Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Suicide Self-Harm Contract

Some people seek to harm themselves when they are severely depressed or, in somecases, kill themselves. It can be quite difficult to understand why people seek todo these things to themselves; therefore, it may be better to have a person who hasthese thoughts and tendencies to speak for themselves.

The above is an example of how someone who is severely depressed mayseek to harm themselves. What must be remembered here is that the self-harmingbehaviour helps the person deal with their depression, negative self-image and stress.Therefore, the self-harming behaviour is symptomatic of an underlying unhappiness.It is difficult to understand why people go further and kill themselves. There is asocietal prohibition on self-killing that stretches far back in time; however, suicidewas not condemned in the West until the fourth century ce, when St. Augustineproclaimed it a crime because it violated the sixth commandment ‘Though shaltnot kill’. It was not until 1961 that suicide (and attempted suicide) ceased to be acriminal offence in the UK.

In 2003, there were recorded 18.1 deaths per 100,000 of the population fromsuicide; men are four times as likely than women to kill themselves, but three timesas many women as men make suicide attempts that do not result in death (Mind2006). This may seem to be a relatively low number; however, each death mayhave been preventable and each one is the centre of a family tragedy. Depressedpeople are the single group that is most at risk of suicide; however, the majorityof people who are depressed do not go on to kill themselves. Approximately, 80%of suicidal people are severely depressed. Those depressed people who ultimatelykill themselves do so at a rate that is 25 times higher than the general population.

There may be several explanations for this phenomenon. Self-killing is such acomplicated behaviour that no one model or concept can encompass it; therefore,we will have to look at some of the main models of suicide.

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