDD. I hear you saying that a safety plan just doesn’t address at all your particular case, and it actually could be that safety planning — while a good option in general — is not a great option for people with MDD.

I’m also glad that you’ve found that peer specialists can be really powerful. I think they can sometimes actually be more effective than therapists. My friend Keyne, who provided all the information for the article (and is a therapist), mentioned that actually very few therapists are properly trained for responding to suicide. Lots are totally not prepared and, like you say, get “so damned afraid of suicide”. And that’s therapists! Regular, non-therapist people may absolutely get freaked out, like you say. So I agree, peer support can be great (and good for you for doing it!)

Another point that I want to address is that

“current “suicide prevention” efforts are like pushing someone out of the path of a speeding train, then leaving them alone, not walking beside them to help them stay off the tracks.”

I think you’re right. My friend Keyne mentioned something that I think is similar when we were discussing this article. She said we tend to think of suicide as a “thing” or a problem kind of on its own. When actually, it may be more accurate to think about it as the result of mental illness that isn’t treated properly. Like, if we don’t actually address depression or schizophrenia, or whatever, suicide is what happens. That’s your point earlier about helping to actually make a life worth living. It’s not just about keeping people alive, but about helping address the underlying issue.

Thanks again for the message, Pam. I enjoyed the discussion and your valuable insight! Looking forward to the next article :)

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Ramsay is a researcher, educator, and writer (crisptext.ca) based in Brazil. When not writing, you can find him cycling or looking for his keys.

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