Suicide: Strategies and Interventions for Reduction and Prevention

Suicide: Strategies and Interventions for Reduction and Prevention

Suicide: Strategies and Interventions for Reduction and Prevention

Suicide: Strategies and Interventions for Reduction and Prevention

Synopsis

All practitioners working in the caring and helping professions face many challenges and questions when dealing with suicidal clients: Is this client being serious? Can I do more? What should I do? Should I refer on? Should I break confidentiality? Have I assessed this client correctly? Both experienced practitioners and trainees wish to have more knowledge about assessing and dealing with suicidal clients.

Suicide: Strategies and Interventions for Reduction and Preventionexamines myths about suicide, explores facts and statistics at national and international levels, and uses client cases to uncover thoughts leading to suicidal behaviour. The editor offers an insight into what can be done in the community, and within therapeutic settings when working with this challenging client group. Contributions are divided into four parts, covering:

  • suicide: statistics, research, theory and interventions
  • personal experience of suicide
  • three therapeutic approaches to prevent suicide
  • group interventions.

Featuring chapters from a range of experienced practitioners, this book provides a wealth of information on strategies and possible interventions. The addition of a self-harm management plan, assessment checklists, and list of useful organizations makes it essential reading for both mental health professionals, and those in training.

Excerpt

The author William Styron, in his book Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness (New York, 1992), describes his own experiences of being clinically depressed:

Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive in
the way it becomes known to the self … as to verge close to being
beyond description. It thus remains nearly incomprehensible to those
who have not experienced it in its extreme mode, although the gloom,
‘the blues’ which people go through occasionally and associate with the
general hassle of everyday existence are of such prevalence that they do
give many individuals a hint of the illness in its catastrophic form.

(p. 7)

We are seeing a rise in depression in society generally since the mid-1990s because of the increases in pressures and insecurities of people in the workplace, in the family and in almost all walks of life, backed by the break-up of the extended family and the communities who were once the ‘natural counsellors’ to help us through life’s problems. With these increasing stresses and strains manifesting themselves through depression, we are also seeing an increase in suicide attempts, as individuals cry for help or look for what they think is the easy solution to what they perceive to be intractable personal problems. This book helps us all understand the issues surrounding the socially taboo topic of suicide. It highlights not only the extent and costs of it to society but also what strategies work and how we might prevent suicides in the future, from leading researchers and practitioners in the field. It explores the definitions, statistics and interventions for suicides internationally, explores personality and cognitive styles of suicidal behaviour, assessing the risks and the various therapeutic approaches available to prevent it (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), rational emotive therapy, psychodynamic approaches, solution-focused approaches).

one
Existentialism and its heritage

Existentialism, perhaps to an extent unprecedented in the history of philosophy, has managed to capture the attention of the general public. Estimates of the number of people at Jean-Paul Sartre’s funeral in 1980 vary from 50,000 to 100,000, and this was well after his cultural and intellectual heyday. Simone de Beauvoir’s famous treatise on the situation of women, The Second Sex, has been one of the most widely read non-fiction books of the twentieth century. Existential plays and novels – in particular Sartre’s Nausea and Albert Camus’s The Outsider – have been read voraciously and critically acclaimed. Sartre and his more academically inclined colleague Maurice Merleau-Ponty were the co-editors of the influential magazine Les Temps modernes, which considered all things philosophical, political and aesthetic, providing an intellectual point of reference for much of France. Without quite the same mainstream accessibility, or the literary bent (notwithstanding his preoccupation with poetry), Martin Heidegger has been enormously influential on generations of philosophers, as well as people working in cognitive science and artificial intelligence, and his work has helped to spawn at least two very significant contemporary philosophical movements: hermeneutics and deconstruction.

There are obviously many reasons for this primarily philosophical phenomenon capturing the attention of the public in the way that existentialism did, not least the Second World War and the German occupation of France, which intensified existential concerns with freedom, responsibility and death. The literary manifestations of existentialism also allowed a greater proportion of people to possess at least a tentative . . .

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