We do not seek suicidal clients and we refer suicidal people to hot-lines.
If someone hints that he or she may suicide,
promptly refer that person to an appropriate health professional.
(Telephone a suicide hot-line or the police
or a hospital yourself
if you don't know or can't find a health professional)
After a suicide of a family member
People who attempt or commit suicide often want
about their guilt,
pain or lost sense of life.
Please listen to them, respond with
and contact an appropriate health professional.
History of Suicide
In ancient Egypt, suicide was considered a humane way to escape
intolerable conditions. However Egypt's Roman government outlawed
suicide, with threats of eternal torture. As pharaohs and emperors were also
gods, imperial law was both secular and religious. Many of these
laws were later integrated into Judaism, Christianity and Islam, threatening
suicidal slaves with everlasting punishment.
Until recently, suicide attempts were punishable by both religious
and criminal law in many countries. Although most criminal penalties
for attempting suicide have been abolished in the West, many laws
still prohibit assisting people who want to die.
2009: A record number
of active-duty US soldiers killed themselves recently ... many of them
soldiers deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq. The 128 confirmed suicides
in 2008 mark a new high since the Army began tracking them in 1980.
do soldiers suicide?)
The true number of suicides may be higher than official figures.
Many suicides are described as accidents, misadventure or as results
of schizophrenia or depression. This contrasts with military
organizations and prisons, where murders may be
reported as suicide to reduce workload, blame and publicity.
2011: The American Journal of Public Health
published a study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which
compared suicide trends to business cycles. The study showed that working
Americans aged 25 to 64 are more prone to suicide in difficult times.
Suicide in Human Relationship Systems
Men are more likely to kill themselves than women in every age group,
especially among the elderly. About 85% of suicides are men over 65, and even
higher for divorced men. In America, suicide is the second leading cause of
death in adults aged 15-24. As a profession, doctors seem to have the highest
Some people may try to act out the life-drama of suicidal relatives. If a
parent or grand-parent committed suicide, a descendent may unconsciously
identify with that family member, and try to relive that ancestor's life ... and
My suicide attempt was mostly my need to hide
my weaknesses from my family
When we explore the consequences of suicide in a family,
we often find:
- at least one family member may be overcome by
grief or guilt
- a baby soon dies - perhaps as a miscarriage,
stillborn or crib-death (cot death)
- a grand-child becomes suicidal (often at the same
age as the ancestor's suicide)
Attempted suicide and suicide threats may have similar
consequences. Descendents can be burdened by their ancestor's
emotional and relationship disturbances. In particular, we
notice that the eldest child (especially if he or she was an
infant at the time of the suicide) seems more likely to take
on this terrible burden.
It is often rather easy to recognize people who have emotionally
identified with a dead person. The signs of dead person identification
usually include melancholy and obsessions with death and dying.
Identified people may enjoy visiting cemeteries and places where people
suffered and died. They may consider themselves psychic and claim to
channel spiritual entities or dead people.
I tried to kill myself three times -
and I didn't really know why. Life was just too hard or
Now I know why ... and it's changed ... it's over. Now I can live
my own life,
and not relive my grandmother's drama and suicide. Manchester
A client or student who suicides can provoke similar
shock and guilt among therapists and trainers. Other clients or students
may express anger to the therapist or trainer for not preventing
the suicide. We help therapists, trainers and other affected people
deal with emotional consequences. See: Ghosts
. Dead Person Identification
Intelligence and Suicide
Intelligence may not always be a survival trait. Less intelligent
people may persevere where more intelligent people may give up. I
suspect that intelligent people are more likely to suicide if their lives
lack sense. This seems especially true for people who are detached from
their families and communities ... people with few relationships that
inspire hope and effort.
Meaning of Life
A decision to die may reflect a conclusion that "my life
does not make sense". Although decisions to suicide
may be made under the influence of pain, depression, disease or
drugs; unpleasant negative emotions play a strong role.
- Anger or rage about violated values
- Fear or anxiety about future suffering
- Guilt or shame about having harmed people
- Sadness or melancholy about lost opportunities
Suicidal thoughts may be a basis for a diagnosis of
depression, which can lead to
prescriptions of psychoactive drugs. Suicidal thoughts may
also follow a diagnosis of psychosis or a terminal disease.
A person who lacks close or meaningful
relationships and has no sense of life purpose, may be a suicide
risk, even if the person is physically healthy and has material success.
A meaningless life seems also connected to addictions and depression. If life seems to
lack sense, or if death seems to make more sense than life, then
suicide may appear to be a solution. Are you suicidal?
Causes of Suicide
Adult children of alcoholics (ACOA) and people with
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have a higher risk of suicidal
behavior. Also, people (including criminals, police and military)
who kill or torture people may suicide after a period of PTSD and/or
substance abuse and/or depression.
Suicidal behavior may follow military service,
especially if the causes for which people fought are later
exposed as lies. Soldiers who have killed innocent people may
decide to suicide, unless somehow convinced that their murders
were in a higher cause.
Medals help people get away with murder.
A similar cause is cult membership, if the cult is shown to be false.
A lost sense of life can result in a desire for death.
We help people find solutions to cross-generational chains of suicides in
families, and help prevent suicidal children in future generations.
... page 2 can start here ...
Types of Suicide
Suicide bombers are often single people who have identified
with victims in their family or community. People who identify with
victims may be unable to imagine future happiness. Instead they may
chronically experience chronic anger, rage, suspicion and aggression. (We often
help people manage this and similar
Similarly, some people identify with dead people in their family or
community. Symptoms of dead person identification
often include suicidal fantasies.
Some attempted suicides may be appeals for help, while mock suicides
can be accidentally fatal. Avoid dismissing suicide attempts as attention seeking.
Some deaths by misadventure are related to suicidal
behavior. Young adults who die while attempting extreme physical
or military feats may be in this category. (People who truly do not
fear death may be described as having a death wish).
A teenager may try to punish parents, family or friends who
were perceived as insufficiently interested in the teenager's life.
Deaths of parents, celebrities or other role models may also motivate
teenagers to consider suicide. As most teenagers are highly aware
of each others' moods and actions, a suicide by one teenager may
initiate one or more copycat suicides.
If you are worried that a young person
may be considering suicide,
some classic symptoms include
excessive risk taking
and a preoccupation with death and dying.
(See dead person identification
Consequences of Suicide
My mother was depressed and tried to kill
herself three times when I was a child. Whenever I have a problem - almost any
problem - it's like I hear my mother's voice advising me to suicide.
Saint John, Canada
A fatal suicide usually causes guilt
amongst family and friends; especially people who feel that they might
have prevented it. A suicidal death may have long-term consequences. A
partner, close friend or a descendent may try to
follow the dead person. We call this
dead person identification ... and we offer solutions.
My body is getting sicker and doctors seem
to have no idea why. My father killed himself when he was 42. I am 41 now and I
feel like I'm going to die. Croatia
Although support groups may help suicide survivors,
we find that partners, children and grandchildren of a suicide may
need special help so that they do not identify with the dead
person. A child or grand-child of a suicide may carry this burden.
Online Counseling following a Suicide
If someone hints that
he or she may suicide, promptly refer that person to an appropriate health
professional. Perhaps telephone a health professional yourself, introduce
yourself and give the telephone to the maybe-suicidal person. (Telephone a
suicide hot-line ... see http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
Contact the police or a hospital if you don't know a health
Plagiarism is theft. Copyright © Martyn Carruthers
All rights reserved.