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True about deepening the wounds. I think that if the shock of what suicide really is hits before the self-made-victim acts out the task it might be a preventative. My reasoning is no good where those left behind are concerned. In fact, I fully conceed it as detremental to those left to deal with the aftermath.
Suicide is a disease with many symptoms. It is also, sadly, contagious. My exposure to it throughout life has me biased and desensitized towards it. Every form of prevention should be used against it. Keeping it taboo may well be helping on some fronts. But remember, suicide is like an awesome sounding grand piano, the only problem is that every note is painful to hear, and possibly deadly.
Maybe we just need to change the nomenclature. Instead of 'suicide', why not 'self-murder'. To elaborate: He/she/they murdered himself/herself/themselves.
Granted, changing the wording changes nothing about the act.
Society seems to deal with what it wants to deal with. Mental abberations usually get trodden under by social status, violence, and shock value. We are numbed by the daily cascade of news that assails us. From what I see and hear newspaper thinks about what it gives us far more than the 'stupor-tube'.
I'm not sure if your question has an answer Chris. I'm sure that if it does it certainly is not an easy one to arrive at. I suggest you go to the darkest depths of the subject. Find a survivor and comb their mentality. Such an person could give you both 'pro' and 'con' on the subject.
Whatever you do, don't put any deadline on it. A history lesson for this is as easy as American forces adavancing on a Japanese Island. There's film of Japanese throwing themselves (and their children) over the cliffs to escape the percieved threat that American GIs would eat them.
To get to the core of the story you must pass thru the taboo. Maybe that taboo exist because of the capacity for humans to do such things to themselves...
The issues of mental health and law enforcement seem somehow to have become even more mixed up and entangled than they, by nature, already are. While many departments have taken it upon themselves to train and sensitize their responders to mental health issues and realize that a law enforcement approach to such issues can often do more harm than good, many rural and smaller departments have not done so. Police, though, are NOT social workers, no matter how badly those social workers are needed, nor how hard the police try.
Suicide, along with the conditions that lead to it, is one of the most tragic, yet least talked about issues facing our society. I work as a mental health facilitator with a fairly specialized caseload, but certain key groups stick out statisically, gay/lesbian/questioning youth, recent Combat Veterans and military personnel (18 a day being lost to suicide...far more than are being lost to enemy hostilities), the elderly, and police officers (more suicides amoung local, state and federal law enforcement officers last year than deaths in the line of duty over the previous 12).....the numbers are staggering, so is the silence. As mental health budgets continue to be cut, and the criminal justice system is forced to take up the slack, those in crisis are being presented with what can seem at the time "no way out" of life's sometime turbulent situations, combined with already untreated or undiagnosed mental injuries and conditions (due to stigma or unavailable treatment), suicide can appear as an escape and end to torment.
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This post is proof that responsibility in journalism is alive and well. Do the 'case study'! The subject needs correct, responsible coverage and the history of the past is there to learn from, (AIDS andCancer). Please remember that some people make multiple attempts so you might find a case study in progress, so to speak. You're on the right track and pointed in the right direction. I have faith that you will do a good job of it.