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How Does Bullying Cause Suicide

Most Common Causes of Suicide as follow:

Socio-cultural factors

Suicide rates vary across countries. Russia, for example, has an annual rate as high as 40 per 100  000 people, while Greece has a rate of 4 per 100  000. Suicide rates are relatively low among those who are married or co-habiting, and higher among divorcees and social groups under particular pressure. Shahmanesh et al., for example, reported that 19 per cent of sex workers in Goa had made at least one suicide attempt in the three months prior to their survey. This was linked to partner violence, violence from others, entrapment and worsening mental health. Social deprivation combined with high access to alcohol contribute to the relatively high levels among social groups such as American Indian and Alaskan natives. Men are more likely than women to commit suicide (in a ratio of around 5:1), and young men are at particularly high risk. In 2000, UK rates were 11.7 suicides per 100  000 men and 3.3 per 100  000 women  – a substantial difference. Suicide is particularly prevalent among young people, and is the third leading cause of death among Americans aged between 15 and 24 years. Young people may commit suicide as a consequence of abuse, bullying, exam stress and other problems combined with catastrophic thinking, poor coping strategies and low levels of social support. Gay, lesbian or bisexual people are also at particular risk of suicide, with rates nearly two and a half times higher than in their heterosexual counterparts (King et al. 2008). This may be particularly evident among younger people. Remafedi et al. found that 28 per cent of homosexual or bisexual males but only 4 per cent of heterosexual male adolescents had considered or attempted suicide. For females, the corresponding fi gures were 21 and 15 per cent. Among older people, suicide may occur as a consequence of increasing disability: 44 per cent of one sample of elderly people apparently committed suicide to prevent being placed in a nursing home). Suicide among those who have recently been bereaved is also frequent.

A recent phenomenon has been the development of suicide pacts made through the internet, often between people who did not previously know each other. However, this is not a new phenomenon. Although suicide pacts account for less than 1 per cent of the total number of suicides in the UK, one pact occurs, on average, every month. In contrast to the internet pacts, the relationship between individuals in these is typically exclusive, isolated from others, and the immediate trigger is frequently a threat to the continuation of the relationship, such as the impending death of one member. Both people involved typically employ the same method. A more theoretical social model of suicide was developed by Durkheim who identifi ed three types of suicide: anomic, altruistic and egoistic. According to Durkheim, anomic suicide occurs when the social structure in which an individual lives fails to provide suffi cient support for them, and they lose a sense of belonging – a state known as anomie. High levels of anomie occur at times of both societal and personal change, including economic stress, immigration and social unrest.

Altruistic suicide occurs when an individual deliberately sacrif i ces themself for the well-being of others or the community. Perhaps the clearest example of this can be found among suicide bombers who Grimland et al. (2006) argued are not suicidal in a despairing or negative sense, but see their behaviour as a glorious martyrdom, an act of war, bolstered by cultural and religious beliefs (and a period of indoctrination and preparation). Finally, egoistic suicide occurs among those not governed by the norms of society, who are outsiders or loners in a more permanent state of alienation than those who commit anomic suicide.

Psychoanalytic explanations

According to Freud, suicide represents a repressed wish to kill a lost love object, and is an act of revenge. Hendin  identifi ed a number of other psychoanalytic processes that may lead to suicide, including ideas of effecting a rebirth or reunion with a lost object as well as self-punishment and atonement.

Cognitive explanations

The psychological characteristics of individuals who attempt suicide often involve feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, guilt, despair, depressive delusional symptoms, inner restlessness and agitation. Individuals at risk are also likely to have pre-morbid characteristics including high levels of impulsivity, irritability, hostility and a tendency to aggression, as well as a history of alcohol or drug abuse (Dumais et al. 2005). People with low intelligence (Gunnell et al. 2005) and defi cits in memory and problem-solving skills (Schotte and Clum 1987) are also over-represented among those committing suicide, perhaps refl ecting a limited ability to solve problems while going through an acute life crisis or suffering from mental health problems. A more elaborate cognitive model of suicide was developed by Rudd (2000), based on Beck’s model of emotional disorders and his own clinical experience. According to Rudd, the components of the underlying cognitive triad are the self as worthless, unloved, incompetent and helpless, others as rejecting, abusing, judgemental, and the future as hopeless. In contrast to depression, where sadness predominates, the suicidal individual may experience a range of emotions including sadness, guilt and anger.

Thoughts may focus on revenge, but this will not lead directly to suicidal behaviour. Thoughts and emotions associated with suicide occur at the same time as high levels of physiological arousal and agitation: the profoundly depressed nonaroused individual will not have the motivation to attempt suicide. Risk of suicide varies over time, with periods of acute risk interspersed with lower levels of risk. High levels of risk occur when multiple risk factors converge. These may include situational stress, activation of negative schemata, emotional confusion and defi cient coping skills.

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