Suicide Prevention Sheds a Longstanding Taboo: Talking About Attempts

The New York Times:

The relationship had become intolerably abusive, and after a stinging phone call one night, it seemed there was only one way to end the pain. Enough wine and pills should do the job — and would have, except that paramedics barged through the door, alerted by her lover.

“I very rarely tell the story in detail publicly, it’s so triggering and sensational,” said Dese’Rae L. Stage, 30, a photographer and writer living in Brooklyn who tried to kill herself in 2006. “I talk about what led up to it, how helpless I felt — and what came after.”

The nation’s oldest suicide prevention organization, the American Association of Suicidology, decided in a vote by its board last week to recognize a vast but historically invisible portion of its membership: people, like Ms. Stage, who tried to kill themselves but survived.

“We as researchers haven’t yet tapped the potential of working with suicide attempt survivors,” said Matthew K. Nock, a professor of psychology at Harvard. “There’s the potential to learn from them not only more about the experience itself, but about treatments, and where there are gaps in our understanding.”

Some therapists caution that there could be downsides to speaking out. “The main concern, I think, for psychologists and psychiatrists who work with suicidal individuals, is their ability to regulate emotion” if their public disclosure does not go as expected, said J. Christopher Fowler, associate director of clinical research at the Menninger Clinic in Houston.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

See Matthew Nock at the 26th APS Annual Convention.

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