Author Topic: Difficult situation: how much to share.  (Read 2477 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

MissNomer

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 70
Difficult situation: how much to share.
« on: August 19, 2013, 07:14:21 PM »
Trigger warning: Mentions possible suicide attempt. Proceed with caution.




Background: So, I unfortunately spent Sunday night and day with a friend to prevent him from harming himself. He didn't make a physical attempt at his life, but he did talk about how he wanted to die. He had made several Facebook posts about how he was "done" and telling everyone goodbye, which is was caused me to race over to his place and calm him down. We talked and I think I convinced him to call the national suicide hotline and I am reasonably sure he's "ok" now, at least for the short term.

Several of our mutual friends are (understandably) concerned just based on what he posted to Facebook but don't know that he talked about suicide. A couple of people have asked me what's happening because they know we're close. Thus far the only people who have asked me have already spoken to my friend (we'll call him Heathcliff) and he gave them a brief overview so I felt comfortable going into details with them. However, I think it's only a matter of time until someone who hasn't spoken with Heathcliff asks me what's going on. I don't want to air out his business, but on the other hand I want our friends to be on the lookout for other suicidal behavior. I feel like it was mere chance that I saw his Facebook message in time to hurry over. So the etiquette question I have for eHell is what can I say to these concerned friends?

  Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Calorie Counter

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21610
Re: Difficult situation: how much to share.
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 07:19:32 PM »
He put it on blast when he posted on facebook. You aren't.airing anuthong he didn't already drag into the public. I think trying to avoid quextions just opens it to speculation and gossip.

Tea Drinker

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1475
  • Now part of Team Land Crab
Re: Difficult situation: how much to share.
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 07:25:01 PM »
There's an inherent tension between keeping things private and having other people watching for suicidal behavior; I can't tell you how to navigate it, because I don't know any of the people involved.

You might want to ask your friend how much/what he wants you to say in response to more casual questions, or those from people who know only what was on Facebook. I can see possibilities including "he's fine," "Why not call him and ask? I think it would do him good to talk to people," some level of detail, or even "That's not my business, sorry. How about those Expos?"

He might be glad of the idea of a network of a few people keeping an eye out, but not want your entire social circle to be watching him solicitiously and maybe over-interpreting ordinary unhappiness or complaints.
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

aiki

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1202
  • We can't all have Pippa's backside.
Re: Difficult situation: how much to share.
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 07:33:36 PM »
Several of our mutual friends are (understandably) concerned just based on what he posted to Facebook but don't know that he talked about suicide. A couple of people have asked me what's happening because they know we're close. Thus far the only people who have asked me have already spoken to my friend (we'll call him Heathcliff) and he gave them a brief overview so I felt comfortable going into details with them. However, I think it's only a matter of time until someone who hasn't spoken with Heathcliff asks me what's going on. I don't want to air out his business, but on the other hand I want our friends to be on the lookout for other suicidal behavior. I feel like it was mere chance that I saw his Facebook message in time to hurry over. So the etiquette question I have for eHell is what can I say to these concerned friends?

You say "Thanks for your concern, the issue seems to be on its way to being resolved now. I really don't feel I should be discussing someone else's problems without their permission. If Heathcliff wants you to know, I'm sure he'll tell you." 

He's already put it out there over facebook, and anyone who is actually his friend will already be watching out for him. No further details are necessary.
"A true gentleman is one who is never unintentionally rude."  - Oscar Wilde

GSNW

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 560
Re: Difficult situation: how much to share.
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 05:27:12 AM »
"Heathcliff is going through a really difficult time.  Please reach out to him and be a friend whenever you are able."

I would rather tell people he's having a hard time, and have him be annoyed, than to tell people it's "resolved" and be upset later that I didn't ask for more support.  But this is a safety-trumps-etiquette issue in my head.  And as Sharnita said, HE already put it out there - telling people he's having a difficult time isn't exactly news.

JoyinVirginia

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6090
Re: Difficult situation: how much to share.
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2013, 06:57:48 AM »
Safety trumps etiquette. The more it is secret, the less likely friend will get help he needs. Also, unless you have mental health training in this area, you should call the prevention hotline or local mental health and ask what to do. if friend won't call, you may be the one to call and make a report and get him help he needs even if involuntary. This is too big of a responsibility for friend to expect you to take on.

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6712
Re: Difficult situation: how much to share.
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2013, 07:03:14 AM »
"Heathcliff is going through a really difficult time.  Please reach out to him and be a friend whenever you are able."

I would rather tell people he's having a hard time, and have him be annoyed, than to tell people it's "resolved" and be upset later that I didn't ask for more support.  But this is a safety-trumps-etiquette issue in my head.  And as Sharnita said, HE already put it out there - telling people he's having a difficult time isn't exactly news.
POD to this

Wordgeek

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2067
Re: Difficult situation: how much to share.
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2013, 01:43:57 PM »
Sympathies to the OP and those involved, but this is a matter beyond the purview of an Internet forum on etiquette.  I urge you to consult the appropriate professional advice in real life.