So how easy is it to get locked away for talking about suicide?

So someone who wishes me grief overhears one of those deeply profound party conversations where everyone is debating which would be the most painless method to commit suicide, you of course argue vigorously for your choice.

They call the police and say you were thinking about suicide, assuming you were honest that yes you were thinking about a hypothetical situation involving suicide, but not a desire to do so.

So what are the chances of involuntary committment in these circumstances?

I’m not a physician, nor am I your lawyer or physician. That being said - neither cops, physicians, nor judges are idiots. Generally speaking, no one will put you on a psych hold unless they’ve good reason to believe you’re an immediate threat to yourself or others. “Someday, I may decide to kill myself” won’t do it. “I’m going home to eat my revolver,” on the other hand, probably will.

I’ve been involved in therapy groups where the facilitator was supposed to remind everyone that he or she was a mandated reporter. The warning always stipulated that they were required to report anyone discussing harming themselves or others if the discussion included a “plan.”

As a cop I usually let the screener from the loony bin make the decision. He would either talk to you on the phone or come out. If you explain the situation in a less than crazy manner you’ll be fine.

“But Your Honor, it’s an excellent source of dietary iron…”

There was the time I was put on an ostensible 96-hour hold; but I was seriously acting out at the time. Then due to some confused bureaucracy, I was booted out the third day in favor of outpatient care.

Funny thing, by the time the cops got me, I had already gone down to the bridge to jump, and realized I wasn’t going to. I decided to use the time in hospital to try to deal with my psychological stuff, because I was desperate. Then they kicked me out early, and billed me.

Apparently I had to have a voluntary admit in a different hospital because the hospital I was taken to by police was full, so the second hospital thought I was just wasting time? I don’t know.

Apparently not a serious threat to others after all, yay?

ETA: Sorry, TMI.

In your case, it really depends on the reporting person. You should be OK, but who knows? Can they bilk your insurer for a hospital stay at $3000/day?

Never tell a mandatory reporter about suicide. If they report it, it will be taken seriously even if you weren’t. But after that the authorities need more than some hearsay to act. Even if you are detained, which usually means be taken to a medical facility, a positive statement that you will not commit suicide usually stops them from taking further action. However, if you’re found with drugs on you, or a weapon, or other indications that you are actually suicidal, they’ll slow walk the process until someone like a doctor makes a decision to release you or have you committed. Sadly I’ve known some overly dramatic and senseless people, and have seen the process applied.

Cite, please.

Unbelievably bad advice, unless you expressly added unless you are thinking about it, not just joking about it.

In the past I’ve discussed self-destructive behavior that falls into a pattern of what some have called “subtle suicide” with two separate people, one my actual therapist, the other my sister, both of whom are mandated reporters. We talked about my ambivalence and hopelessness about my future, and why I behaved as I did despite knowing that if I continued to behave the way I was, the eventual result would likely be fatal.

Since the discussions did not involve my expressing any imminent intent to harm myself–and they ascertained this through several pertinent questions–I was able to discuss my situation without suddenly being interrupted by the door flinging open and me being thrown on the floor by a SWAT-like team of white-coats.

Not that this is what happened even if they had reported me. I would’ve been taken to be evaluated and observed properly by professionals. If you are thinking about suicide with any degree of seriousness, then yes, you absolutely should discuss it with a mandated reporter. Because you need help, and it’s their job to ensure you get some.

Whoa, good catch. Yes, I meant if you are not serious. If you are actually considering suicide go see a doctor or counselor immediately.

I think the context made it clear he meant don’t go up and talk to them about suicide hypotheticals unless you actually are suicidal.

I was talking about crazy bullshit hypotheticals like what would be the most or least pleasant way to go. Clearly that it is a hypothetical such as if you were Hitler in 1942 how would you conquer the world? Bullshit basically.

I’ve always wondered what would happen if I answered the question have you thought about suicide in the affirmative I mean obviously I’ve thought about it just like I’ve thought about what it must feel like to have no legs or what it feels like to be tortured with medieval anal pear.:eek:

That doesn’t mean I want to commit suicide.

They don’t ask you “have you ever thought about suicide” and then stop. More likely they would ask you, “Have you been thinking about suicide?” (putting it more in a current framework), and if you said “Yes” without elaborating – which btw, would be hilariously dumb but okay – they would usually continue with “To what degree have these thoughts occupied your mind? Have they increased lately? Have you gotten to the point where you have made any plans?” (Note that “made any plans” does not mean "considered how you’d commit suicide hypothetically.)

Basically the person answering the questions would have to be obtuse not to add “Oh I was just pondering it as a hypothetical, like I consider getting sodomized by fruit. Just like everyone does, y’know.”

Of course then you’re gonna be subjected to a whole 'nother series of questions…

Unless you are stone cold rational, right? I have a friend who will probably commit suicide at some point. We have discussed the various nuances. He has multiple physical problems, is geriatric, has declined medical intervention, and at some point suicide will be appropriate for him.

All good points.
It is a bad idea to mention suicidal thinking (even in the most abstract “let’s pretend for the sake of argument…” fashion) to a psychiatrist. Not because they are horrible people who are lurking behind every bush wanting to lock up anyone at any excuse (yes I DO know that anyone reading my posts gets the impression after awhile that I think that!) but they have a rather strong “better safe than sorry” component combined with more than a flicker of liability issues.

Movement activist Judi Chamberlin once said, in exasperation, to some other mental patients’ liberation front people, “Yes, you DO have the right to commit suicide but you do not have the right to commit suicide in my living room”. By which she meant it was NOT, in her opinion, ethically or politically wrong to intervene if someone TELLS HER they are suicidal. If you involve people, they have a right to respond as they see fit. Wanna commit suicide and not have interferences? Don’t freaking tell everyone!!

I agree also with folks who say there ought to be mechanisms for physician-assisted suicide for people in physiological failure. There should probably be some mechanism NOT tied to physiological failure by which rational people who have thought it through and who decide they wish to be dead can become dead people with, at a minimum, available equipment and pharmaceuticals to make it easier than jumping off the damn bridge or stepping in front of the damn bus or something. Not everyone who wishes to commit suicide is messed up in the head. But it should be a formal process. If you just tell someone, you should expect they may well intervene.

I have talked about suicide with all kinds of caseworkers, therapist & doctors over the decades and have only been “locked up in the Loony Bin” once, that was this past April.

I have a plan, I know what I want to do (jump from a certain bridge*) and when I want to do it (the 4th of next month**), I have a card*** for my mother & one for my ex, there will be money in them(hopefully) and extra instructions for my ex since he lives nearby.

*I doubt you have heard about this bridge.
**It is always next month.
***Hallmark does **NOT **have a card for every occasion.

I also have some problem with the rules for physician-assisted-suicide, or even for the rules for deciding when to “pull the plug” and let nature take its course, or when or stop therapeutic care and switch to strictly palliative care.

The problem I see is in the common rule that such choices are NOT available to someone who is depressed.

Well, damn, I would think that someone who is facing a death, and furthermore a slow agonizing one (like with some forms of cancer, e.g.) would damn likely be depressed about it. Also, depression comes in all manner of degrees and levels.

What about someone who has a long history of depression, who then gets really sick. Should a history of depression condemn the patient to a slow agonizing death?

What is the logic behind this common rule? As best I can make it out, the theory is that a depressed person is not mentally competent to make such a decision. If that is set in stone as a hard-and-fast knee-jerk rule (is it?), then that’s just stupid.

In most areas there are not that many psych beds available and insurance companies don’t like to pay for psych hospitalizations unless there is a strong justification for it, so no you won’t get locked up just for talking about suicide. You have to show some serious intention of actually hurting yourself imminently (for example, Foggy’s well-formulated plan). There are plenty of people being treated as outpatients by psychiatrists even though they have chronic suicidal ideation. One of the skills of becoming a psychiatrist is learning how to judge someone who is at high risk of acting on suicidal thoughts vs. someone who can be safely treated outpatient.

This thread is practically comedy gold. It’s easier here to get locked up for “resisting medication” for things like panic attacks than to be hospitalized against suicide. I learned that the hard way.

One of the political problems we face is that there’s so often an elision between “incompetent” and “mentally ill”. When the standard is the DSM-IV, the mental illness of a person or lack thereof is absolutely none of the court’s damn business. (And involuntary commitment on that basis should be thrown out as unconstitutional, including when accompanied by any & all codicils such as “and in need of treatment”). When the standard is “demonstrably dangerous to others”, the dangerousness and not the psych diagnosis should be the relevant factor, and the standards should be the same as would apply to someone who is NOT mentally ill but is similarly demonstrably dangerous to others. (Which means you incarcerate them for what they have actually done, not what you think they just might do). And, finally, when the standard is “is in no condition to make decisions and needs someone else (institution or otherwise) to do that”, once again the relevant factor is a demonstration of incompetence. Lack of judgmental capacity.

A diagnosis of “clinical depression” should not be admissible evidence in a courtroom as indicative of jack shit. If you want to stop someone from doing things and lock them up, either prove they’ve committed a crime or prove that they are incapable of thinking things out and reaching relevant conclusions.

I know someone this happened to, less than a year ago.

The relationship was breaking up, he was undone by that, additionally a somewhat moody young man. I suspect it was just drama queen antics along the, ‘if you leave me, I’ll off myself’ line.

It was enough. His family was outraged. But it wasn’t the card this young man should have played, it came with a risk. He was clearly distraught, and he did say it. He ended up paying the price, being hospitalized for, I think, 3days.

Within a few months he was pursuing her again. They are, once again, a family, (w 3 kids from other fellas!) His family is outraged.