National Suicide Prevention Strategy Silent About Suicide Advocacy

Last year, I wrote here about how “Suicide Prevention Day” was pretty much invisible. Well, can any of you guess which date was National Suicide Prevention Day for 2012?  (Cue the Jeopardy music.) Time’s up: September 10: Come and gone without making a ripple, with mostly blog or Website comments.

The Surgeon General did issue a new prevention policy–that mostly got attention because it adds special attention to the risk of suicide for gay youth.  But I note that it is silent about the growth of suicide promotion by the euthanasia/assisted suicide movement.  From, “2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention:”

From encouraging dialogue about suicidal behavior to promoting policies that support suicide prevention, the National Strategy states that suicide prevention efforts should:

  • Foster positive public dialogue, counter shame, prejudice, and silence; and build public support for suicide prevention;
  • Address the needs of vulnerable groups, be tailored to the cultural and situational contexts in which they are offered, and seek to eliminate disparities;
  • Be coordinated and integrated with existing efforts addressing health and behavioral health and ensure continuity of care;
  • Promote changes in systems, policies, and environments that will support and facilitate the prevention of suicide and related problems;
  • Bring together public health and behavioral health;
  • Promote efforts to reduce access to lethal means among individuals with identified suicide risks; and,
  • Apply the most up-to-date knowledge base for suicide prevention.

So, doctors should not write–and pharmacists should not fill–lethal prescriptions because that puts the means of self-killing intentionally in the hands of the suicidal, right?  Not. Mentioned. At. All.

So I will: We can’t prevent suicide by pretending that very loud voices aren’t promoting suicide as an acceptable way to deal with human suffering caused by illnesses, disabilities, and mental illnesses. Indeed, these days their voices are the loudest and are amplified by a fawning and supportive media.  Unless prevention experts push back against the pro suicide proselytizing, they will continue to grow increasingly invisible.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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