Posted by Kristi on August 10, 2001, at 9:00:30
In reply to Re: Suicide-sal » Kristi, posted by Cam W. on August 10, 2001, at 4:48:32
Point well taken. But I sort of took it like he was trying to offer support. But we really do need to be careful. :-) Thanks, Kristi
> Kristi - I know Sal is just trying to help. I commend him on that, but you really have to be careful what you say to people, who you don't know. Without a medical history, it is almost impossible to second guess the doctor. That is why I try to stick to answering questions about medications and always caution people to check with their doctor.
> I am a community pharmacist, so I don't have the diagnostic skill of a psychiatrist, no matter how bad that psychiatrist may seem. On this site we only hear their stories from one side, which is not the most objective point of view, especially if that person is hurting. People who ask for advice are, for the most part, honest in describing their perceptions of their situation, but we can't take for granted what we are reading is an objective description of the situation (although, in most cases, I do believe that we are reading true views). The impact of what is said on this site is far-reaching (so I have been finding out - eg. getting calls from journalists wanting to know what my opinion is on certain medications - that scares me, even though I may have extensively researched a topic).
> First we must try to do no harm. This is why I will only answer questions posed on this site and none through my email. I always just delete any questions I get via email from people I don't know. I need other people (posters and lurkers on this site) to make sure I am not giving erroneous information. I only know my answers from my point of view; it is important, and necessary, to have second and third opinions, especially in this type of format.
> If Sal isolates anyone by a Messenger system, then others cannot confirm if what he is saying is potentially helpful or harmful, especially when he is doing it without any formal training. This is why I said what I did to Sal. I am not trying to pick on him, but I wouldn't pretend that I could counsel a suicidal person. Even when working in a pharmacy and I get a phonecall from a suicidal person, I try to get them to call the crisis line, because this sort of situation is beyond the scope of what I feel I can handle appropriately.
> Suicidal people should be convinced to get help in person, not over the internet. This is what crisis lines attempt to do. The operators are trained to assess the situation and to try to get the person to seek help in person (ie. in an emergency room, when necessary). Besides, if we try to help someone who is suicidal and we push them over the edge, we could be held liable for their death. This is why we try to answer questions by consensus on this site, rather than individually.
> Sincerely, Cam