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Assessor question that has me confused.

FairHairedFoodieFairHairedFoodie Member Posts: 28 Courageous
I have been sitting on a series of questions that the assessor asked during my telephone assessment with IAS on Tuesday.

She asked about suicide attempts. How many there had been, and when they occurred. She then asked if I still had thoughts of suicide, to which I answered yes. It's the next question asked that made me uneasy... she asked, "Why don't you act on them?" My answer was honest: that I'm too afraid. She dropped it at that point without further discussion on the topic.

Is it normal for an assessor to ask someone why they *don't* attempt suicide? And what purpose does the answer serve either way?

I appreciate any light that may be shed on this.

Replies

  • woodbinewoodbine Member Posts: 2,860 Disability Gamechanger
    To me it sounds very wrong, to ask someone why they don't act on such thoughts shouldn't be asked by someone who is not fully trained to deal with whatever the answer maybe. Perhaps after you get whatever benefit you applied for you could consider a formal complaint, I know I would.
  • Si_ObhanSi_Obhan Member Posts: 34 Courageous
    That’s quite a common question to be asked... I wont try and guess at why but I’ve seen a lot of people on Facebook get offended by this question. They are asking for a reason - there’s no harm in asking why before you make a complaint. There could be a completely legitimate reason. I know that when people have asked me about this in the past they have written that I have suicidal thoughts but I don’t act on them because of XY and Z being my protective factors. I’ve never *not* been asked this question when it comes to ill mental health and suicidal thoughts. I hope that reassures you somewhat.
  • FairHairedFoodieFairHairedFoodie Member Posts: 28 Courageous
    edited April 2020
    Thank you, @Si_Obhan

    I have really been struggling to understand why they would ask me, a disabled person, why I don't try to kill myself.

    This has been posed countless times by community mental health and the psychiatrists there, but it felt particularly and unnecessarily uncomfortable when being assessed for a PIP claim.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,306 Disability Gamechanger
    It's about assessment of risk. If someone makes multiple threats to kill themselves but has never acted on any of them then they are likely to be viewed as less at risk than someone who perhaps has acted upon their threat. Nothing more complex than that really. 

    Granted it can be asked it a crass and potentially upsetting manner but I'd rather they asked than deduced or inferred from other evidence. 

    It's relevant because the term 'reliably' is in the legislation and includes 'safely'. So, it would be directly relevant to planning and following a route and taking medication; bathing and so on. 

    So, there you go. That's why and that's what the purpose is. 
  • FairHairedFoodieFairHairedFoodie Member Posts: 28 Courageous
    @mikehughescq  Thank you! Just generally speaking, my answer of “I’m too afraid to follow through...” Any insight into how this might be applied?
  • MangyWolfMangyWolf Member - under moderation Posts: 42 Connected
    'I stopped trying to kill myself because my several attempts caused so much damage and pain that I am now too worried about being left alive as a vegetable if future attempts still don't work. I am waiting for and hoping that voluntary euthanasia becomes available in my lifetime and I would be the first person in queue for it'

    This is my answer when people ask me that.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 5,306 Disability Gamechanger
    @mikehughescq  Thank you! Just generally speaking, my answer of “I’m too afraid to follow through...” Any insight into how this might be applied?
    Relatively low risk then. 
  • lisak20lisak20 Member Posts: 9 Listener
    I have been sitting on a series of questions that the assessor asked during my telephone assessment with IAS on Tuesday.

    She asked about suicide attempts. How many there had been, and when they occurred. She then asked if I still had thoughts of suicide, to which I answered yes. It's the next question asked that made me uneasy... she asked, "Why don't you act on them?" My answer was honest: that I'm too afraid. She dropped it at that point without further discussion on the topic.

    Is it normal for an assessor to ask someone why they *don't* attempt suicide? And what purpose does the answer serve either way?

    I appreciate any light that may be shed on this.

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