shatterrealm asked a question:
When Internet strangers rally together to assure a suicidal person that they are loved and precious, are we really helping? Or are we making things worse by arguing with their depression? Should we simply be referring them to professionals?
Hey dear friend, this is an excellent question that I can’t possibly hope to adequately cover, but I’ll offer a few thoughts on this to consider.
– On one hand, if you can save a life with words, do it. I think it’s absolutely a good idea to press in when someone expresses depression, anywhere, every time, all the time. It might really pull back someone from the edge, even for one more day.
I can’t really stop to evaluate the whole thing on whether it’s real or not, or if it’s really helping. That’s not for me to decide right then. If someone is drowning in a river headed towards a waterfall, I don’t ever want to think, “Am I enabling this person to not learn to swim?” I can think about that later. At this very second, I have to throw a lifeline, or I’ll jump in there myself.
– On the other hand, I’m less sure about how this will work for the long-term. It’s the old dilemma: “Give a person a fish for a day or teach them how to fish for life.”
In the short-term, rallying together online can certainly be helpful for a person who cries-for-help. I’ll be the first one there. But at some point, the online world becomes very limited in truly helping a depressed person. It doesn’t go deep enough, and in some cases, can actually be more harmful.