Suicide and Suicidal Behavior | Free Essay Example

Suicide and Suicidal Behavior

Words: 834
Topic: Health & Medicine

Marcovitz (2010) defines suicide simply as the act of killing oneself. It is considered a mental condition because it is usually mired with a lot of despair and depression. According to Health Guide (2012), there are several characteristics that a person contemplating suicide exhibits. One such characteristic is the giving away of personal belongings. The person in question has already decided to end his or her life and is, thus, getting rid of everything he or she owned.

Additionally, the person can be very depressed and talk about how ending his or her life would be a better option. The person in question can also become self-destructive and engage in very dangerous activities; they can lose interest in socializing with friends and at times write disturbing messages to their friends or in their notebooks. He or she can also buy poison, guns or a rope for committing the suicide.

James and Gilliland (2012) explain that there are some similarities between suicide and homicide. Homicide is the act of killing another person and suicide is the act of killing oneself. They explain that the similarity comes out in that a suicidal person can also be a homicidal person. For example, there have been numerous cases where a man killed his wife before killing himself. The example shows a man who is suicidal (he killed himself) and he is also homicidal as he also killed his wife.

James and Gilliland (2012) add that approximately 30% of violent people exhibit self-destructive behavior. The scholars explain further that homicidal and suicidal people also have similar intentions and are driven by similar factors. They are both hopeless, desperate and in psychological turmoil. James and Gilliland (2012), however, acknowledge that suicide and homicide are more different than they are similar.

There are numerous psychological theories that have been used to discuss suicide and suicidal behavior. The most common of these theories is the interpersonal psychological theory of suicidal behavior. Marcovitz (2010) explains that the interpersonal-psychological theory of suicidal behavior states that a person will not die by trying to kill himself unless that person is completely sure that they want to die.

Therefore, the desire to die is a critical factor in analyzing suicide. There are people who contemplate suicide, but do not do it. In such cases, the desire to die is minimal as opposed to the desire to live. Similarly, there are people who threaten to kill themselves when they are frustrated or do not get what they want. Such people do not have a desire to die.

They are using the threat to get what they want. They will, thus, not die by suicide. The theory also incorporates the importance of the psychological state of the individual in question. The theory states that desire to die will only occur when an individual weighs two options in his or her mind for a long time.

There are numerous other psychological theories that have been advanced over the years. Another theory is Suicidology. Suicidology is a theory that was developed by Edwin Scheidman. Scheidman argues that the egotic suicide develops after internal conflicts of self-occur. The individual in question goes through all his experiences, his or her current dilemmas and the possible solutions.

His or her ego and superego can cause conflict in terms of the solutions to his or her problems. When this happens, the person becomes depressed and desperate. In turn, he or she becomes suicidal and desires to end his or her conflicted personality (Yousuf, 2011).

Moral dilemma has been used to discourage people from committing suicide. Counselors who have had suicidal patients have pleaded to their morality to stop them from committing the act. For example, telling the person that suicide is wrong as it only satisfies his or her needs and leaves his or her family torn can nudge a person to stop contemplating suicide.

Similarly, using religious factors can also help one decide not to kill himself or herself. For instance, telling the person that committing suicide is a sin can help them rethink their decision. The religious morality card will, however, only work if the person is, or was, religious. Moreover, personal ethics can be used to deter a person who wants to commit suicide. For example, reminding the person of their principles and the things that they love to do can help them change their minds.

In treating patients who want to kill themselves, many doctors have resorted to the use of the triage assessment system. The triage assessment system is a method of determining the precedence of treatment based on the severity of a patient’s condition.

Thus, the treatment of people with suicidal thoughts and tendencies will depend on their level of desire to die. The use of the triage assessment system in addressing lethality is useful. It discourages the physicians to generalize treatment. In turn, this helps the doctor decipher a health plan that is particular to an individual and that is much more capable of working as desired.


Health Guide (2012). Suicide and suicidal behavior. The New York Times.

James, R., & Gilliland, B. (2012). Crisis intervention strategies. Mason, MA: Cengage

Marcovitz, H (2010). Suicide. Edina, MN: ABDO

Yousuf, F. (2011). Theories of suicide.