Suicide is taking one’s own life on a voluntary basis, without the participation of other people. Unfortunately, in modern society, suicide is a fairly common phenomenon. The reasons for suicide can be completely different, a person makes such a decision on the basis of certain life difficulties of a psychological and social nature.
According to studies, 75% of people planning to commit suicide have revealed their intentions in one way or another. These were both open threats and subtle hints of an impending suicide. Almost all of these people visited psychologists, social workers, doctors or educators, from which it can be concluded that they tried to speak out. Signs of planned suicide are revealed during the conversation and are manifested in the duality of feelings. On the one hand, they experience hopelessness, and on the other, they hope for salvation. In most cases, the arguments for and against such an act are fairly balanced. You can often help with simple words of support. If this is not done, the scales will tilt in favor of committing suicide. That is why it is so important to know the suicidal warning signs.
Signs can be behavioral, verbal, and social. In the first group of signs, constant statements and unhealthy jokes about death are noted, and behavioral ones can manifest themselves in a sudden distribution of personal belongings. This also includes putting things in order in personal papers, affairs, reconciliation with people, as well as a sharp change in habitual behavior. Situational signs are manifested in social isolation, an unexpected crisis in the family, alcoholism.
Analyzing the causes of suicide, statistics show that the main ones are: age crisis; gross mental disorders of the personality; divorce from wife/husband; death of a spouse; lack of family; incurable disease; lack of work; loneliness. According to statistics, 30% of suicide attempts are repeated after a while, and 10% are carried out. In addition, attempts to commit suicide are recorded 6 times more often than completed suicides.
Are certain groups of people at higher risk than others?
Scientists have identified a risk group where the possibility of committing suicide is significantly higher than that of other people. These include:
- persons leading an isolated lifestyle, the so-called loners;
- adolescents with disorders of interpersonal relations;
- people who abuse alcohol or drugs;
- persons with criminal or deviant behavior;
- people with an increased level of self-criticism, as well as suffering from various humiliations;
- persons who have experienced the loss of a loved one;
- adolescents with frustration and adults with neuroses.
Why do people commit suicide?
All causes of suicide can have a psychological aspect or a social aspect. A deep conflict of motives within the personality can lead to an attempt to commit suicide.
The psychological reasons for suicide often lie in the early childhood of a person. As a rule, these are authoritarian parents who show excessive cruelty in upbringing. This often results in the manifestation of aggression in adulthood, when a person tries to change his/her life situation in this way. Another psychological aspect of suicide is associated with hysterical and demonstrative manifestations. As a rule, this is the desire to manipulate another person. For example, a girl may take a large dose of sleeping pills, hoping that she will be rescued and the young man’s attitude towards her will change. Or a guy may deliberately participate in dangerous races, thus seeking to influence the emotions of his beloved. But the more conscious the motives of actions, the less tragic consequences. Another psychological reason for suicide is the desire to punish inattention. It seems to a person in this situation that people will bitterly regret their behavior after his/her death. Unfortunately, such a reason has no real basis. These are the main causes of suicide in adults and adolescents, and most often it concerns young people of a certain age.
The social causes of suicide are equally significant. One of the main ones here is religion. It often happens that the spiritual laws that call to love your neighbor contribute to the growth of inner tension. Such tension causes people to conflict with themselves when their aggression turns against them. In this case, the thought arises that any offense should be punished, as a result of which the person begins to bring the hour of reckoning closer. Another social aspect of suicide is the overstatement of self-importance. This situation is typical for such cases when the death of a family member occurs. The survivor begins to cultivate a sense of his/her own guilt and gradually comes to the conclusion that his/her death will be the only way to make amends.
One of the main supporters of the social causes of suicide is the French sociologist Emile Durkheim. According to his theory, society becomes the cause of the bulk of suicides. Durkheim believed that there is a kind of social consciousness that dictates people how to live. For example, a person may come to the conclusion that he or she is not worthy of life because he or she does not have a family or a job. He reduces all the main reasons for suicide to one – loneliness. It pushes a person to commit suicide.
Durkheim cites the following fact: in homes for mentally ill people there are more women than men. However, the latter commit 80% of all suicides. He also argues with supporters of the opinion that the propensity to commit suicide is inherited. The sociologist claims that both men and women receive the same set of genes, but men are more likely to commit suicide. The reasons for suicide in men, according to Durkheim, are precisely social in nature. They do not correspond to the norms of society, do not earn to support a family, or do not have one at all, therefore, they are useless for society.
Sociologist Durkheim divided suicide into several types. The reasons causing suicide depend on its type. So, there are three types of suicide according to Durkheim: selfish; altruistic; anonymous.
The egoistic type occurs when a person is faced with the impossibility of satisfying personal egoistic needs. For example, a person may desire a lot of money or a high position in society, but lack the inner resources to achieve the goal. In this case, especially if there is no support from loved ones, the likelihood of committing suicide is extremely high. Altruistic suicide is when a person says goodbye to life unselfishly for the sake of other people. For example, this situation is possible when suicide is committed with the aim of obtaining insurance for the family of the deceased. Anonymous suicide is associated with a certain state of society when there are disagreements in it, and there is no normative and moral framework for behavior. Durkheim believed that too rapid development of society can lead to mass suicide. At this rate, there is no balance, which is accompanied by an economic decline or, conversely, an upswing. In the first case, people take their own lives due to the loss of capital, in the second – because it seems to them that others are getting richer faster. This type of suicide is kind of selfish, as it also depends on the personal needs of the person.
The transitional age is the most difficult stage in the formation of an adult personality. That is why the percentage of suicides is extremely high among this age category.
The reasons for adolescent suicide are as follows:
- conflicts with parents or friends;
- difficult family situation;
- humiliation from peers;
- unrequited love.
In addition, an unformed personality is strongly influenced by the media. As a result, suicide often occurs as an imitation of your favorite characters from films or books. Other causes of suicide in adolescents are alcohol, toxic or drug use, and depression. In addition, the death of a family member or close friend or poor academic performance can lead to suicide. For girls, rape or early pregnancy can also lead to suicide. However, suicide is not always a consequence of a tragic incident. Among adolescents, there are gifted individuals who do not fit into the surrounding reality, which makes them feel like outcasts of society. This is what can push them to such a desperate step. The causes of suicide and their prevention are one of the most important problems in psychology. What is suicide and how to avoid it should be taught to children from an early age. Meanwhile, many parents avoid this topic believing that this problem will not affect their child.
Suicide prevention among adolescents is about timely psychological assistance and kind participation. It;s important to know that there are crisis response helpline services for people in distress or despair, for example, Lifeline NI – 0808 808 8000). In addition, one should take into account the high degree of suggestibility of this age category. Teenagers imagine their beautiful young body in a coffin, the grief of loved ones, as well as their guilt. It is important to dispel this myth by explaining and vividly showing how they will look after they are found. When using these methods, it is important to remember that adolescents are extremely sensitive and their reaction to any words can be unpredictable. That is why the issue of prevention of adolescent suicide is so important in modern society.
Suicide and help
It is important to be able to help a person who has admitted his/her intentions. Most often, simple participation and a confidential conversation are needed, in which a person can express all his/her grievances and concerns. Sincere interest on your part and understanding will help you realize that you care about him/her. This feeling is most necessary for a person who has decided to commit suicide. It is necessary to conduct a dialogue in such a way that a person realizes the meaninglessness of his/her act, as well as its sad consequences for people close to him/her. It is important not to express condemnation, but to thank for such frankness, stressing that you will try to help find a way out of the situation. Often, one such sincere conversation helps a person get out of a state of deep depression. And this will already be a chance to help him/her completely forget about his/her intentions.
Take care of yourself and your close people!