Suicide prevention: Watch out for suicidal jokes-it can lead to suicide
A poem about suicidal thoughts.
Psst can you hear me?
My car is in gear.
I want to press the gas pedal into that tree over there.
For a second everything might stop.
Maybe it won’t hurt anymore.
Then, I remember if everything stops, I won’t hear your laugh anymore.
Your laugh makes me laugh.
I’m laughing writing this just thinking of you laugh.
I wouldn’t have this moment or any moment if it just stopped.
A permanent solution to a temporary problem never works. That’s what the psychology books tell me anyway.
Just push forward.
Think of the person who makes you giggle.
Or a sip of white chocolate mocha.
The excitement for a new episode of The Witcher.
Anything really if it just makes you smile.
List all your joys one-by-one.
I am listing my joys now too.
Because when I look in the mirror, I remember it is all worth it.
All the thorns and all the roses are worth it.
Suicidal thoughts and ideation (Getting personal)
Dark, graphic, thoughts.
Sometimes I look at random things and wonder what they would look like wrapped around my neck. A curtain. A manual fan. Actually, I wrote one poem about this anonymously on a writing platform.
My best received writing was a suicide letter, which makes me worried and upset. I wrote a letter, but never attempted suicide. Stupidly, I reasoned it is only my dark imagination, so it’s ok.
I explore a lot of really dark poetry and thoughts. However, I choose not to share them, especially on social media.
Not because I think words need to be hidden. Instead, because I know how triggering posts can be.
I can never live with the conscious of hurting someone, especially a young someone.
Talk about suicide
So, instead I share my thoughts to show you are not alone. I never tried to commit suicide.
However, I would be lying if I said suicidal thoughts don’t run through my head. Some may be shocked to hear this because I am always smiling.
It pains me to think people so young hurt themselves. Any loss is horrible, but a young loss is earth shattering. I can only think of all the potential, life, heart ache, and joy they had to feel.
Suicide prevention is important. There are hotlines available. All we can do is share them. Then, look out for our friends and family members.
Unfortunately, most people feel uncomfortable talking about suicide. I know I am, and I studied psychology.
Therefore, we need to focus on suicide prevention. We need to keep our eyes open and watch out for the signs.
Suicidal jokes can mean actual suicide 😭
Do you have a friend who always jokes about suicide? Jokes can suggest suicidal thoughts or ideations. Do you know the meme that says, “Watch out for your strong friend”? Indeed, look out for them. But also watch out for your friend who jokes about suicide.
That is not to say, that people cannot have dark humor. Not everyone who jokes about suicide wants to commit suicide.
However, mentioning suicide is a marker of pre-suicidal behavior. By recognizing symptoms of depression and listening in for suicidal thoughts, we can help spot a problem before it happens.
A closer look at interviews with suicide-bereaved families
Researchers suggest that a lot of people communicate their suicidal ideas to friends and family members before attempting suicide.
Communication can come in many forms, including humor. In a 2012 study, researchers interviewed the family and friends of 14 people who unfortunately committed suicide. All suicide victims made verbal references to suicide.
Strikingly, before dying, one person said he wanted to commit suicide with a smile on his face. He made a joke of it. The bereaved interviewee noted that there was no emotion behind his friend’s statement. To clarify, a bereaved person is a family member or friend of someone who died.
This is why we need to really stop and listen for any talk of suicide, even a joke.
Before I continue writing, I just want to reiterate it is NOT anybody’s fault suicide happens. Family members and friends should not feel guilty. Some people seem happy before attempting suicide.
However, if we just listen to those nearest and dearest to us, we might stop a suicide before it happens.
If someone makes a suicidal joke, simply, talk to them, and ask them if they are doing okay. Stay checking up on them.
It is a possibility that they are just joking. Some people have dark humor. 🙋🏻♀️I am guilty of dark and twisted humor.
Don’t get angry : This is not the time for a speech about sensitivity 🥺
At the same time, do not get angry with someone who says, ” I want to commit suicide”, as a joke. Likewise, do not respond with, “Stop Joking”. Look, in this case, the best-case scenario is them being insensitive about others’ feelings.
This is not the time to give a speech about sensitivity and how other people in the world have it worse. Avoid talk like: “Don’t joke about suicide”. They might have a real issue.
If you just get mad, they will not talk to you about it again. I know, I know. The emotions are too wild. Not everyone can deal.
Nobody is expecting you to be a therapist. If you feel like someone is having a genuine problem, seek out someone who can help.
Maybe their parent, sibling, or an authority figure (if you are an adolescent).
Just listening is an underrated skill. Sometimes you do not really have to say anything, just show you care. The key behind counselling is attentive listening. We can all do that in our everyday life.
Joking and laughing is good
Do not be afraid to laugh though. Laughter is good for your health including, regulating brain waves, cardiovascular activity, and reducing pain perception. Additionally, humor can help adolescent’s problem-solve.
Another study suggests that the way people express humor can influence suicidal thoughts. In other words when we are depressed, self-deprecating jokes can be linked to suicidal thoughts.
That is not to say that every joke means something bad is going to happen. Sometimes, a joke is just a joke. However, for people who are feeling a depressive emotion- dark humor can be indicative of something else.
Be careful of the images you share about suicide
Most of the time, professionals are unable to prevent suicide because well, suicide is often pre-meditated. Suicide is the result of a building block of thoughts, surfacing over months or years.
Sharing graphic suicide images can be dangerous because pictures can tempt others. Push them to do it. It is a compulsion of the mind.
Some people feel that they want to succeed at suicide. If they fail or do not go through with it, they feel like a failure.
They see suicide stories portrayed in popular media campaigns. Sadly, some people think, maybe I can have attention and purpose after leaving this world. The media attention, in my opinion, is doing more harm.
Let’s stop posting triggering information and glamorizing suicide. Instead, let us glamorize surviving a suicide event and continuing to live.
Group suicide: Tell-tale signs on social media
Chatrooms even exist for mass suicides. A network of people feel they have a shared goal, a sense of community, being suicide. Community can be twisted in a horrible way.
Too many times, the signs of suicide are sprinkled across social media. With “hidden” pro self-harm and suicide hashtags. Disgustingly, some people convince and encourage others to commit suicide.
Does social media have a responsibility to stop harmful content?
Yes and no. Yes, pro-suicide posts need to be banned. That is social media executives’ responsibility.
On the other hand, I do not believe it is Facebook or Instagram’s responsibility to control what people say.
It is dangerous when we start blaming a platform for people’s actions.
Nonetheless, it is the morally correct thing to stay on the lookout. Individuals also need to watch out for the youth on social media.
Content creators are not responsible for triggering others. But maybe a trigger warning is needed, especially with content as sensitive as suicide.
In conclusion, we need to all just watch out for one another. Especially for the people we love. By being less judgmental and maintaining calm reactions, people will feel comfortable talking to us.
If you enjoy psychology related content check out this article about narcism.
Stay listening. And if nobody is listening to you, I will always listen. Shoot me a message 😊