Saturday, September 10, 2011

Suicide Promotion during Suicide Prevention week - Part 2.

Two days ago, Stephen Drake, the well researched policy analyst from the disability rights group - Not Dead Yet, published an excellent article, concerning suicide promotion that is occurring during suicide prevention week.

Today is the national suicide prevention day.

Yesterday, Stephen Drake published an excellent blog article concerns the response by Wesley Smith to the suicide promotion strategy while adding to his own comments from the other day.

We are reprinting Drake's blog from Yesterday
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Suicide Promotion During Suicide Prevention Week - Blog from Wesley Smith and a little more from Stephen Drake.

Wesley Smith posted his own follow-up to yesterday's post - I discussed how there seems to be an awful lot of news dedicated to the promotion of suicide during the so-called "National Suicide Prevention Week."

It's been obvious to a number of us who've been dealing with these issues that the suicide prevention community has been MIA for years. It's gotten to the point where I doubt that reporters even think - on their own - to call someone from a suicide prevention organization when doing a story on, for example, Final Exit Network (FEN) - the vigilante, assisted suicide cult.

Wesley's been in this fight a long time - somewhat longer than me, in fact. You should read his further thoughts on this particular phenomenon if you're interested in it. And I don't just say that because he's linked to yesterday's post and quoted from it. ;-)


I'll have a bit more to add at the end of this post, but here's the intro to Wesley's post, Invisible Suicide Prevention Week:
When I was practicing law full time from the mid 1970s into the 1980s, there was tremendous on emphasis suicide prevention. Hotlines proliferated, anti suicide billboards were ubiquitous, and a great deal of attention was paid to the issue throughout society.

Then, the assisted suicide movement began arguing that some suicides were good. The corrosive effect of the movement, among other factors, has enervated the suicide prevention movement, to the point that when someone sent me a suicide threat on email several years ago, I couldn’t find a prevention center to help him in his area code!

And now, Suicide Prevention Week has come and almost gone, without making a sound. I realized last night that I wasn't entirely accurate when I said that suicide prevention groups and/or their representatives have been totally absent from this debate.

In June, 2010, a reporter for a San Francisco online news site managed to get reactions from two professionals connected to organizations that seek to prevent and reduce the number of suicides in the US. In that story, the reporter somehow managed to get Lanny Berman, president of the International Association of Suicide Prevention to condemn billboards being put up by FEN across the country that promote suicide:

“This is irresponsible and downright dangerous; it is the equivalent of handing a gun to someone who is suicidal,” wrote Lanny Berman, president of the International Association of Suicide Prevention, in an email. “This message, communicated to thousands of vulnerable individuals, suffering from psychic and or physical pain that is treatable, invites a tragic and final solution to problems that most often can be solved with proper evaluation and treatment.”

“This is irresponsible and downright dangerous; it is the equivalent of handing a gun to someone who is suicidal,” wrote Lanny Berman, president of the International Association of Suicide Prevention, in an email. “This message, communicated to thousands of vulnerable individuals, suffering from psychic and or physical pain that is treatable, invites a tragic and final solution to problems that most often can be solved with proper evaluation and treatment.”
Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/12bJV)“This is irresponsible and downright dangerous; it is the equivalent of handing a gun to someone who is suicidal,” wrote Lanny Berman, president of the International Association of Suicide Prevention, in an email. “This message, communicated to thousands of vulnerable individuals, suffering from psychic and or physical pain that is treatable, invites a tragic and final solution to problems that most often can be solved with proper evaluation and treatment.”
A Deputy Director of a San Francisco organization expressed similar sentiments, which you can read by checking the link above.

Don't be cheered by that, though. I was, briefly. To my knowledge, that was the first and last time Lanny Berman ever weighed in on anything assisted suicide proponents have done. And it's the only time in the last few years that any real criticism was voiced in the handful of instances they were included in a story, the message was more like this one, voiced by a psychologist who was - maybe still is - on the board of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. Here's a quote from here about the suicide promotion billboards from a previous post:

But Springer says she's not opposed to Final Exit's mission, just how they're delivering the message.

"I visited the website and it's populated by elderly folks who are at the end of a very long life and are in pain," she said. "That's a whole different issue to me."
What you just read was a suicide prevention professional throwing elderly people under the bus. But we already knew that.

What you just read was a suicide prevention professional throwing elderly people under the bus. But we already knew that.

Mostly, I want to break the silence of the suicide prevention organizations. But part of me is really concerned that when and if they do break their silence it will be to do what the Ms. Springer above did - throw old, ill and disabled people under the bus.

But if that happens, at least we'll know how little our lives are valued by the so-called mental health community. To me, knowledge is better than guessing. --Stephen Drake
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Thank you Stephen and Wesley for breaking the silence.

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