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7 Things I Wish ER Doctors Knew About My Suicide Attempt

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Similar to many people who have been to the emergency room for a suicide attempt, there are many things in my experience that could have gone better. Whether that is linked to the way I was treated by medical staff, their reactions to mental illness or my treatment and care in itself, there are many things I wish medical professionals in the ER knew about us and our conditions.

Here are some examples of what I would personally want them to know:

1) I did not attempt to die for attention. This was not a cry for help, and nor was it an act of attention seeking. Your attention is the last thing I want in this difficult and painful situation.

2) I do not want your pity, so please don’t give me any. I am not the sorry result of the mistakes society has made; please don’t treat me like so.

3) My mental illness is just like any other illness. However, it is not contagious, nor will it kill you to simply be kind.

4) I am not a feral dog. So please don’t treat me like I am “crazy” or like I am a lost cause.

5) Some words or stimuli may affect me more than your average, “normal” patient. Please take this into consideration and be sensitive to this.

6) Most mentally ill people are not dangerous or unpredictable, contrarily to what people often think. We are just in an incredible amount of mental or emotional pain.

7) I am someone. I am human. Please treat me as such — a minimum amount of respect towards me is always appreciated, even if you do not understand me or my illness.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via KaraGrubis.