Joel Morales Suicide Case

Suicide is a fatal incident that is unwarranted in an attempt to solve a problem. Due to the high rate of suicide cases, especially in the developed Western states, Schneidman had to come up with ‘suicidology’, a study that holds that the victims of suicide experience a psychological issue prior to commitment of the heinous acts of terminating their own lives.

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The reasons of committing suicide vary significantly amongst people depending on the private matters that compel them to terminate their lives or, in some other cases, kill other people who are closely associated with them. This essay uses the case of Joel Morales, a 12-year old student who committed suicide in East Harlem in New York City, to provide an overview of the dynamics and dilemmas that lead to suicidal lethality amongst individuals in the society.

The Dynamic of Suicide

Shneidman (2004) posits that the dynamic of suicide depends on individual factors that result in terminating one’s own life in the event of seeking a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior states that a person shall not die by suicide unless the individual has the ability to die by suicide or desire to do so (Shneidman, 2004). In the light of this literature, Joel had two simultaneous psychological states that had remained in his conscience for a very long time.

Eventually, this state of mind developed the desire to terminate his own life. In this case, the psychological states form part of the components of the interpersonal-psychological theory that include social alienation and excess burdensomeness. The practicality of committing suicide depends on a person’s ability to overcome self-preservation.

The interpersonal-psychological theory explains ‘suicidology’ by three concepts that include perceived burdensomeness, low belonging, and the acquired capability to bring lethal self-injury.

Suicide and Moral Dilemma

The Joel suicide act can also be justified from another point of view. In this case, the conduct of clinicians is guided by a code of ethics that provides nominal protection for suicidal clients. This form of physician-assisted suicide is known as euthanasia and is used in extreme medical cases where patients suffer from terminal illnesses.

Physician-assisted suicide should be legalized for competent persons to allow for autonomy in making end-of-life decisions. The moral dilemma behind this kind of suicide is that it results in counterarguments and court petitions that regard the practice as murder.

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Characteristics of those who Commit Suicide

According to Brown, Henriques, and Sosdjan (2004), over 60-percent of suicide victims tell someone about their plan and initiative to commit suicide. Firstly, the authors advance that suicide victims are characterized by unendurable psychological pain. When the psychological pain surpasses the tolerable limits of the individual, they tend to end their own lives to evade the painful situation.

Secondly, people who commit suicide have a tendency of seeking solutions to troubling questions that do not seem to have answers. Thirdly, Onkay Ho (2014) reveals that hopelessness is another characteristic of individuals who commit suicide. Hopelessness exhausts the thinking capacities of some individuals. As a result, they terminate their own lives by committing suicide. Lastly, victims of suicide have a tendency of escaping situations that seem intolerable to them.

Similarities between Homicide and Suicide

Homicide and suicide are both acts of taking away a life. As a result, many governments consider such acts as murder. Shneidman (2004) posits that homicide and suicide are heinous acts that are advanced by distressed people who have serious psychological problems that lead them to such actions.

According to the author, the occurrence of suicide and homicide tend to take place around the same geographical area due to common factors such as high poverty levels or unbearable living conditions. These situations lead to counter-reactions by the same society members through heinous acts of homicide, while endeavoring in criminal acts, or suicide, when the situations become intolerable (Owens, Horrocks, & House, 2002).

Use of Triage Assessment Form in Addressing Lethality

The triage assessment form is used to assess the potentiality of an individual in the verge of committing suicide. It assesses the likeliness of an individual to commit suicide (Brown, Henriques, & Sosdjan, 2004). The authors reveal that psychiatrists use the triage assessment form to evaluate their patients through determination of risky psychological problems that may lead to lethality.

A survey that was conducted by Onkay Ho (2014) unveils that 10-percent of any psychological patients within a given clinic think of committing suicide but do not tell the physician or psychiatrist. The triage assessment uses a non-condescending, on judgmental, and matter of fact approach to extort information from a subject; hence, it is considered as an effective measure of dealing with lethal psychological cases such as suicide.


The society has become increasingly complex due to changing times and convolutions that are brought about by shifting generation ideals. As a result, the society encounters interminable social, economic, socio-political, and spiritual dynamics that occur worldwide, especially in the Western states who have recorded high rates of suicide during the past decade. Suicide is a matter that governments should address by offering the necessary support to help the victims of suicide since it is perceived as a psychological problem that may cause more harm than intended if it is left unresolved.

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Brown, G, Henriques, G, & Sosdjan, D. (2004). Suicide Intent and Accurate Expectations of Lethality: Predictors of Medical Lethality of Suicide Attempts. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 72(6), 1170-74.

Onkay Ho, A. (2014). Suicide: Rationality and Responsibility for Life. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 59(3), 141-47.

Owens, D., Horrocks, J., & House, A. (2002). Fatal and non-fatal repetition of self-harm. Systematic review. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 181(1), 193-9.

Shneidman, E. (2004). Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind. New York: Oxford University Press.

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