There are websites that welcome suicide. Sure, they say they’re “pro-choice” when it comes to suicide, but, really, they’re welcoming the choice of suicide. And I think that when a site is welcoming of suicide, it is encouraging of suicide as well. When everyone on a site is suicidal and pressing forward towards suicide, it’s hard not to see it as a viable option, especially if you’re depressed or in distress already. I’m not sure I have an answer to the existence of pro-suicide sites, but I do have some information for their visitors.
What’s on a Website that Welcomes Suicide?
I guess in short, if I won’t let you discuss it here, there’s a good chance people are discussing it there.
Websites that welcome suicide typically offer information about suicide, including suicide methods. They also tend to have message boards where people can talk about their suicidal desires and ask for advice on how to commit suicide. For example, if someone is looking for a specific drug to facilitate their suicide, they might ask others where they can get it on a pro-suicide site message board.
Typically, people aren’t goading others to suicide, but they’re certainly very supportive of the choice. Some people actually agree to follow through with suicide together with someone else from one of these websites — they make a suicide pact.
If you have been in the comment section of my website, you might have noticed that I don’t allow that type of content. For example, I have a strict no-suicide-means rule. Talking about suicide is okay, and even important, but some things need to be left out of the conversation.
Why Would a Website Welcome Suicide?
I’m sure website owners have various motivations, but most, I think, are genuinely trying to help people. In this case, people see “help” in a different way than I do. These people think that aiding someone in their quest to die by suicide is help. For example, a person might want to facilitate a “painless” suicide if that’s what another person wants.
Also, there is a notion that these places support “free speech.” As I said, there are things about suicide that you can’t post here and some people think that is wrong. I’m a big proponent of free speech but I can’t get behind speech that could kill people. It’s like yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre; to me, that’s where free speech needs to be moderated.
Finally, if you’ve been suicidal, you know how alone you can feel. A site that welcomes suicidality welcomes people in that state and it welcomes them to say and do whatever they want. As I said, I don’t do this. People who are suicidal post here all the time, but I don’t allow them to simply post whatever they want.
Why Talk About Pro-Suicide Websites?
I know that some people would argue that giving any e-ink to these kinds of websites is wrong. But I disagree. Whether I talk about these websites or not, they will always exist and people who are looking can easily find them. And like with many mental illness topics, it’s best faced head-on. You cannot protect yourself or anyone else from a danger that you don’t know exists.
My own rules about pro-suicide sites include:
- Don’t go there. Even if you’re curious, believe me, that is not the place to take your curiosity. Those sites are harmful and dangerous and can start to make suicide seem like a reasonable option even if you weren’t thinking about it before you went there.
- Encourage people to talk about suicide safely. Don’t tell people not to talk about suicide. The more suicide remains in darkness, the more it will thrive. Encourage people to talk about their suicidal feelings openly and honestly in safe places, like here, or with safe people like with a suicide hotline operator or a loved one.
- Learn how to talk about suicide safely. I realize that if you’re acutely suicidal, now might not be the right time to learn, but if you have the mental space to do it, I recommend checking out the rules for talking about suicide.
- Report websites that welcome suicide (if appropriate). A pro-suicide site on someone’s own domain, servers, etc., is not generally under any mandate to not be pro-suicide. If, however, the site is on WordPress or it is from an account on Facebook, etc., then you can report it and have it removed. Those places have usage agreements that people must adhere to.
- Talk about pro-suicide material that concerns you. Whether you sought out the material or not, it’s okay to talk about seeing pro-suicide material. When something distresses you, it’s worth discussing it to get it out of your brain and feel better.
- Remember, the pain won’t always be this way. If you see a suicide-welcoming website because you’re suicidal, remember, change is constant and so is change in pain. I survived a suicide attempt and it was for the better.
And finally, let’s not forget: don’t go to those sites. Yes, I said that one, but I’m saying it again because I do believe it’s really important. These suicide-welcoming sites can kill you. They can induce a death that would have not otherwise occurred. I’m not kidding. I experienced these feelings personally. I saw a website like this when I wasn’t suicidal and I left the site feeling like suicide was a good option for me. Don’t do this to yourself.
My view on suicide is simple: life changes and in that change, life can get better. The pain, however severe, will not last forever. Yes, working through pain is hard. Yes, life changes can be hard to make. But yes, it’s worth it.
If you’re suicidal or in distress, to get help see my get help page here.
For more posts on suicide, please see here.
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