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"But a healthy dose of social pressure, judgment, and yes, honest vocal expressions of genuine moral disgust and anger at those who actually commit suicide, is also necessary. Without it, we send a clear signal, no matter how well meant: “It’s OK. In the end, we’ll understand. Maybe we will even think you were more complex than the rest of us.” "

- Boris Zelkin

What exactly do you mean by contagion? It's important not to let any concept get hijacked by those intent on stigmatising suicide like the one above. 

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17 minutes ago, Michael McMahon said:

What exactly do you mean by contagion? 

Seriously?

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Well how does one person dying by suicide encourage others to do the same? What's the mechanism? Everyone knows what suicide is, so why would not reporting it result in less suicides? As I've said before suicide must be very painful so only those with severe pain would attempt it.

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10 minutes ago, Michael McMahon said:

Well how does one person dying by suicide encourage others to do the same?

Are you familiar with social learning theory, or even the copycat effect?

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2 hours ago, Michael McMahon said:

Well how does one person dying by suicide encourage others to do the same? What's the mechanism?

This is pretty basic stuff. Substitute almost anything, good or bad, for "dying by suicide" in your above question, and I think you'll have your answer. 

How does one person blowing up a building encourage others to do the same?

How does one person eating an ice cream cone encourage others to do the same?

Emulating observed behavior is one of the foundations of how we learn, from a very young age. It's a spectrum ranging from avoidance to admiration to hero worship, and it's very powerful.

Also, I'm not sure I agree that sending a message that suicide is NOT OK is necessarily stigmatizing it. You can decry an action without implying anything about the person performing it. I want to be able to say suicide is a horrible thing, without implying a person is horrible for contemplating it. Does that make sense?

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But there's a lot we don't understand about the mind. We can't control a lot of our subconscious such as the sensation of colour. Similarly we're not in complete control of our emotions. Mental illness seems to be deceptive. Depression, for instance, may delude the person into thinking everything is meaningless. They can't remember being happy. I think it's important not to be harsh when their beliefs, memory and thoughts might be impaired.

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9 minutes ago, Michael McMahon said:

But there's a lot we don't understand about the mind. We can't control a lot of our subconscious such as the sensation of colour. Similarly we're not in complete control of our emotions. Mental illness seems to be deceptive. Depression, for instance, may delude the person into thinking everything is meaningless. They can't remember being happy. I think it's important not to be harsh when their beliefs, memory and thoughts might be impaired.

Whether a depression is meaningful or meaningless depends whether the cause is endogenous (neurologica)l or reactive due to some personal adverse event or injury. The former could be classesd as meaningless because its cause is due to some unknown neurochemical events that is essentially spontaneous. If a person has a painful/debilitating, progressive, terminal condition. I wouldn''t call them deluded for being depressed and wanting to end their life.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Michael McMahon said:

But there's a lot we don't understand about the mind. We can't control a lot of our subconscious such as the sensation of colour. Similarly we're not in complete control of our emotions. Mental illness seems to be deceptive. Depression, for instance, may delude the person into thinking everything is meaningless. They can't remember being happy. I think it's important not to be harsh when their beliefs, memory and thoughts might be impaired.

All of these things are true. They remain true even while acknowledging the validity of Phi’s point 

58 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Whether a depression is meaningful or meaningless depends whether the cause is endogenous (neurologica)l or reactive due to some personal adverse event or injury

I’d be cautious referring to any of them as meaningless. While the causes potentially differ, the impact on one’s life can be extremely meaningful regardless of cause. 

It's not the depression that’s meaningless, but meaningless is often how the depressed person views existence itself. 

Edited by iNow

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Even if there are copycat suicides, they'd be in a small minority compared to those who die of mental illness. It does not justify ostracising victims. 

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1 hour ago, Michael McMahon said:

Even if there are copycat suicides, they'd be in a small minority compared to those who die of mental illness. It does not justify ostracising victims. 

Nobody is advocating ostracizing victims. Quite the opposite. They need love and kindness. Who are you responding to?

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