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Sep 29 2012

Gone

I’ve been gone for a few days, in part because I started school, and in part because there was a tragedy at school. I couldn’t muster interest in Internet Words when I wasn’t even able to offer useful words to people right in front of me.

Which brings me to this.

I’d like you to do something for me. It might just be for me.
Or you might use it to help someone else later.

Take out your phone (or, if you’re reading this on your phone, congratulations on efficiency!)
Open your contact list, or whatever, and type an ‘A’. Hit the space bar, and then type in ‘Suicide Hotline’.
The extra first letter means that the number will always be at the top of your contacts–useful in an emergency, and a good reminder that you have it.

The actual number to use will vary, but here’s a (very incomplete) list:

US of A: 1-800-273-8255
The Netherlands offers online therapy, as well as phone-in services.
The UK: 08457 90 90 90
Australia: 13 11 14
Israel has Mental Health Aid hotline(s) for a variety of different language speakers. Click the link to find the correct one.

So put it into your phone.  Acknowledging suicidal ideation is messy and complicated, and too often we decide it’s easier to pretend they aren’t really serious, they couldn’t be that depressed. Don’t do that. Call this number. Hand over the phone.

You don’t know what to say? You don’t have to. You just have to take them seriously, and try to get them the help they need. This is a first step.

Do it for me?

Feel free to add numbers for other countries in the comments 

13 comments

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  1. 1
    Mattir, Another One With Boltcutters

    Done, and thanks for the suggestion, I hope I don’t need to use it, but it’s good to know it’s there.

  2. 2
    Kaoru Negisa

    It’s in there now. Thank you for the idea.

  3. 3
    peicurmudgeon

    This is so difficult and painful. I have nearly lost myself, I have lost friends, and I have driven others to the hospital. My psych numbers aren’t at the top of my contact list, but they are on there.

  4. 4
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    Here’s a list of numbers for Canada and Befrienders International.

  5. 5
    Atheistwizard

    I’d like to say that I am a volunteer for the other end of one of those lines and I can assure you that we are there to listen and help anyone through the times when they feel that they can’t make it. Life is always worth living even when it seems to be at its darkest moments. It may not be always possible to see it, but there’s always hope and we are there to help you find it whenever you need us.

    Please call if you’re ever thinking of Suicide.

    Thank you.

  6. 6
    Miriam, Professional Fun-Ruiner

    Thank you for what you do.

  7. 7
    Rob

    Great idea Ashley. I lost a cousin to suicide. The effects on family and friends can be be profound, not to mention the obvious waste of a life.

    For New Zealanders useful links are:

    http://www.spinz.org.nz/resourcefinder/index.php?c=listings&m=results&topic=97&type=28&publisher=&audience=&keywords=Keyword%28s%29

    and

    http://www.lifeline.org.nz/

  8. 8
    Kate Donovan

    Thanks for adding that :)

  9. 9
    Rob

    Oops, sorry Kate I didn’t notice the by-line.

  10. 10
    sheila

    Great idea, Ashley.

    There’s a common myth that people who are seriously considering suicide don’t talk about it first, and therefore anybody talking about suicide is just looking for attention. I want to scream from the rooftops that it’s a MYTH. (Maybe they are looking for attention. And maybe they’re looking for it because they desperately need attention.)

    And if you’re hearing that too late and you already found out the hard way, hugs. You’re not evil or stupid. Humans do tend to learn the hard way. None of us knows everything, and we all screw up sometimes.

  11. 11
    Pyra

    I have trouble trusting these numbers. I don’t want anyone to show up at my door to arrest me for considering it. And I do, often… But it’s hard to get past that fear that was delivered to me through years of my mother’s struggles and her involuntary hospitalizations.

  12. 12
    Nick Gotts

    Thanks for the idea – done!

  13. 13
    Atheistwizard

    At the organization I volunteer for, the call is completely confidential and anonymous unless you are in the act of completing suicide (or it’s a prank call). I don’t ask for names or addresses and I really don’t care who you are, where you’re from, or what your background happens to be.

    What I do care about is that you are a person in a crisis situation who needs help. I care that you probably have family and friends that would miss you greatly if you were to go through with the act. I believe that the world becomes a darker place every time someone decides to take their own life when there are those of us who want so much to help.

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