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Bruce, Caroline

What Would You Do?

Thankfully, this hasn't happened on lists I've owned. But on another list today I saw what amounted to a suicide note. The list wasn't about suicide. If you were the owner of an Internet mailing list and someone was selfish enough to leave a suicide note on that list (it is my personal belief that suicide is the most selfish act in which a person can engage), what would you do?


Well, not to be knit picky with you here, but I don't think there is a lot a list owner or anyone else can do if someone leaves a suicide note on a list.
Most listers don't know a lot about their list mates. I'm on a joke list that I love, but while I consider the listers friends, I don't know what cities they live in, (the states but not the cities), I don't even know some of their last names. And then you have the problem of how long ago the email was sent. What if someone was at work all day and came home to that suicide note in his email? And even if I knew the state, city and last name of the lister, what do I do, call the cops and say hey, I just got this email and this lady named So and So sent an email four hours ago that said she's going to commit suicide? OH yeah and btw I don't have a clue in hell where she lives?
So, you ask, what would you do if you saw an email like that?
Well, if I had the person's phone number I'd call, if I knew the person's family info I'd look up the number and call, but sadly, the only real answer to the question is nothing, except pray of course.
I've been in too many situations where people use the suicide thang as a way to get attention. LIke you I feel it's selfish, and while I would do anything I could if I knew the person at all, you can't do something if you do not know such things as last name, city, state etc.
I know whereof you speak about the whole attention thing. My ex used to use the threat of suicide to get attention, to scare me and other people who loved her, and to wreck my day if she suspected I was going to have a good day with friends and she wasn't.
As the list moderator if something like that happened I'd feel that it was my responsibility to try to figure out where that person lived and then contact the police or something in the area to try to get the person help. I've read about your experience with suicide and I completely understand where you're coming from. I will say here though that about a month before my high school graduation I attempted to overdose on sleeping pills. You're right, at that time I was thinking about myself, and all I could think about was that I didn't feel I could go on. The feelings of being totally alone, and utter hopelessness tend to take over and all rational thought just sort of goes out the window. So, having been there, I know how important intervention is to something like this, and I'd like to think that I'd do whatever I possibly could to prevent something like that from happening to someone else, even if I don't know that person.
I'll confess that I made an attempt at it once too, in college. I, too, was thinking only of myself, and consider it the most selfish thing I've ever tried. Thankfully I had no clue what I was doing, and came away with nothing worse than a badly upset stomach.
Regardless of whether or not he actually goes through with it or not, pray. HCH!
I used to work for AOL as a mental health chat moderator and we had certain ways of handling that type of thing but on a yahoo group I used to run, I didn't have yahoo to back me up as I wasn't an employee...I used to send an email and ask if the person wanted to talk and suggest they call a counsellor or go to emergency but other than pray there isn't much that can be done due to the anonymous nature of the net...