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What happens if you try to kill yourself and survive?

She got so depressed that she tried to kill herself. But when she laid down in front of a train to die, she lived.Trigger warning: Descriptions of death and dying, but no images.

People attempt suicide for many reasons. When we know someone is struggling, we try to tell them all the right things.

But what does the field of suicidology have to say about what reduces suicide?

When the World Health Organization and the Associated Press Managing Editors Association wanted to know how they should talk about newsworthy suicides, David Phillips, a suicidologist at the University of California told them this:


"Think of a suicide story as a kind of commercial. If you make the product attractive, people will want it. But if you say, 'By the way, when a person kills himself, let's say by shooting he looks terrible afterwards.' Or 'When a person poisons himself, he often fouls the bed sheets.' If you talk about the pain and the disfigurement then I thought that would make it less likely that people would be copying the suicide."

The research around negative public portrayals of suicide support this notion. When people talk about suicide in a positive light, people are more likely to attempt suicide. When people talk about suicide in a negative light, people are less like to attempt suicide.

Another suicidologist, Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, says mentioning helplines and telling stories of people who find another way out of their problems can help reduce suicidality in others.

So let's do all of those.

The CDC reports that for every completed suicide, there are 25 failed attempts.

Many of these people (487,700 of them in 2011) end up in the emergency room, seriously injured. Sometimes they recover, but often their bodies are permanently damaged — which is what happened to Helen Galsworthy.

"When I woke up in hospital, my mum was next to me and I said to her, 'I've lost my legs, haven't I?' And she said, 'Yes.'"

Helen lost her legs in her suicide attempt, but she's made a great recovery both emotionally and physically. That's wonderful, but surely it would have been better if she'd been able to get effective help before her attempt — we could have lost her forever.

But it could have been much worse.

Surviving an attempted poisoning with carbon monoxide, chemicals, or prescription medications can permanently damage the brain, heart, esophagus, stomach, intestines, or kidneys. Surviving a long fall can result in disfigurement, internal organ damage, shattered bones, or paralysis.

Surviving a shot from a firearm can result in brain damage or paralysis. Or worse, a person may survive only long enough to feel pain and regret, but not long enough to be saved.

Kevin Briggs is a retired California Highway Patrol officer whose beat included the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most popular places in the world for suicide attempts.

In his 23 years of service, he responded to countless reports of suicidal citizens on the bridge. Here's what he has to say:

If someone you know is struggling, be a compassionate support for them and don't be afraid to show them what can happen if they try to take their lives.

If you are struggling, seek help. Suicide is messy and potentially permanent. Recovery can also be messy, but it too can be permanent.

A breastfeeding mother's experience at Vienna's Schoenbrunn Zoo is touching people's hearts—but not without a fair amount of controversy.

Gemma Copeland shared her story on Facebook, which was then picked up by the Facebook page Boobie Babies. Photos show the mom breastfeeding her baby next to the window of the zoo's orangutan habitat, with a female orangutan sitting close to the glass, gazing at them.

"Today I got feeding support from the most unlikely of places, the most surreal moment of my life that had me in tears," Copeland wrote.

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RumorGuard by The News Literacy Project.

The 2016 election was a watershed moment when misinformation online became a serious problem and had enormous consequences. Even though social media sites have tried to slow the spread of misleading information, it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

A NewsGuard report from 2020 found that engagement with unreliable sites between 2019 and 2020 doubled over that time period. But we don’t need studies to show that misinformation is a huge problem. The fact that COVID-19 misinformation was such a hindrance to stopping the virus and one-third of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen is proof enough.

What’s worse is that according to Pew Research, only 26% of American adults are able to distinguish between fact and opinion.

To help teach Americans how to discern real news from fake news, The News Literacy Project has created a new website called RumorGuard that debunks questionable news stories and teaches people how to become more news literate.

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Family

A mom describes her tween son's brain. It's a must-read for all parents.

"Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don’t know why."

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19


It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.


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