Guilt Is Not a Suicide Prevention Strategy

AFSP - create a world without suicide - cartoon of people joining arms
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

A blogger I knew died by suicide yesterday. She scheduled a blog post and a Twitter share of the post to go live after the fact. One of the things mentioned in her post was that her plan was to be struck by a train.

Today I was looking at the Twitter comments in response to her tweet, and there were a number of people who were essentially trying to guilt-trip her into not going through with it because it would traumatize the train driver.

I call bullshit on the guilt-tripping and the whole suicide-as-selfish perspective. It doesn’t help people in any way, shape, or form. Saying crap like that places the importance of everyone else ahead of the person who’s feeling suicidal. And how is that doing anyone any good?

And I don’t want to dignify this Tweet with a response; instead, I’ll call bullshit on this asshat’s comment here:

“I sincerely hope you didn’t jump in front of a train and then in all likelihood cause the person driving said train to suffer from lifelong Mental Health issues, that is extremely selfish and cruel considering you know how awful it is to live with.”

There are just no words.

RIP Becca.

Becca was transgender, and one of the massive stressors in her life was being frequently misgendered by others. This post on sex and gender can help to clarify some of the terminology that relates to gender identity.

transgender pride flag
Straight talk on suicide - graphics of phoenix and semicolon

The Straight Talk on Suicide page has crisis and safety planning resources, along with info on suicide-related topics from the perspective of someone who’s been there.

72 thoughts on “Guilt Is Not a Suicide Prevention Strategy”

  1. I am sorry another member of our human family was lost due to what I can only imagine was overwhelming pain and exhaustion.

    This is so sad. It’s a subject that frightens or disturbs many people. In their desperate reaction, they may say very unhelpful things.

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your friend.

    I don’t think you can guilt trip someone out of being suicidal, and I don’t think people who have never been suicidal can really understand it.

  3. I’m very sorry for your loss, Ashley, and for Becca’s loss of the rest of her life. It’s such a waste of opportunity. I have also lost friend to suicide. It’s so true that people can be trying to be helpful, but approaching it the wrong way. People who feel suicidal don’t need further guilt put on them.

  4. This is so heartbreaking…and so sad 😞 💔💔 I just don’t understand why some people can be so cruel…it’s devastating to live with a mental illness let alone, trying to piece your life together, let alone feeling all the’s just horrible..they don’t care enough to think of the impact it can have on the girl’s family..either that’s someone’s daughter, granddaughter, or could be a sister, niece, this world is so cruel sometimes..even though I didn’t know this girl…I’m so sorry, my love..R.I.P…😢. sending prayers 🙏🏻

  5. That’s so insensitive! People have to start to understand that reasons for not killing oneself do not necessarily make those reasons protective factors against suicide. I’m sorry for your loss.

  6. This is painfully sad. I’m so sorry for what Becca had suffered through, leading up to her suicide 🌹And sorry of course for those in her life who have a Becca-shaped hole in their hearts. I’m not sorry for that fucktard who can live with, hopefully, the guilt of being a fucktard. Shaming and guilting around those considering or committing suicide is not okay. Very well said, Ashley.xx

  7. So very sorry Ashley.

    I think people struggle to understand mental health difficulties and they behave in the only way they know how. It’s a more severe form of the ‘pull your socks up’ and ‘snap out of it’ mentality. It’s changing but only slowly. Xx

  8. I’m so sorry that you lost your friend.

    I’m so sad that people are driven to take such dramatic actions. This is not human. This shouldn’t be needed. I mean that, when this person didn’t see a way in this life, she should have to have other options to leave the problems, the struggles and the sorrow.

    It is so sad for her and for the people who loved her. It is sad for everybody. People speaking to ‘protect’ the train driver are ignorant (imo), we don’t need to judge. It is not our place. I didn’t know the lady as I don’t know the train driver or other people involved. Who know they can be more understanding that the author of the tweet.

  9. Losing someone this way is I believe especially hard, knowing that this person felt they had no other option. I am sorry for the loss of your friend!
    I think this is why we need emotions and mental health into the educations system. To many of us, this seems like common sense, but some people just don’t understand that comments like that is the opposite of helpful.
    I hope she found peace, and that her family and loved ones find support after this loss!

  10. Becca wrote on several occasions about how if there had been any true help available – in *three* countries at least that I remember from her posts where she came into contact with mental health “services” and fell through gaping holes in the system – she would have accepted it. She wrote a very raw and honest blog about loneliness and marginalization. I am beyond infuriated – but not surprised – that ignorant people who likely never bothered to read how hard she *did* try showed their own hatefulness with such posts. May she rest in peace and be honored on the Wall of Remembrance. May those who didn’t realize the impact of their words learn from posts like yours that if they *really* want to help, they should work to improve the lives of those with intersectional identities and trauma from how they have been treated as a result of them. And may anyone who knew the impact of their words and chose to say them to someone hurting anyway just get f*cked. I’m so sorry to hear this.

    1. I think people really need to consider their own privilege when passing judgment on people who are marginalized for a variety of reasons. Maybe if people were kinder life wouldn’t be quite so hard for people who are struggling,

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