25

I'm very confused about the moderation on the question about a family member at risk of suicide. It's on hold, but there is no official comment or answer attached. I had some layperson training (Question, Persuade, Refer) and the letter clearly has warning signs that the poster has picked up on.

I've read several meta questions about what to do in this situation (about 'requires professional help' as a custom close reason, when OP needs professional help, questions about depressed/suicidal friends/colleagues, and a proposed (but closed) canonical answer).

I know this is a controversial topic, but I feel like it is the wrong answer to close for being "off-topic" without even linking to a suicide hotline or the proposed canonical answer, or noting that moderators are involved with the OP, or noting that anything has been done at all. (At the very least, it attracts others who have not read these meta-discussions to rush in with (potentially lower-quality) answers, because there is a yawning void and clear, desperate need.)

Should there be a comment or specific close reason issued when a question is on hold for suicide-related reasons?

EDIT: I have heard that suicide hotlines are happy to talk with people who want to help friends/family and people who are not immediately suicidal. Suicide.org says that the number one thing to do for a friend is to stay calm and call for help immediately. Therefore, I suggest that the answer should be a referral to the same suicide resources (and emergency services) as if the OP were directly experiencing the issue.

UPDATE 5/4/2018: For reference, here is an edited-to-be-generic version of the comments I left on that post, in case others want to adopt similar language. It probably won't all fit in one comment.

I'm so sorry you're going through this; if someone is considering suicide, it's not actually because of your actions. The issue is more than we can handle here: they need professional help (emergency services or an urgent psychological consultation). You also deserve support, and you can get some guidance calling a suicide hotline. If calling is not good, you can chat with them live online. We wish you the best.

Markdown to copy-and-paste:

I'm so sorry you're going through this; if someone is considering suicide, it's not actually because of your actions. The issue is more than we can handle here: they need professional help (emergency services or an urgent psychological consultation). You also deserve support, and you can get some guidance calling [a suicide hotline](http://suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html). If calling is not good, you can [chat with them live online](http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx). We wish you the best.

(The links above are to internationally available resources.)

| |
  • 3
  • 1
    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/243700/… – Jesse Apr 26 '18 at 6:36
  • 7
    As noted above, I think the suggested method here is fairly clear (close and add a comment linking to somewhere that might be able to help) Perhaps with a little editing this question could be used as a repository for varied sites? Suicide is not the only issue we might want to link to and country-specific help lines may be useful aswell – Jesse Apr 26 '18 at 6:39
  • Hmm, and they say StackOverflow is cold and unwelcoming! Wow, there's nothing like a long post about suicide being met with "Closed as off topic by X, Y and Z". – Jim W says reinstate Monica May 4 '18 at 16:35
  • 3
    @JimW Yes, that's what this post was trying to fix. Do you have suggestions? – Em C May 4 '18 at 20:19
  • @EmC yes I realise that, excuse me I'll sit in the corner quietly. – Jim W says reinstate Monica May 4 '18 at 21:23
7

Therefore, I suggest that the answer should be a referral to the same suicide resources (and emergency services) as if the OP were directly experiencing the issue.

Based on the sources you linked, this sounds like a very good idea. SE does encourage leaving comments that link people to the relevant instances that can help them. If you can narrow it down to local services based on e.g. a location in the question or user profile, that's great!

You're right, if we close questions because we feel people should get professional help involved, we need to point them to that professional help as best as we can. Just like when we close a question because it lacks details, we need to ask for those details!

Should there be a comment or specific close reason issued when a question is on hold for suicide-related reasons?

Preferably, yes. You can always choose off-topic because / other as a close reason, and write a comment. It's okay to delete the 'I'm voting to close this as off-topic, because' if you're not comfortable with leaving that. But as discussed here, using that way of closing a question as off-topic makes it easier for moderators to see how often questions get closed because they're in need of professional help.

That said, it may very well be that people don't feel like they're fit to leave a very nice, very carefully written comment. In those cases, it's better to close and remain silent, and hope that someone like you comes along to do the heavy lifting. You wrote an excellent comment, I'd like to thank you for that.

Each site can only have 3 custom off-topic close reasons, so it may well be that numbers show there are other reasons that make a question off-topic that are more often used, and thus a specific close reason for professional help might not be feasible. But a comment is always good, as long as it is linking the OP to further, professional help, instead of just an opinion on the matter, or a half-written comment-answer.

| |

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .