Suicide: The Gamble with Death

Suicide: The Gamble with Death

Suicide: The Gamble with Death

Suicide: The Gamble with Death

Excerpt

Suicidal behavior is an exceedingly serious problem. The rate of completed suicide over the nation as a whole is about 10 per 100,000 per year. In other words, in one year, 10 of every 100,000 people kill themselves. Multiply this by the appropriate number for your community and you will find out how many families are disrupted, how many lives prematurely ended by suicide. There are probably about 10 suicide attempts for every completed suicide, which adds up to 110 suicidal acts per 100,000 people every year. So ubiquitous is the impulse to suicide that about 50 percent of the students in a recent survey at the University of Maine had considered, threatened, or actually attempted suicide.

Aside from its effect on the suicidal person's community and family, the rate of suicidal behavior should disturb us all, because it is an index of unhappiness and emotional disorder. No one performs a suicidal act if his life is satisfactory to him. We should be concerned not only with the problem of understanding and preventing suicide, but also with the need for improving the quality of life as it is experienced by the unhappy person. Preventing a suicide is not necessarily a beneficent act if it forces the potential suicide to continue in a life of misery.

This book is directed toward increasing an understanding of the factors that cause suicide. We will present research evidence in a number of areas that are thought to be related to suicidal behavior. As the reader will see research in many of these areas is very difficult to do. For example, when we try to study hereditary factors in suicidal behavior . . .

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