Suicide threats or cries for help on Facebook status updates — what is the best way to respond?

What is the best way to deal with suicidal trans people on social media?

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — Social media (primarily FB) trans friends making suicide threats has me highly concerned — there were three such threats on my newsfeed on Thursday alone. Generally I’ll see one or two a week. The approaching holiday season likely explains the uptick. (As most everyone here knows, trans people have a higher suicide rate than the rest of society.)

Generally I respond only to those that I’ve corresponded with in the past. I don’t feel qualified to know the difference between threats and cries for attention and feel at a loss how to help. Little words of encouragement sometimes trigger an outburst and a  downward spiral.

I watched someone try to help someone who was suicidal tonight, but the conversation ended with: “I am very ill now, maybe close to death, hope so, I do not feel very goos, very dizyy. and confused . . .”

While it is not possible to save everyone, my question to you is this: How do YOU respond?

For professionals: How should we respond?

Is there a nationwide (or international) trans suicide number or contact that is known to be effective dealing with trans people making suicide threats on social media?

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5 replies

  1. and to blend this with another “Hot Button Issue” on FB right now. Many people don’t see the fuss about ABC’s new show “Work It”. I was told to “Get over it, Bitch”, and that it was a light hearted comedy. No, a young Trans person seeing that might think, “is that what my future will be?” and get suicidal. Hateful, ignorant portrayals in the Media have the same effect on the impressionable as bullying. I am definitely not equiped to talk down a suicide. Might I suggest Trevor Project? I don’t know that they are not Trans friendly. My response, my role is to educate and publicise where the hate comes from to lessen the pressure on the impressionable and advocate for housing and employment to make life easier for our community so that people DONT give up hope!

  2. Thanks for your comments Liz!
    ———–

    From Rik Fire on facebook . . .

    http://www.facebook.com/rikfire

    If I am on FB, which is quite often, I am available for support/chat. I also provide therapy sessions via Skype. On my professional profile on http://www.psychologytoday.com, an e-mail can be sent to my professional e-mail address & the site offers a feature in which a potential client can call the number listed & it is dispatched to my office line, which reaches me 24/7.
    Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist
    http://www.psychologytoday.com

    Rik Fire Best way to search the site is via zip code: 18974

  3. As someone who has recently made such posts, I can say that even I don’t really know what I was expecting by making them. The feeling is certainly real, and stronger than it has ever been, but I doubt anyone could help at all with the issues causing it. I don’t know what is going to happen, but I guess I wouldn’t have made those posts if there wasn’t a part of me that wants to survive. If it weren’t for the people responding to them, I’d probably be dead already (though whether or not that’s a good thing I can’t really say. I still very much want to die right now and if there were an easy way out, I’d take it in an instant).

  4. I guess my point is that sometimes even just talking with the person and letting them know that there are people out there who actually care can help a lot. Maybe not with the issues they are dealing with, but it can at least help to keep them from acting on those suicidal thoughts.

  5. At the age of sixteen I survived two suicide attempts. Ovbviously it wasn’t my time to go. Today at 61 I am so grateful to be here. During my life it wasn’t always easy but I have survived and am flourishing in my career, my advocacy work, as a Transgender Rights Leader, an author/actress and basically a loving, generous person who has found great and lasting friendships, love and respect in spite of being a trans woman. I have now lived in my female role for 43 years and it’s been quite a journey and today I look forward to the sun rising and setting as I live my life authentically. At 16 and for many years after that I had no idea where my life would lead me and all I can say is that neither do you. You have no idea of the future and all the good that can come into your life sometimes just down the road a bit. I am so glad that I failed both times. That is the only failure I am grateful for………………………………………

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