Suicide is becoming an increasingly serious social problem. With the evolving economy and fierce competition in society, the pressure of living has been on the increase as well. Suicidal behavior is becoming a major cause of death around the globe (Klonsky, May & Saffer, 2016). The understanding of the origin, nature, and mechanism of suicide is thus of crucial importance for solving this problem. In this research essay, a psychological perspective will be taken, to explore the definition, psychological activities, categorization, causes, and prevention of suicide.
Suicide is defined to be a conscious self-destructive behavior of human beings to harm themselves. Suicide can be considered as a special type of murder, with the object being the self. Some researchers believe that suicide happens with people have no control of the means of adaptation to the environment (Klonsky, May & Saffer, 2016). This inability leads to anxiety, frustration, and complete negation of the value of the self.
By losing the fight within and the control over other objects, people who commit suicide reach the brink of losing their minds. This devastation leads them to believe that death is the only way out of their ordeal. According to the World Health Organization, suicide is defined to be the voluntary behavior of human beings, when the consequence of death is fully comprehended, or desired, by them. Every year, there are estimated to be over 800,000 people who manage to kill themselves by suicide (Klonsky, May & Saffer, 2016).
Based on the different criteria, suicide can be categorized. According to the different motivations of suicide, it can be subdivided into avoidance suicide, attacking suicide, sacrifice suicide, and joking suicide (Klonsky, May & Saffer, 2016). These categories are based on the purposes to get rid of sorrows, escape from punishment, seeking revenge, and proving oneself. From the clinical perspective, one of the most widely accepted categorizations of suicides is based on the severity of the results: CS refers to Committed suicide, which means that the people actually manage to kill themselves through the action.
SA is short of Suicide Attempts, which means that people perform certain suicidal actions but do not result in lethal consequences. The last one is SI, Suicide Idea, which is the explicit or implicit expression of the intention to end their lives (Klonsky, May & Saffer, 2016). The advantage of this categorization is that it includes not only the explicit actions and consequences of suicide but also the emerging phases of suicide. The studying of these phases will be helpful in reducing the final number of deaths caused by suicide.
When it comes to the cause of suicide, psychologists have provided various answers. One of the most logical psychological models for suicide is created by Baechler in 1975 and was later improved by Baumeister in 1990 (Baumeister, 1990). This theory contributes the reason for suicide to an Escape from the Self process. This theory believes that only when subjects go through the following process link by link, would suicide be resulted. Firstly, something does not match the expectations of standards of the self. Secondly, the irrational and inappropriate reasoning within, believing that the self is the source of all problems.
Thirdly, subjects begin to question their own abilities, with the emerging emotions of low self-esteem and lack of confidence. Fourthly, negative emotions are created, leading to depression for not accomplishing things up to the expectations and standards. Fifthly, people are becoming more and more short-sighted, focusing too much on the elimination of depression and anxiety, without noticing the disappearance of meaning and logical thinking in the long term.
Finally, the continuous lack of cognitive abilities leads to the loss of meaning in everything in life. People become completely lost, not able to judge things with the normalized system of values (Baumeister, 1990). This makes death a much more easily accepted option for them, as a means to escape from the bad emotions and inner agony.
Although the various psychological theories have explained the cause of suicide effectively, they tend to be much less effective in predicting suicidal behaviors in real clinical practices. This problem is solved by the findings of Van Orden et al. (2010). The theory of Van Orden integrates the different degrees of suicide completion, using a comprehensive list of recorded dangerous factors as the foundation, to identify and prevent strong suicidal tendencies.
Based on interpersonal relationships of people, the three essential components of suicide are the lack of belonging, perception of the self as a burden, and the acquirement of physical suicide abilities. A Venn Diagram is composed based on the three factors, and the overlapping part in the diagram is clearly the most fatal zone Van (Orden et al., 2010). Lack of belonging can also be referred to as loneness.
There are multiple parameters within this element to measure one’s degree of loneness. The perception of self as a burden can lead to self-loathing in the long term. parameters of this element include homelessness, imprisonment, unemployment, illness, redundancy, and burden. These parameters themselves are often interrelated, contributing to suicidal ideas together.
However, the psychological considerations alone are not able to generate enough conditions for suicide to happen. Therefore, the acquirement of physical abilities is the final element. Although the relationships between the three essential elements are explained, their composition is based on empirical evidence and research. This makes the theory by Van Orden et. al. more practical and effective in suicide prevention.
In conclusion, suicide is a complex phenomenon as a result of biological, psychological, and social factors. Different researchers have proposed different models regarding the origin of suicide. Some of the theories, such as the one by Baumeister, focus mainly on explaining the psychological process while overlooking the importance of gathering factual data and derive the specific dangerous factors.
The model proposed by Van Orden is based on interpersonal relationships, which are both high logical, theoretical, and practical. Suicide is found to be more than a psychological escape, but a combined action of loneness, self-loathing, and physical abilities to commit suicide. By targeting each of the three elements, the problem of suicide can be mitigated.
Leave A Comment