Thought Catalog
June 9, 2017

Michelle Carter This Is What You Don’t Do When Someone Confides In You About Suicide

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Michelle Carter – Youtube

Dear Michelle,

This will be the third letter I write you, in the years I’ve followed this case, watching finally as it comes to the attention of the public.

Reading every article your family posts across social media in hopes to find justice in a tragedy that could have been avoided.

The same questions arise in my mind as they did when I wrote you my first letter years ago.

How? Why? What were you thinking?

Was it you that wanted to kill yourself?

Were you encouraging him to take his own life because maybe suicidal thoughts are ones you’ve had but you were never able to follow through with it?

Were you looking for attention as the grieving girlfriend? Were you trying to be some hero? Because it certainly seemed that way when you set up a fundraiser for mental health awareness in the weeks after he died.

You don’t prevent suicide through fundraisers after the fact. You prevent suicide by not encouraging someone to kill themselves.

You prevent suicide by getting someone the help they need, not calling them a coward for not following through with it.

You prevent suicide by not giving them a list of ways to do it.

You prevent suicide by telling someone what is going on not trying to cover your ass afterward.

I don’t care what they say in court to try and justify and defend you. I don’t care how they spin this. Because yes, it wasn’t you that killed Conrad. But you had the ability to stop him from killing himself. You made a deliberate choice to do the opposite of what you should have.

You texted your friend that you could have stopped him. I think you sent that text not out of guilt but out of hope that your friend would feel sorry for you and reassure you it wasn’t your fault.

It was your fault. All of this could have been avoided.

The greatest conflict I have with this isn’t just how poorly you handled this but how can you claimed to love someone then encourage them to take their own life? The conversation about suicide when someone confides in you isn’t something that happens once, it’s something that is thought about, talked about and conversed about long before the attempt. The second he brought up the word suicide you should have told someone.

You don’t prevent suicide by ensuring the attempt is successful, you prevent it by never allowing someone to get to that point of an attempt in the first place.

You didn’t just lose a boyfriend. Someone lost their son. Someone lost their brother. Someone lost their teammate. Someone lost their friend.

And that’s what you have to live with regardless of the verdict.

What I can’t wrap my head around in all this is, you actually believed suicide was a solution. And that’s the greater problem here. That is what we need to teach people isn’t true. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I hope people learn from your mistakes about what proper suicide prevention actually is.

You could have come out as a hero in all this had you acted rationally and logically. But you didn’t.

A true hero is someone does the right thing and doesn’t look for attention while doing it.

This story hits very close to me because I’ve been where you were in this situation. But the difference was in the way I handled someone confiding in me about their suicidal thoughts. I made the most difficult phone call in my entire life to the people who needed to know.

I lost someone I cared about as a friend because I didn’t keep their secret and he thought I betrayed him. But the thought that crossed my mind when in your place was I’d rather lose someone living than stand at his casket knowing I could have prevented this.

Trust me when I say there are no words more humbling than that of thank you when someone looks at you and says the reason they are still here is that of you. There is nothing more emotional than the parent who thanks you for saving their son’s life.

Conrad will never thank you. His parents will never forgive you. His sisters will never know what it’s like to grow up with an older brother. And he will never be able to fulfill his dreams and future everyone saw even when he couldn’t.

You failed him.

My only wish was he never met you because maybe then he’d still be alive. TC mark

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