Understanding and Preventing Suicide: The Development of Self-Destructive Patterns and Ways to Alter Them

Understanding and Preventing Suicide: The Development of Self-Destructive Patterns and Ways to Alter Them

Understanding and Preventing Suicide: The Development of Self-Destructive Patterns and Ways to Alter Them

Understanding and Preventing Suicide: The Development of Self-Destructive Patterns and Ways to Alter Them

Synopsis

Every 18 minutes, there is a suicide attempt somewhere in the United States, with some 30,000 of those resulting in completed suicide each year. Worldwide, there are more than 1 million suicides annually. We know the basic facts: Most of the people were depressed or suffered another mental illness, and many were facing stressful life events with which they could not cope. But is there no way to prevent the tragedy? Author Kristine Bertini, a clinical psychologist, says one of the most effective means may be to understand first how suicidal tendencies and thinking develop, how environment, biology, culture, and societal factors all play a role in predisposing some people to give up hope and see death as the only way to end their suffering. In this book, Bertini explains the development of suicidal thinking and, through patient vignettes, illustrates the ways this thinking develops. She also describes and illustrates signals friends and loved ones as well as professionals can watch for pointing to such thinking, which may be kept secretive by the person at risk, as well as approaches that can be used to alter tendencies and thinking for the person at risk.

Excerpt

The Maine potato is a hearty vegetable. Many Maine farmers leave their potatoes in dark burlap sacks in root cellars while they harvest. When a pinpoint of light emerges through a broken or dirty window in the cellar, the potato will seek this brightness with all its might. The potato’s eye will find the light filtered by the sun and attempt to grow upward toward life.

In an inner city with sidewalks that are crusted over by layers of pavement and cement a sprout of grass will find its way up through a dry crack in the ground. This lone blade of grass will go unnoticed by the daily crowds of people who tramp over it. Yet it reaches up, like a small flag to the heavens, only to be trodden upon again and again. It is determined to have its moment in the light.

In small, dank ponds across the planet tiny amoebic creatures survive by feeding off the decaying substances that fall to the bottom of the pond. Without conscious thought, these creatures automatically seek survival. When the rains dwindle and the pond evaporates, these tiny, nearly invisible creatures seek other moisture to maintain their existence.

Life, even at the most primitive level, seeks to replenish itself and survive. In some of the most devastating circumstances and horrific . . .

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