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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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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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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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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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  • 2 months later...
12 hours ago, Michael McMahon said:

If one accidentally falls off a ladder, they're not guilty of negligence and endangerment because they are the only victim. So it makes no sense to imply that suicide victims committed anything.

It's not very often that they're the only victim ("no man is an island"), and you're the only one assuming 'committed' has negative implications. 

In fact you seem to on a crusade to defend these unfortunate people, when no-one is attacking them; what's your agenda?

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 5/22/2019 at 11:06 AM, seriously disabled said:

Everyone should have the right to die by suicide if their lives become very miserable and they are really not happy with everything.  

I hate how society thinks it has the right to decide for a person that he should continue living a miserable life rather than choosing to die.

My life is my life. It's nobody business but my own. Therefore I am the exclusive owner of my life and I have the exclusive right to decide what to do with it.

And if I am not happy and living a miserable life then I should have the right to end my life if I choose so.

 

 

I so agree with you because nobody knows our undesirable thoughts that consume some to the breaking point.

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  • 1 year later...

FAITH, hope and love: these are the cardinal human virtues. They also define a now deeply unfashionable concept: manliness. And since we can, quite rightly, no longer use the crude force of a pagan taboo as a control over people's lives, then we must extol the positive, especially the moral concept that is the most noble of them all. Not for me, or you, or us, but for others; the concept that conveys faith, hope and love, which together go by that very simple and very male word, "duty".”

- Kevin Myers

https://www.google.ie/amp/s/amp.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kevin-myers-suicide-is-self-murder-and-must-remain-taboo-26798158.html

 

“Suicide spreads when people feel authorised to opt for it, and when they have lost the will to remain alive. The second part is less important than the first part. Most people wish they were dead at some time or other in their lives. It is the culture of authorisation that translates a possibly temporary indifference to life into a decisive and final action which can be a key factor in the spread of suicide. The more people hear of suicides, the more suicides will follow. And the emotive, non-judgmental, godless culture that has emerged in recent years rules out the use of taboo as a social influence on society generally. If anything, nowadays, a suicide will receive a larger funeral than a cancer victim. So what impact does the sight of a huge funeral have on a depressed person who feels that life is not worth living, and they are a burden to others? Will their own death not merely end all their misery? And their funeral will then serve as a paradoxical affirmation of how important they really were: yes, well, the point is that suicide is not a rational choice.”

- Kevin Myers

https://www.google.ie/amp/s/amp.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/kevin-myers/kevin-myers-as-a-society-we-seem-paralysed-by-suicide-26810287.html

 

Stoicism: “the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint.”

Machismo: “strong or aggressive masculine pride.”

 

Whether one cries and wails or is instead equanimous, the mere experience of pain itself in both instances is a sign of humility and the recognition that you’re not omnipotent. It’s easy to seem calm and relaxed when your not currently in any pain or living an idle rich lifestyle! If you’re able to withstand pain with steely perseverance; then that’s obviously great for you. But it’s still perfectly acceptable when someone needs to be more expressive about the pain they’re in order to get help. 
 

If stoicism is to be seen as a sign of humility and helpfulness, then it would be contradictory to be patronisingly proud of it. Suicide should be discouraged primarily because it’s extremely sad that the victim would miss out on the rest of their life. I understand arguments about the grief of relatives and parental suicide which, while clearly important, is nonetheless secondary to the wellbeing of the individual themselves. At the end of the day, people don’t exist in life to appease others no matter how much they like each other.
 

Historical cases of sacrificing one’s life and martyrdom are brave precisely because they freely choose to do so and it wasn’t actually owed to anyone. Dying of terminal illness is very brave because of how much more aware they are of their mortality and impending death. But obviously everyone will eventually die and no one is immortal. Suicide doesn’t conflict with stoicism per se as it’s conceivable to kill oneself without displaying any emotion. Opting to have an anaesthetic during heart surgery shouldn’t be seen as taking the easy way out.

https://www.totalhealth.co.uk/blog/can-you-have-surgery-without-anaesthetic

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I don’t think openly allowing suicide would increase the current suicide rate. It would just have a palliative affect on those who have unfortunately lost hope and have decided that they can’t live any longer.
 

Heavily relying on involuntary admissions could deter other people from trying to get help in case they too become confined to the hospital. The detainment can be well-intentioned, particularly when a patient might have low self-awareness. But we must be mindful not to excessively depend on it as the loss of freedom may adversely affect self-stigmatisation among patients. 
 

The toleration of suicide may counter-intuitively reduce the materialising of that event. This is because we often procrastinate. This is bad when it comes to homework. But in the context of suicidal ideation it would obviously be very good. It might give the patient peace of mind that they can end their life if the pain exceeds the threshold that they can tolerate. This may possibly prevent them from getting overwhelmed to the point that they actually try to die. So it could paradoxically give the patient more time and energy to battle their mental illness.

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