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Suicide Psychology Reasons

Suicide has been viewed as a retaliation for some hurt done as well as to instilfeelings of guilt in others. Related to this is the theory that it is designed to forcelove from others on the part of a dependent partner.It is, however, predominantly viewed as a bid to avoid unacceptable feelings. These are the sort of feelings that may be expressed by the clients requiring care; thesefeelings are the types of feelings that have been dealt with above. An example ofthis is the suicide note to her husband that was left by the novelist Virginia Woolf,who killed herself by drowning on the 28th March 1941. In the letter, she alludes toa functional mental illness when she talks about ‘hearing voices’. The suicide rateamongst those who ‘hear voices’ is significantly higher than the general population. These people are trying to avoid or escape from the symptoms of anillness that has become unacceptable to them. Baumeister holds that people are at a significantly greater risk of suicidewhen they set themselves goals that are unrealistic and unattainable. When theyfail to achieve these goals, they may indulge in self-blaming and view themselvesas being unworthy. Suicide rates are higher in societies that have high expectationsof achievement. The perfectionist, that is a person who setsextremely high standards for themselves, has a higher risk of suicide than thosewho do not have such high expectations. Hopelessness is a strong predictor of suicidal behaviour. Hopelessness is theexpectation that life will be no better in the future than it is now, and that it willnever develop into something more fulfilling, and it is rather awful now from theperspective of the suicidal person. These high levels of hopelessness indicate a riskof suicide that is four times higher than that of the general population. The question that all this raises is: ‘How can suicide be prevented?’ There is acommon myth that talking about suicidal intentions will make the matter worse.This could not be further from the truth: giving people a place and time to talk about their self-harming or suicidal ideas will give them an opportunity to break outof a cycle of secrecy and isolation; it also gives the helping agent a better chance toassess the level of risk that the person is presenting. Mostpeople are ambivalent in their suicidal ideation, that is thinking about self-killing,and allowing them to talk about their feelings will help them explore this. It must be remembered that most (but not all) people who are contemplating suicide are suffering from a mental illness. If the person’s depression is reduced orlessened, the suicide risk will diminish. An accepted strategy for preventing suicide is a threefold model implemented by Shneidman: 1. Reduce the intense psychological pain. 2. Help the person see options other than continued suffering. 3. Encourage the person to pull back, even a little, from the self-destructive act. A scenario taken from Shneidman illustrates this technique in action.

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