delirium happy

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What to do in cases of suicide
delirium happy
rho
Earlier today, someone on my friends list attempted to kill themself, and posted about this to their LJ. I didn't see the entry in question until much later on, after the person in question had been submitted to hospital, and was mercifully OK. Looking at some of the comments on the entry though, it does seem to me as if a lot of people really aren't sure of the best way to deal with these sort of situations, so I offer a brief guide. Many of you will probably already know this, but some people don't.

If you have reason to believe that someone is actually attempting or has actually attempted to kill themself, then the first priority is to get an ambulance to them as soon as is possible. Especially if you see the entry soon after it was posted, then every minute can be vital. Which means that it's up to you to act. Other people may have seen the entry, and may be dealing with it, or they may not. Unless you know for a fact that someone else is on it and that they are competent, it falls to you to deal with it. No matter how inconvenient it may be for you, or how much you may hate dealing with this sort of thing.

Hopefully, you know or have access to the person's address. If you don't, then you can try to find it. Lots of people post their contact details to their LJ, often in protected entries. Good places to look for this are entry tags, memories, and the person's userinfo page. If they have a webpage, you may also want to check that.

If you manage to find their address, then you want to call for an ambulance. Unless you live very close to them, simply calling the emergency services (ie, 999, 911 or whatever the equivalent is in your country) won't work. Even though the number is national, the calls get routed locally. I am informed, by someone who knows about such things, that the best bet is generally to call the person's local police department, who will then be able to transfer you as appropriate. In order to find the correct number, use google. So if it were me you were trying to call about, you might google for lancaster england police station which would tell you that the number you need would be 01524 63333.

When you call, be sure to tell them everything you know. Tell them the time of the entry. Tell them the method of suicide being attempted (slit wrists, suffocation, overdose, hanging, whatever). The more they know, the better the paramedics will be able to prepare.

If you don't know the person's address, and aren't able to find it, then try to think if you know anyone who would. Partners are a good choice, as are close friends, or others local to the person in question. If possible, get hold of such people in a real time medium, such as over the phone, or by IM. If that's not possible (they aren't on IM and you don't have a phone number) try sending them an email, though don't assume that they've received it.

If you are still not able to get the person's address in any way, then you should contact the LJ abuse team who may be able to help, as some (employee) members of the team have access to a tool that allows them to see a person's private and protected entries. This can sometimes be used to find a person's address, if they have posted a private or heavily protected entry with their contact details. I am told by a member of the team that they are only able to act in cases which are clear-cut (for instance, "I have just taken 50 paracetamol"), and not vague comments which could be interpreted as suicidal (for instance "goodbye, cruel world!"). This is "because the latter isn't always a definite indication of a suicide attempt, and [they] can only act on definite suicide threats". However, if there is a definite threat there, and you aren't able to find the address yourself, get in touch with them. They won't definitely be able to help, but there's a reasonably good chance that they will.

After you have taken whatever steps you are able to take, but not until then, you should then return to the initial entry and comment on it to let people know what steps you have taken. This stops other people having to do the same thing again, and helps ensure that the police (or the abuse team) don't get multiple reports of the same thing. Wait until you've done everything else first though, because it's better to have multiple reports than no reports or delayed reports. If you haven't actually been able to contact the emergency services yourself, or spoken to someone who you know has, then be sure to make this clear and suggest that anyone who does have the address should do so.

And there we have it. I hope that none of you ever have to use any of this information, but I'd rather you all know it than not. If anyone has any questions, ask away, and if I can't answer them myself, I'll try to find someone who can.

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(Deleted comment)
Thanks for posting that. I will link and bookmark also.

Sound advice. I shall keep it somewhere safe.

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