COUNSELING & PSYCHOTHERAPY

Podcast Companion: Session 20 – Suicide

Suicide Definition CDC:  

Suicide is death caused by injuring oneself with the intent to die. A suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with the intent to end their life, but they do not die as a result of their actions.

What we know about suicide only comes from those who have been unsuccessful at suicide.

Everyone can help prevent suicide:

  • Learn the warning signs of suicide to identify and appropriately respond to people at risk. Find out how this can save a life by visiting: www.BeThe1to.com
  • Reduce access to lethal means – such as medications and firearms – among people at risk of suicide.
  • Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org  

Suicide is a large and growing public health problem. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for more than 47,000 deaths in 2017, resulting in about one death every 11 minutes. Every year, many more people think about or attempt suicide than die by suicide. In 2017, 10.6 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.

Suicide affects all ages. Suicide is a problem throughout the life span. It is the second leading cause of death for people 10 to 34 years of age, the fourth leading cause among people 35 to 54 years of age, and the eighth leading cause among people 55 to 64 years of age.

Additional Facts About Suicide in the US:

  • The age-adjusted suicide rate in 2017 was 14.0 per 100,000 individuals.
  • The rate of suicide is highest in middle-age white men in particular.
  • In 2017, men died by suicide 3.54x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 129 suicides per day.
  • White males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2017.
  • In 2017, firearms accounted for 50.57% of all suicide deaths.

Suicide is defined as death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior.

A suicide attempt is a non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. A suicide attempt might not result in injury.

Suicidal ideation refers to thinking about, considering, or planning suicide.

Emile Durkheim was a French philosopher who was born on 15 April, 1858. Durkheim is considered as the grandfather of sociology and the systematic approach to the study of the society began with him.

Durkheim’s theory of ‘suicide’ is related in various ways to his study of the division of labor. It is also linked with the theory of ‘social constraint’. Durkheim has established the view that there are no societies in which suicide does not occur.

Suicide is an 1897 book written by French sociologist Émile Durkheim. It was the first methodological study of a social fact in the context of society. It is ostensibly a case study of suicide, a publication unique for its time that provided an example of what the sociological monograph should look like.

Types of Suicide

Emile Durkheim classified different types of suicides on the basis of different types of relationship between the actor and his society.

(1) Egoistic suicide: *

According to Durkheim, when a man becomes socially isolated or feels that he has no place in the society he destroys himself. This is the suicide of self-centred person who lacks altruistic feelings and is usually cut off from main stream of the society. Don’t feel connected. Alienated. Never connected.

(2) Altruistic suicide: *

This type of suicide occurs when individuals and the group are too close and intimate. This kind of suicide results from the over integration of the individual into social proof. By taking their life, it will better society. Making a statement. Future connected.

(3) Anomic suicide: *

This type of suicide is due to certain breakdown of social equilibrium, such as, suicide after bankruptcy or after winning a lottery. In other words, anomic suicide takes place in a situation which has cropped up suddenly. Experienced a severe disconnection from society. They were once connected. Once connected.

(4) Fatalistic suicide:

This type of suicide is due to overregulation in society. Under the overregulation of a society, when a servant or slave commits suicide, when a barren woman commits suicide, it is the example of fatalistic suicide.

Suicide Contagion:

I am not talking about healthy people reading Romeo and Juliet.

Madelyn Gould

Dr. Madelyn Gould reviewed two issues, the role of the media in fostering suicide contagion in adolescents, and suicide clusters. She described characteristics of media portrayals of suicide, and characteristics of individual adolescents that increase susceptibility to suicide contagion. She discussed approaches to addressing contagion at the institutional level, including the description of specific guidelines for media coverage, as well as the barriers and challenges to successfully reducing contagion. She also gave a brief overview of the current state of information on suicide clusters.

Media coverage of suicides has been shown to significantly increase the rate of suicide, and the magnitude of the increase is related to the amount, duration, and prominence of coverage.

Madelyn Gould

The code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists is – “Seek truth in reporting and minimize harm.”

Characteristics of the media presentation, the individual, and interactions between media and individual factors impact suicide contagion. According to Dr. Gould, content analysis studies revealed the following eight media factors that increase suicide contagion, especially for young people. (1) Repeated news coverage of the same story. (2) Front-page coverage. (3) Larger size headlines. (4) Celebrity suicides have greater impact. (5) Portrayal of “rewards” such as the grieving family and boy/girlfriend can foster revenge motivations for suicide, especially among angry and dejected youth. (6) Media reporting indicating suicide as something that is “unavoidable,” that “someone will be next.” (7) Presenting suicide as a political issue, e.g., as due to desegregation or job stress. (8) Victims shown as possessing desirable, high status qualities.

Dr. Gould indicated that teenagers are especially vulnerable to contagion of suicide.

#BeThe1To is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s message for National Suicide Prevention Month and beyond, spreading the word about actions we can all take to prevent suicide. The Lifeline network and its partners are working to change the conversation from suicide to suicide prevention, to actions that can promote healing, help and give hope. Together, we can prevent suicide by learning to help ourselves, help others, seek consultation from trained providers (hotlines and clinicians) and to seek hospital care when necessary. Learn about each step and why the steps are effective here. Created by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration & administered by Vibrant Emotional Health.

  1. Ask- “Are you thinking about suicide?” communicates that you’re open to speaking about suicide in a non-judgmental and supportive way. “How do you hurt?” and “How can I help?” Do not ever promise to keep their thoughts of suicide a secret.
  2. Keep Them Safe- Asking how and why. You’re gathering information. This is the assessment. Often it’s here that you may need to involve authorities. 911, and the National Suicide Lifeline can help. You’re talking with them about next steps. Method substitution is a myth here. Removing the immediate method often works. The if they’re going to do it factor. Time and distance between person and method.
  3. Be There- Physically or otherwise. Follow through with committed support. Don’t commit to what you won’t do. This is about “connectedness.” Which combats isolation.
  4. Help Them Connect- Helping someone with thoughts of suicide connect with ongoing supports (like the Lifeline, 800-273-8255) or 911 can help them establish a safety net for those moments they find themselves in a crisis.
  5. Follow Up- After your initial contact with a person experiencing thoughts of suicide, and after you’ve connected them with the immediate support systems they need, make sure to follow-up with them to see how they’re doing. Leave a message, send a text, or give them a call. The follow-up step is a great time to check in with them to see if there is more you are capable of helping with or if there are things you’ve said you would do and haven’t yet had the chance to get done for the person. Connectedness.

“One cannot long remain so absorbed in contemplation of emptiness without being increasingly attracted to it. In vain one bestows on it the name of infinity; this does not change its nature. When one feels such pleasure in non-existence, one’s inclination can be completely satisfied only by completely ceasing to exist.” 

Émile Durkheim, Suicide: A Study in Sociology

  • There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind.

C. S. Lewis

  • The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.    

Juliette Lewis

  • When it is darkest, we can see the stars.     

Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.      

Dr. Seuss

  • Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start now and make a brand new ending.

Carl Bard

  • Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Phil Donahue

  • The man who kills a man kills a man. The man who kills himself kills all men. As far as he is concerned, he wipes out the world.

G.K. Chesterton

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