When should someone be able to end it?

That’s a very personal question. Are you feeling ok?

No idea. I wish our culture was more tolerant of suicide because some problems never get better and quality of life is low.

Are you asking for debate on the legality, morality, or social facilitation of suicide, or all of the above?

Apologies if off-topic, but if you’re asking because of personal experiences of suicidal ideation then I’m sorry to hear it and hope you get relief from it, hopefully by a means other than suicide. For one thing, it’s better for the people who care about you; I still miss the family member I lost to suicide some years back and wish they could have found a different solution.

Whenever they want.

All of the underlying issues that cause it to be stigmatized.

Well, obviously we’re never going to get rid of the basic human conviction that suicide is sad and should be avoided if possible. We’ll never get rid of the basic conviction that almost any form of death is sad and should be avoided if possible, even though death is absolutely natural and inevitable for all humans.

But it would be a good idea if we could lift the social stigma from all aspects of mental illness, not just the act of suicide. At present we are shaming and under-serving people who have mental/emotional disorders and then getting all horrified when they kill themselves to end their suffering, which is both stupid and cruel.

But cultural attitudes towards suicide aren’t universal. Some cultures have considered suicide acceptable in certain circumstances.

I agree about mental health treatment, but sadly mental health treatment is still a fairly new science and not always effective.

Not only that, but another major cause of suicide is physical health issues. Chronic pain and disability for example and again, medicine doesn’t always have the answer.

Many times suicide is not a truly spontaneous decision. It is a decision that may be acted on in the moment, but the person usually debated the issue in their head for years and years before that point. Sometimes quality of life is low and we just don’t know how to make it better. Maybe in 200 years we’ll know more about how to improve quality of life, but in 2018 there is only so much we can do when quality of life is low.

Society isn’t equipt to handle suicide. The suicides of wealthy, famous people like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain showcase this. Either would have access and resources to get all the treatment available. They also wouldn’t have the added stress that the other 99% face with living off a regular pay check.

^^^ This.

Having said that, I’ll also mention that Judi Chamberlin, of the psychiatric inmates’ liberation movement, once said “You have the right to commit suicide but you don’t have the right to do so in my living room”. Within reasonable constraints I think it is fair to ask that people committing suicide (as opposed to acting out a cry for help) do so in such a way that we are not being asked to watch with our hands at our sides — and that when people act in self-destructive ways directly in front of us, we’re within our right to intervene as we see fit.

Reasonable constraints scale according to the mobility and available means of the person in question. A 97 year old quadriplegic can’t reasonably be expected to commit their suicide out in the wilderness away from our eyes and our attention.


Suicide is forever, but the impulse to do so may be fleeting. I don’t believe in making it easy for people to make decisions that they themselves would fervently regret (were they still around to do so) an hour or a day or a year later.

So if it isn’t impulsive and it’s planned out, it’s ok?

I hope you find a solution to your problems. Which is easier said than done.

Thank you, but never said it was my issue. I’m asking for discussion about why it is taboo to commit suicide.

If by “taboo” you mean “generally seen as a bad thing,” then of course it is. Death is a heavy thing; and ending a person’s life is a big deal, even if the life is one’s own.

So it is better to have people suffer for years if not decades than for the living to have guilt and sorrow?

Would you say the same to a woman that wants an abortion?

Does life have meaning or purpose—both in general and for that person specifically? A life of suffering can still be meaningful. If a person’s life still has a purpose, suicide would thwart that purpose.

If it doesn’t have meaning or purpose to the individual, why should they continue living?

There’s a taboo on suicide because death causes harm. It harms families and loved ones that are dependent on the suicider. It causes those people to feel shame and guilt. Very few of us exist this place without being missed by someone.

I am tempted to say if you’ve brought children into this world, at a bare minimum you owe them your continued existence. But I’m not sure I believe this 100%. For most people it is certainly true. But there are plenty of abusive parents out there whose death would only be a net positive to their children. I also don’t think someone who is in excruciating pain should suffer indefinitely just for the sake of their kids. Yes, their kids will be saddened by their death, but having a permanently miserable parent probably isn’t making their lives much better.

I think people should only end their lives when they’ve exhausted the options available to them. While I think everyone has the right to decide what to do with their lives, I think there are righteous and unrighteous suicides.