Is there a topic ban on threads about suicide?

This thread about suicide notes was closed with this mod note:

Suicide, even if it’s just ideation or some sort of literary thing, is well beyond the scope of the SDMB. This is closed.

Does this mean suicide should not be a topic for discussion on the SDMB? That doesn’t seem healthy, and may be counterproductive. It is certainly a sensitive topic, but i don’t think banning it entirely does anything to make the board safer.

What would your suicide note be? That’s the extent of what you consider to be nuanced discussion of the subject? That’s a really fucked up premise, I’m glad it’s closed and for the record I absolutely DO have more standing than just about anyone on the subject on account of I actually did kill myself once and had to be resuscitated. Which I’ve discussed at length many times on this very board. So your premise is flawed, your objection is noted and I’d suggest you only handle that stirring stick by one end because the rest of it’s covered in shit.

It wasn’t my thread. I just wanted guidance on suicide as a topic. The note sounded like a complete ban.

Well, IANAM but a few things probably fall afoul of them -

  1. Threats, even to self, are generally a no-no, even in a ‘joking’ manner.

  2. Liability, as the SDMB is not equipped to evaluate such things, and may be seen as responsible for not taking precautions to protect you from yourself.

  3. Suicide is considered a crime in many (most?) jurisdictions, and the board bans discussion of illegal activities. Mostly likely for reason (2) above.

I believe I’ve seen various threads about assisted suicide in general terms, but the thread in question was pretty specific to ‘you’, so probably far to close to all of the above risks. It’s a nuanced issue, and I’d probably PM a mod to try to get an idea of the edges of the discussion before starting a thread on the subject.

I don’t think we should allow encouragement of suicide.

Within memory we had a discussion on the topic of legalizing suicide,


We have always closed threads where someone threatens suicide or posts something encouraging suicide. Moderators are not trained to handle this type of thing, and as much as some people want to help, if you aren’t trained to handle it you could easily do more harm than good. It’s also possible that someone threatening suicide or having suicidal thoughts posts about it, and then someone else encourages them because they are enamored with the topic or have some other strange reason for wanting to encourage it. Or maybe they are just an a-hole and want to see if the person will go through with it. There are all kinds of ways that things can go bad.

Someone who is suicidal or is having thoughts about suicide needs more help than they can get from an internet message board. As much as we would like to help, the best that we can do is point you towards resources that can help.

And yes there are legal liability issues. I’m not a lawyer and moderators are not trained for legal liability (or anything legal for that matter), and since we have no idea where the legal lines are, we are going to steer very far away from any potential issue.

Do not post any “how to” type info. We definitely do not want the SDMB to become the place to go if you want to know methods of self-harm.

Do not post anything that encourages suicide. “How do I write a good suicide note” clearly falls under this category.

That said, the topic is not completely banned. As @Max_S pointed out, we do allow debates over the legalization of suicide and we allow discussions about the legality of things like assisted suicide. You can also ask factual questions about what current laws are.