Lecture + chapter 10 study guide
ProfessorMartha Mc Kay
•Males commit suicide more than females probably because the methods they use get
the job done, but women attempt it more
•Problem among people of Aboriginal descent
•Immigrants in Canada commit suicide less than native-born Canadians
•Older youth commit more suicide
•Types: Death Seekers- who prepare to end their life, writing about it, buying a gun
Death Initiators- think they are just hastening an inevitable death
Death Ignorers- think their death is the beginning to a new life
Death Darers- try to seek attention through their death and make others feel guilty
•Parasuicide- Intentional but non-fatal self-injury
•Understanding causes of suicide hampered by: 1. selective reporting by family
members; 2. most who contemplate do not commit; 3. its relative rarity presents a
challenge for scientific study
•One in four persons committing suicide leaves a note; notes can help us understand,
but in a limited way, and must be interpreted with caution
•In Canada, the McGill Group for Suicide Studies is moving our knowledge forward
•Economic hardship - People who are chronically impoverished or who have recently
lost a job are at increased risk.
•Loss and abuse - People who have experienced a loss or abuse in the distant or
recent past are at increased risk.
•Serious illness – People with serious illnesses are at increased risk.
•Suicide contagion - When one member of a group commits suicide, others are at
increased risk for suicide, perhaps due to “contagion” effects, modelling, increased
acceptability, or impact of the traumatic event on already vulnerable people.
•This clustering is typically sparked by the suicide of someone who is known but
sometimes by the suicide of a celebrity (e.g., Marilyn Monroe, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain)
•Egoistic suicide by people feeling alienated from and unsupported by others
•Anomic suicide by people disoriented by shift of role and perceived worth in society
•Altruistic suicide by people believing that their death will benefit society
Psychodynamic- extreme expression of anger because the love object abandonment
Mental Disorders- increases risk, e.g bipolar, depression etc.
Impulsivity- People who commit suicide generally commit impulsive acts
Cognitive Theories- Hopelessness and dichotomous thinking increase risk for suicide
Genetic- disordered genes increase risk
Neurotransmitter- deficiencies in serotonin lead to impulsivity and violence and suicidal
•Crisis intervention programs, suicide hotlines
•Lithium, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs),
-in special circumstances antipsychotics
•Dialectical behaviour therapy and other psychotherapies
•Guns and suicide
-The mere presence of a firearm in the house appears to be a risk factor for suicide.
-There was an immediate reduction in firearm suicides in Canada after the introduction
of Bill C-51 requiring certification of all firearms.
•Do we have the right to take our lives?
•What about assisted suicide?