You might not all agree. Just pouring out my thoughts here.
  1. I've been looking for any service or charity that offers teaching and employment hunting support for prisoners and ex-cons
  2. I finally found one that was taking volunteers.
  3. I was really excited. I thought it would be such an amazing learning experience and opportunity to really contribute something to my community.
  4. I went for the intro session today. I found out that the charity also provides a crisis line for anyone who needs someone to talk to. About anything. They needed help with this more than anything so this was where the majority of my volunteer time would have to go. I was happy to get involved initially..
  5. Until they started talking about suicide
  6. About how if someone wants to commit suicide it is their right and who are we to decide they shouldn't ? We don't know what they're going through. If they just need someone to listen while they do it then that's what they'll do.
  7. My stomach started to turn.
  8. This was all so wrong
  9. It wasn't a fear death. I witness death almost every day. People have died in my hands. It's never easy but I can cope with it.
    But unnatural, preventable, deliberate death, I can't sit by and watch.
  10. I spend so much of my time talking patients out of suicide, offering support and treatment and trying to get different social services involved to make their life worth living
    And yes, sometimes I take away their autonomy and admit them against their will if I believe they lack mental capacity and are at risk of serious harm. I don't treat them against their will but I'll admit them, for their safety.
  11. "But there's nothing you can do. How do you even know they're giving you a real name."
  12. Fuck that. There is SO something I can do. Even if all I have to work with is a fake name. What could be worth ending your life for? What is there that we can't help with? Is it money? A bad environment? A haunting past? A traumatic event?
    Can you honestly think of anything worthy of suicide?
  13. To say there's nothing we can do is giving up as a society. The world is a terrible place, I know. I absolutely sympathize with suicidal people. I believe their pain and that they see no other way out. It hurts my heart. But I believe there IS a way out. I believe all we have is each other and if I can't help someone through their pain..
    Then I don't have anything to live for either
  14. Isn't that what mental health is about?
  15. It's not enough to remove the stigma. It's not enough to listen without judging. The goal of starting an open, judgement free conversation going about mental health is to ultimately remove DANGER.
  16. I then challenged the charity people further
  17. "What if someone says they're going to harm someone else ?"
  18. "A specific person or a random person?"
  19. "Why does it matter? Anyone. What if I believe they are a real risk of harm to another person"
  20. "There's nothing you can do. And they probably wouldn't go through with it if they're telling you about it."
  21. "Yeah. Probably not. But the possibility is there."
  22. "There's nothing you can do."
  23. "What if they want to harm a child?"
  24. "We can listen and explore their emotions. But we don't interfere."
  25. My blood was boiling. It was all so wrong. I can be there for someone and also protect them and others, and so can you.
  26. I understand confidentiality. My whole day is governed by confidentiality. Medicine doesn't work without it. There is nothing you can't tell me as your doctor that I won't jump through hoops to keep safe.
    My only priority is health and safety.
  27. Unless I believe there is serious risk of harm to you or someone else. Real risk, not idle threats.
    And we are very thorough in differentiating between the two.
  28. I am all for progress in society for acceptance and honouring free will. And I kind of understand the concept here is to provide a crisis line, free of judgement or risk of exposure.
  29. But if we're not really helping, if we are JUST listening. What's the point?
  30. Most patients I've helped save from suicide has been thankful they didn't succeed with it. Maybe not right away, but they usually do. And the ones who don't are usually really unwell. The really vulnerable ones. The ones who need our help the most.
    Is it not their human right to be protected, even when their mental illness puts them at risk?
  31. I see suicide due to mental illness similar to death from cancer. It's the end stage of that disease. And I will put equal effort to save both.
  32. And I believe that is my duty as a human, not just as a doctor.
  33. Needless to say, I didn't join the charity. I said where I stood on the subject, was met with aggressive resistance and left.
  34. What's happening to the world? Have we really become so complacent?
  35. We need each other.
  36. Please don't ever let someone convince you there's nothing you can do. There is always something. Find it.