Is it ethical to talk someone out of suicide?

  • Registration closed, comedy forum, Internet drama, Sneed, etc.

Yellow Yam Scam

I'm Russian, doctor. We understand these things.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Apr 25, 2015
I've had this thought for awhile now and haven't been able to broach it with any of my friends but considering how many lolcows seem to make suicide threats, this might be an appropriate place for it.

Is it really ethical to talk someone out of suicide? Is it really appropriate to tell someone that their pain and suffering isn't great enough to want end their lives? If someone came to me saying they were suicidal I would try to talk them out of it, but honestly I don't think it's a great idea, philosophically. Maybe they should do it. I don't know what lies on the other side. Perhaps it's a pain and misery free world ("Heaven") or some sort of reincarnation. Or just eternal darkness. It's a roll of the dice but who am I to tell someone not to take the risk? I'm not suicidal myself but I just don't really see anything wrong with wanting to experience whatever comes next in the human experience. It seems arrogant to tell someone else not take the chance.

Christianity, for example, makes no explicit mention of suicide being a negative at all. If you, as a Christian, feel you've lived a pious life and are in terrible pain and expect to be for the rest of your life, isn't suicide the logical move?
 
Last edited:

chimpburgers

Big league
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
I've been the kind of person to try to talk people out of committing suicide if they don't have any serious health problems or anything like that. I even did it during my senior year of high school with someone I knew personally. I come from the perspective that it would probably be more painful to try to off yourself and miss out on what else life has to offer than waiting for it to happen naturally. I'm also a supporter of assisted suicide if the person is terminally ill and has been placed in a position where it's just too physically and emotionally painful for them to keep going.
 

Teddy

kiwifarms.net
Joined
Feb 15, 2015
Being surrounded by teenagers 24/7, suicide is brought up AT LEAST once a day, many of the reasons fairly superficial. jackass boyfriend, bitch friend, or just a plain antisocial loser who has no close friends. When it's these reasons, I sometimes try to talk them out of it. Vast majority of them just do it for attention or never go through with it.
 

Da Pickle Monsta

Should Have Been Bullied
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Mar 17, 2013
I'd say yes, it is ethical. Suicidal ideation is usually regarded as a sickness of the mind. A person who is mentally healthy typically does not have a desire to die. I would argue that people who are aware of somebody suffering from immediate suicidal ideation have a societal obligation to seek help for that person.

I think that exceptions should be made for end-of-life care--for people who are in terrible pain due to medical complications--but even then, euthanasia should be practiced with dignity and in a controlled, medical manner, with the utmost respect given to the patient and to their family. No "here's a gun, go do it," business.
 

Cynical

The world sucks? Good.
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Aug 21, 2014
Suicide tends to be a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Unless you're terminally ill and in horrible pain, suicide isn't a smart move.

I generally concur with this position, and despite my religious beliefs, I don't see choosing a quick death over a long protracted one if you are slowly dying of agony that cannot be stopped as a bad thing, as by that point, you are guaranteed to die, you just have the option to choose to shorten the amount of time you are in agony, and I wouldn't fault anyone for trying to shorten that, though that should be performed by medical professionals if at all possible.
 

Marvin

Christorical Figure
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Feb 9, 2013
Interfering with someone's suicide comes down to a discussion about paternalism.

At what point do your morals permit you to tell other people that you know better than they do, about what's in their best interest? Also, at what point does your interference cross a line? The answers to these questions varies from person to person.

Generally, I take the position that life always gets better, on average. Bottomless human optimism. So because of that, I try to talk people out of suicide/depression. But I also accept that I usually don't know their situation as well as they do. Me pushing the "it'll get better" narrative can be kind of shitty in some circumstances.

But I also keep in mind that suicidal people are responsible for their own decisions. If I talk a suicidal person out of killing themselves, I don't really feel too guilty about it. If you genuinely want to kill yourself, you should be able to stick to your decision in the face of all the people who'll try to talk you out of it. Because that's gonna happen a lot.
 
Last edited:

AnOminous

Only the rarest and smuggest of Goodmans
Retired Staff
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Dec 28, 2014
At what point do your morals permit you to tell other people that you know better than they do, about what's in their best interest?

At the point that I actually do know better than they do.

Also, at what point does your interference cross a line? The answers to these questions varies from person to person.

If the authorities wouldn't interfere, you probably don't have the right to stop them physically.

However, if someone is suffering a temporary disturbance of the mind and would not, in their right mind, make the decision to commit suicide, then the temporary interference with their liberty to prevent something that would be irremediable after done is worth the trade-off. Considering there might not be any other opportunity to determine whether that's the case or not, some interference is justifiable.

It's not like they can't go kill themselves later anyway.

And there's certainly nothing unethical about merely attempting to persuade someone not to commit suicide.

Unless they're Hitler or something.
 
S

SU 390

Guest
kiwifarms.net
It's ethical. Though it is a person's decision if they want to commit suicide or not(something that's really grim and 'brave'). I've been suicidal a few times in my 25 years of living. I've been talked out of suicide and talked myself out of suicide. At times I've always felt useless because I have learning disabilities and my brain functions differently. In my teen days whenever I make a mistake that's drastic I get chastised for the action. With my learning disability and my brain not functioning as normal as it should I always thought that I may not excel well in life.

The optimism in me tells me I'll overcome my disability and get my brain functioning normally, so that stops me from committing suicide. I believe that the way you talk someone out of suicide is the most important thing. There are other ways to say the cliched 'things/it will get better'.
 

Pickle Inspector

True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Mar 10, 2013
I've had this thought for awhile now and haven't been able to broach it with any of my friends but considering how many lolcows seem to make suicide threats, this might be an appropriate place for it.

Is it really ethical to talk someone out of suicide? Is it really appropriate to tell someone that their pain and suffering isn't great enough to want end their lives? If someone came to me saying they were suicidal I would try to talk them out of it, but honestly I don't think it's a great idea, philosophically. Maybe they should do it. I don't know what lies on the other side. Perhaps it's a pain and misery free world ("Heaven") or some sort of reincarnation. Or just eternal darkness. It's a roll of the dice but who am I to tell someone not to take the risk? I'm not suicidal myself but I just don't really see anything wrong with wanting to experience whatever comes next in the human experience. It seems arrogant to tell someone else not take the chance.

Christianity, for example, makes no explicit mention of suicide being a negative at all. If you, as a Christian, feel you've lived a pious life and are in terrible pain and expect to be for the rest of your life, isn't suicide the logical move?
You seem to be assuming a suicidal person is thinking rationally which isn't always the case, suicidal feelings can be caused by things like a chemical imbalance in the brain or even as a side effect of depression pills (It's a listed side effect of SSRIs and this apparently affects younger people more (Under 25's)).

A personal anecdote about suicide is my dad was in a stroke ward for about a year and they'd be stroke patients who when they first arrived talked about how they wanted to kill themselves in various ways but in all of the cases after several months of rehabilitation (Learning how to walk, eat and that kind of stuff again) they changed their mind and learned to cope with their situation and were just happy with the thought they'd eventually get to leave the hospital, this was especially true of people who had a super active lifestyle before.

So I think you definately should try to get them to seek professional help before they kill themselves.
 

DuskEngine

watermelon seller
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Consider the effectiveness of suicide barriers on bridges - they're a relatively cheap, low-cost solution, and they don't make suicide that much more difficult, but they have a major effect on the number of suicide attempts each bridge sees, and the reason for that is simple -- most suicide attempts are fundamentally impulsive.

On an ethical level, I do believe that nobody is obligated to continue living (unless they have dependents) and that people should be free to end their lives if they want, but there's no obvious way to differentiate an impulsive suicide from a 'rational' one -- at least not in the moment.

tl;dr i dunno lol
 

Magpie

Your local feathered friend.
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jan 21, 2015
Echoing the sentiments of when dealing with most situations with suicidal people, yes. And by suicidal people I don't mean people who make flippant remarks about how they should totally kill themselves or even those with just the passing though. I mean those with a plan and the means to do it readily there should the impulse strike. While the choice of whether or not it's done ultimately boils down to the individual, sometimes all that's needed is some encouragement to continue pressing on and pull someone a step or two back from the brink. Even the distraction until the impulses subside could be the difference between life and death.

As someone who has actively dealt with suicide and has multiple (obviously/thankfully) failed serious attempts, I do have pretty strong feelings on this matter. I still have to cope with a pretty hefty pinch of suicidality now as is the nature of the beast when it comes to my illnesses, but by and large I am still happy to be alive. If you would have told me I would be this much better off five years ago I would have laughed in your face.
 

Sigyn

kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jan 27, 2015
Yes. You have to at least try, IMO. Because the only reason I'm still alive is because other people gave me so much grief about my attempts that I stopped long enough to heal and recover, and I am so completely grateful to all those assholes who did. If they die, they die miserable. If they live, they have that much longer to work it out and change their lives. Life is a gift that should be at least CONSIDERED before returning it.

EDIT: Unless someone has a terminal illness or something like that. I think it's best to just turn the other cheek on that one. But for mental illness or something that can be battled, I'd talk them out of it.
 

RequiredName

Why are there penguins all over base?
kiwifarms.net
Joined
Jul 12, 2014
Is it more ethical than to drive them to suicide? I find ethics to be on a relativistic scale to one another.
 

Red_Rager

kiwifarms.net
Joined
Sep 6, 2014
It is ethical, once someone commits suicide there is no turning back. This is not like Dragonball where death is a revolving door and you can wish back the dead. Do you really have nothing to live for? What about your loved ones? Is there another way? At least try to get the individual to find another solution, but ultimately if one is over the age of 18, free will free choice. I see it as offering an alternative path.
 
J

JU 199

Guest
kiwifarms.net
Is it really ethical to talk someone out of suicide?

Of course it is. 99% of the time you'll be doing them a favor in the long run. Severe depression (among other thins) can affect the mind's ability to make informed decisions. You're simply helping that individual come to a conclusion they would had make themselves if their head-space was clearer.

(Now if the're affected with an incurable aliment that will degrade them over time, then its different)