This was a comment by Paige on “How To Cut Gun Deaths by Two-Thirds“:
I agree we need to be talking more about suicide prevention, that’s for sure. I’m not so sure that what you’re proposing is the answer to that.
First of all, a lot of people who commit suicide ARE on antidepressants. It doesn’t mean they’re on the right ones, or in the right dosage. Doctors who are not trained in psychology are handing out pills like candy, and if anything that can actually lead to MORE suicide. Many people become suicidal as a result of being on the wrong drug, at the wrong dosage, and/or because they feel better and try to withdraw from the drug on their own, with no withdrawal plan or monitoring being done by a counselor.
Just personally, I know two young (early 20s) men who committed suicide within a few months of each other, in the past year. Both had been taking antidepressants. Their story is not that uncommon. I am not against the use of psych meds, but I am against their indiscriminate use which seems to cause more harm than good, and even many doctors within the field seem to still get it wrong quite often.Often, people need to see a therapist for years, switching drugs and doses several times, before they hit on something that works. And in the meantime, the person may very well go through suicidal phases.
So… whether or not someone is receiving treatment, they may end up at one of those flashpoints you mention – a moment where they just want to check out, a moment that may well pass if the person doesn’t succeed, and not recur. If that person, at that moment, happens to have a gun handy, then the job has just been made that much easier. It’s a weapon that can be used on a whim, without too much fear that death will be slow or painful or difficult to execute.
If there were no gun in the house at that moment, then suicide would require much more forethought. Killing yourself by other means *would* likely be much more difficult and/or painful, enough to possibly give a person pause just long enough to reconsider their decision.
So I’m afraid we can’t really talk about suicide prevention without talking about the easy availability of guns. But I’m glad you brought it up.