1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why can't it be acceptable to promise confidentiality?

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Richards, Feb 24, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Richards

    Richards Member

    I have been told that if someone discloses suicidal thoughts to you, that you should not promise to keep it confidential. I see why to an extent but what if some people just need to be able to talk to someone without risk of being turned in to a mental hospital or having a psychiatric record which can be detrimental to their future (life insurance, jobs that polygraph...etc).

    I think it might help people who are suicidal if they could ask for some confidentiality when disclosing it to a freind. Nobody in their right mind wants that on their record. It hurts ones chances at life insurance, jobs that require strong background checks or polygraphs..etc. By saying that you want to end you life you end up ruining it in some ways so people are afraid to speak up. Why is it so wrong to promise confidentiality? If people could get someone to agree to keep it a secret they might seek help rather than keeping it to themselves.
  2. seithkein

    seithkein Well-Known Member

    I absolutely agree with you. It's reasons like this why i would never tell my shrink that i'm having suicidal thoughts.
  3. SadPandaBear

    SadPandaBear Well-Known Member

  4. Rosenrot

    Rosenrot Forum Buddy

    You can't get satisfactory help from a therapist if you don't mention how you really feel.

    First thing I said to my therapist "Hi, I'm Andrew, and I wish to die."
  5. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    I totally agree, it would be so much easier if we could just get straight to the point and say we're suicidal, instead we have to pretend we're not:dry: Surely it would make more sense to be able to talk about it?
  6. xxicedragonxx

    xxicedragonxx Well-Known Member

    so many people commit suicide becuase they cant tell anyone. if you say anything, you usually end up in a mental hospital. and that scares the shit out of most people. i know that i cant say anything even when i want to... i refuse to go back there. and lies dont help... they just hurt more.
  7. Stranger1

    Stranger1 Forum Buddy & Antiquities Friend

    Professionals are bound by law to report such things. Thats why when ever I bring up suicide with my therapist she skirts around it and changes the subject. She doesn't ignore it she just doesn't talk about it. Usually by the time my hour is up she has made me feel better and I go about my day..
  8. ame solitaire

    ame solitaire Well-Known Member

    Before i became a "mad" person I was a social worker...So here is a bit of perspective from the other side...

    If someone says they are going to kill themselves,you are trained to take it seriously-ie they are going to end their life.Therefore you have a duty of protection.
    You arent trained to think "they are only saying it,they wont do it,so Ill ignore it in case I mess up their job/life insurance etc etc..."

    You have to deal with what is actually in front of you-not what may or may not happen in months/years to come.

    As a mother Id like to believe that if one of my teenagers told a professional they were going to kill themselves-that,that person would act to protect them?

    There are lots of resources(like here!)that are confidential...maybe stick to those if you dont want anyone to act on things you say...thats what I do.x
  9. soliloquise

    soliloquise Well-Known Member

    like you i was a mental health worker in my past life ;)

    when i first came here i was thinking with that hat on.. totally trying to help and took everyone seriously. i got burned... because several lied about it ( ie false attempts etc ) and there were many who did not mean it. i still cannot judge the difference well so until proved otherwise i believe people are serious when they say it. that of course is another issue but it is interesting you mention how we are trained to respond.

    face to face in a job situation is so different to on here..

    personally i don't see why people cannot talk about being suicidal.. i think the point of action comes when people say " i am going to do it "
  10. jameslyons

    jameslyons Well-Known Member

    I see it from both ends of the equation. On one hand it's really frightening and extremely frustrating when you try to logically explain to somebody with the power of locking you up in a crisis ward, the difference between thinking of ending your life and planning to end your life.

    There's two perspectives of talking about your depression in my view:

    1.) You (the patient) want to express yourself to vent and to allow another person to offer insight into you situation. Some empathy, advice, or just a hug. You want to enlighten people to your suffering.

    2.) The therapist hasn't an interest in why you're feeling one way - they write you off as a depressed person who may or may not need to be put away. The more you articulate why you're depressed the more they want to put you away. They want to know how many suicidal indexed behaviorisms you fall under.

    There's also two perspectives on being locked up:

    1.) You (the patient) see being put into a crisis ward as an insult to your dignity and confirmation of the worst fears in the world. You are a freak , you've been restrained from society. You aren't even fun like a criminal, you're just bat shit crazy. Your life is over - prepare to drool on yourself and get a lobotomy.

    2.) They (the hospital) You are at risk of harming yourself, and therefore in order to be safe it's best to keep you for a 12-36 hour observation. It's routine and multiple people go through these doors 24/7. It's not big deal, and you'll most likely be out of their hair in a moment.

    I've only been in the Crisis ward once. It was 3/4 days after a major cutting incident. Of course, the cuts were 3/4 days old and as anyone who self harms/ struggles with suicide knows the crisis is usually before you start doing damage. Not afterwards when your body is still stinging from the punishment you unleashed onto it.

    My family was very supportive n the manner you'd expect from people who don't know their ass from their elbow. They threw me into the ward without so much as a howdy-do. Though it was nice of them to drive up to my city to do it.

    I told the therapist that I didn't cut myself to kill myself, that I did it to mark myself. That it was a sign of self harm, not even a suicidal gesture. He wanted to commit me. And I seeing the unfair position I was in. Chose a voluntary entrance, as opposed to a mandatory.

    Check 1: By choosing a voluntary in an ultimatum situation I could later on show signs of competency for an early discharge.

    I was terrified of the hospital and really pissed off at the rude staff who treated me, i felt, like a criminal. They bark instructions at you as though you've been arrested ...very frustrating.

    And that's all the psychiatric ward is -frustrating. Imagine being in Kindergarten. That is the crisis ward. You sit in chairs and do nothing. for about 8 hours. then you go to bed. get up, talk with the psychologist and then are let home.

    Losing your ability to move about on your own is really goddamn frustrating. But it's not frightening. It's just like being in jail. An unpleasant unhelpful experience, mostly reserved for people who literally can not take care of themselves. I think most psychiatric hospitals are sick and tired of dealing with depressive and suicidal people. Just like the Emergency rooms.

    So to get out of a hospital detention:

    1. Bother the staff with an evening shower, then a morning shower
    2. Volunteer to enter if it looks like they're getting the straight jacket ready
    3. Be honest with the evaluating counselor, but say whatever got you in there was a passing feeling and that you're interested in pursuing avenues of assistance.

    Should people remain confidential about suicidal discussions?

    I don't know. I think people shouldn't be afraid of talking about it, but unless you're talking to a similar sufferer then there's a good chance that person won't understand teh difference between a general discussion and a real attempt.

    People, don't have the right to kill themselves though, because it is almost always a symptom of mental unrest. Unless, for the very small percentages most akin to euthanasia.

    bit of a rant. Sorry :)
  11. ame solitaire

    ame solitaire Well-Known Member

    Exactly.when i joined here-in a total mess-I almost had a stroke when I read the posts of all the people who were wanting to kill themselves that night.:eek:hmy:

    Someone who was feeling that way PMd me.The social worker in me kicked in and I immediately felt responsible for keeping them safe...which although it distracted me from my own pain-wasnt a good thing.

    Im not super human(in fact barely human:wink: a lot of the time)and I cant be responsible for anyone elses safety-I understand that.

    I barely slept that night-thinking about the person and if they were ok/alive:sad:

    It made me aware of the part of me that has always wanted to "save" others(and in doing so save myself I guess).

    Ultimately we are all responsible for our own decisions-I have to accept that.
    Thanks for joining this discussion-it has really helped me to say/feel/focus.x
  12. mdmefontaine

    mdmefontaine Antiquities Friend

    ..this is such an interesting topic. i am reminded, daily, of the reason i am here at s.f. - because here i am heard, and accepted. i am not shunned b/c of my feelings, good or bad, and i know if i am honest here, a squad car won't pull up in front of my house to arrest me for my own '''protection'''.

    i have two people in real life, that i can tell up front, ""i am not sure i'll make it in the long run, but i'm trying"" so i guess i am lucky. they have promised to not intervene, or breach the confidentiality. but. i feel GUILTY when i confide this to them - because they then worry, and start to feel pain. i feel like i hurt them - when i say i am near the edge.

    so today i am grateful for the support and the confidentiality - at s.f.
    ABSOLUTELY being able to talk about it fully and still be accepted.....allows me to continue to live. NOT being able to talk about it - i think i'd already be gone.
  13. ame solitaire

    ame solitaire Well-Known Member

  14. worlds edge

    worlds edge Well-Known Member

    If the friend keeps it secret and then the person with the suicidal ideation does in fact go through with it, what then? How is the friend likely to feel?

    And quite frankly I'm a bit irritated the way your post seems to imply that declarations of suicidal intent are mostly frivolous in nature and will never be acted upon. Perhaps this is largely true, (I honestly don't know) but you seem to be buying into the old myth that people who talk about suicide never actually do it. And that is simply untrue in every case, or even in a whole lot of cases.

    Beyond that, how would this work in terms of extracting the promise of confidentiality from the friend? Would it work like this....

    Me: "I have something to tell you, but you can't tell anyone."

    Friend: "Oh, okay, what?"

    Me: "I'm going to kill myself. I'm fed up with the world, with life and with everything."

    Friend: "Umm, I'm calling the cops."

    Me: "Nope, you can't. You said you wouldn't. You promised."

    Then what? Seriously, how is that dialog supposed to resolve itself? Or how would it work? As in, how do you go about extracting such a promise?
  15. ame solitaire

    ame solitaire Well-Known Member

    Good questions.:smile:
  16. jojolovesspurs

    jojolovesspurs New Member

    the last couple of weeks i have been really suicidal and i have told my doctor and teacher, they havent told my parents because i pleaded with them not to, and it helps because i know if i do anything they will get into so much trouble so it sort of gives me somthing to live for just the fact that i know they wont get into trouble.
  17. Richards

    Richards Member

    I have never suggested or beleived that suicidal declarations are frivulous nor have I ever felt or said that they will never be acted upon. Frankly I have no idea where it is in my post that you go that idea. My whole point was that people who know they are suicidal may want help because they are afraid that without someone to talk to they may take that final step. Many people who have committed suicide might not have if they could have come forward and spoke to someone.

    Could you perhaps quote specifically the part of my message that irritated you by saying/implying that suicidal declarations are "frivulous" or "will never be acted upon" as you put it?
  18. Richards

    Richards Member

    I'm not suggesting that you should think they won't do it. If I beleived that then I wouldn't be worried about alowing them the outlet to speak without being compromised. Some people who are teetering on the edge are there because their lives or careers are in shambles. They feel that there is no hope for their future and that is why they want to die. Getting a psychiatric record for suicidal thoughts, will exacerbate the very problem that led to them being suicidal. What if the person has family and needs to be sure they are covered in the event that person dies. What if being locked away for mental illness causes the breakdown of an already shaky marriage? What if the stigma destroys their reputation at work?

    A person is struggling with strong suicidal urges due to career, financial and mariage problems. He discloses his feelings to someone and gets locked up. As a result he knows that when he gets out he is divorced, penniless and not likely to find a job unless he can find a crafty way to explain his absence from the work force during an interview.

    There should be some way for a person who wants to make a last ditch attempt at not dying to do so without loosing the few things that are marginally keeping him alive.
  19. Epical Taylz

    Epical Taylz Well-Known Member

    i think that we all need one friend, at least, to tell things to without fear of someone finding out about it.

    being fifteen, i think that i need that one person in my life to tell things to in person just because i like ranting to people on the phone, in person, etc.

    i used to tell my friend Dominic things that i was thinking, but he told his mom and his mom told the school and i was put in therapy where she wouldnt talk about why i cut, wanna die, etc.

    I think that, being a teenager, things shouldnt be taken as seriously. i mean i have a lot of friends who have their bad days and are just like "i wanna shoot myself" and i mean it's not like theyre really going to...

    idk, i just like this site cause i can be real :D

    and when im in therapy i try saying my real feelings but i stop myself..
  20. Richards

    Richards Member

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.