Suicide
Overview
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder, historically known as manic–depressive disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or...

, schizophrenia
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

, alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

, or drug abuse
Drug abuse
Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, refers to a maladaptive pattern of use of a substance that is not considered dependent. The term "drug abuse" does not exclude dependency, but is otherwise used in a similar manner in nonmedical contexts...

. Pressures or misfortunes such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships often play a significant role.

Over one million people die by suicide every year. The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO) estimates that it is the thirteenth leading cause of death worldwide and the National Safety Council rates it sixth in the United States.
Quotations

I believe often that death is good medical treatment because it can achieve what all the medical advances and technology cannot achieve today, and that is stop the suffering of the patient.

Christiaan Barnard|Christiaan Barnard, cardiac surgeon

A long illness seems to be placed between life and death, in order to make death a comfort both to those who die and to those who remain.

Jean de La Bruyere (1645–1696)

死神の附いた耳へは、意見も道理も入るまいとは思へど、さりとは愚痴の至り

To the ears of one possessed by the God of Death, reason and objections seem like so many idle complaints.

Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank – but that's not the same thing.

Joseph Conrad

Death is my final civil liberty, and I do not choose to surrender it to the state, a church or a physician.

Frederick Ellis

We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Ben Franklin

The Wood of Suicides has changed since my last visit to Hell. I remember it as a tiny grove. Now it resembles a forest.

Dream; Neil Gaiman, The Sandman (Vertigo)|The Sandman 4

Encyclopedia
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder, historically known as manic–depressive disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or...

, schizophrenia
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

, alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

, or drug abuse
Drug abuse
Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, refers to a maladaptive pattern of use of a substance that is not considered dependent. The term "drug abuse" does not exclude dependency, but is otherwise used in a similar manner in nonmedical contexts...

. Pressures or misfortunes such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships often play a significant role.

Over one million people die by suicide every year. The World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO) estimates that it is the thirteenth leading cause of death worldwide and the National Safety Council rates it sixth in the United States. It is a leading cause of death among teenagers and adults under 35. The rate of suicide is far higher in men than in women, with males worldwide three to four times more likely to kill themselves than females. There are an estimated 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempted suicides every year worldwide.

Views on suicide have been influenced by broader cultural views on existential themes such as religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

, honor, and the meaning of life
Meaning of life
The meaning of life constitutes a philosophical question concerning the purpose and significance of life or existence in general. This concept can be expressed through a variety of related questions, such as "Why are we here?", "What is life all about?", and "What is the meaning of it all?" It has...

. The Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him...

 traditionally consider suicide an offense towards God
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

 due to the belief in the sanctity of life. It was often regarded as a serious crime
Legal views of suicide
Suicide has historically been treated as a criminal matter in many parts of the world. While it is technically true that a person who has successfully committed suicide is beyond the reach of the law, there could still be legal consequences in the cases of treatment of the corpse or the fate of the...

 and that view remains commonplace in modern Western thought. However, before the rise of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, suicide was not seen as automatically immoral in ancient Greek and Roman
Suicide in antiquity
Suicide was a widespread occurrence in antiquity. There were many different forms used and many different reasons for committing suicide. Because taking one’s own life is morally confrontational, there are many different view points on suicide...

 culture. Conversely, during the samurai
Samurai
is the term for the military nobility of pre-industrial Japan. According to translator William Scott Wilson: "In Chinese, the character 侍 was originally a verb meaning to wait upon or accompany a person in the upper ranks of society, and this is also true of the original term in Japanese, saburau...

 era in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, seppuku
Seppuku
is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies , or as a form of capital punishment...

 was respected as a means of atonement for failure or as a form of protest. Sati
Sati (practice)
For other uses, see Sati .Satī was a religious funeral practice among some Indian communities in which a recently widowed woman either voluntarily or by use of force and coercion would have immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre...

 is a Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 funeral
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

 practice, now outlawed, in which the widow was expected to immolate
Self-immolation
Self-immolation refers to setting oneself on fire, often as a form of protest or for the purposes of martyrdom or suicide. It has centuries-long traditions in some cultures, while in modern times it has become a type of radical political protest...

 herself on her husband's funeral pyre, either willingly or under pressure from the family and society. In the 20th and 21st centuries, suicide in the form of self-immolation
Self-immolation
Self-immolation refers to setting oneself on fire, often as a form of protest or for the purposes of martyrdom or suicide. It has centuries-long traditions in some cultures, while in modern times it has become a type of radical political protest...

 has been used as a medium of protest, and the form of kamikaze
Kamikaze
The were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy as many warships as possible....

 and suicide bombings as a military or terrorist tactic.

Medically assisted suicide
Assisted suicide
Assisted suicide is the common term for actions by which an individual helps another person voluntarily bring about his or her own death. "Assistance" may mean providing one with the means to end one's own life, but may extend to other actions. It differs to euthanasia where another person ends...

 (euthanasia
Euthanasia
Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

, or the right to die
Right to die
The right to die is the ethical or institutional entitlement of the individual to commit suicide or to undergo voluntary euthanasia. Possession of this right is often understood to mean that a person with a terminal illness should be allowed to commit suicide or assisted suicide or to decline...

) is a controversial issue in the modern ethics landscape
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

. The defining characteristic is the focus on people who are terminally ill
Terminal illness
Terminal illness is a medical term popularized in the 20th century to describe a disease that cannot be cured or adequately treated and that is reasonably expected to result in the death of the patient within a short period of time. This term is more commonly used for progressive diseases such as...

, in extreme pain, or possessing (actual or perceived) minimal quality of life resulting from an injury or illness.

Self-sacrifice on behalf of another is not necessarily considered suicide; the subjective goal is not to end one's own life, but rather to save the life of another. However, in Émile Durkheim's theory, such acts are termed "altruistic suicides."

Classification






























Type
Description
Euthanasia
Euthanasia
Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

Individuals who wish to end their own lives may enlist the assistance of another party to achieve death. The other person, usually a family member or physician, may help carry out the act when the individual lacks the physical capacity to do so alone, even if supplied with the means. Assisted suicide is a contentious moral and political issue in many countries, as seen in the scandal surrounding Dr. Jack Kevorkian
Jack Kevorkian
Jacob "Jack" Kevorkian , commonly known as "Dr. Death", was an American pathologist, euthanasia activist, painter, composer and instrumentalist. He is best known for publicly championing a terminal patient's right to die via physician-assisted suicide; he said he assisted at least 130 patients to...

, a US medical practitioner
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 who supported euthanasia
Euthanasia
Euthanasia refers to the practice of intentionally ending a life in order to relieve pain and suffering....

 and was convicted of having helped patients end their own lives, for which served an eight year prison term.
Murder–suicide
A murder–suicide is an act in which an individual kills one or more other persons immediately before or at the same time as him or herself. The motivation for the murder in murder–suicide can be purely criminal in nature or be perceived by the perpetrator as an act of care for loved ones in the context of severe depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

.
Suicide attack
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

A suicide attack is an act in which an attacker perpetrates an act of violence against others, typically to achieve a military or political goal, which simultaneously results in his or her own death. Suicide bombings are often regarded as an act of terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 by the targeted community. Historical examples include the assassination
Assassination
To carry out an assassination is "to murder by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." Alternatively, assassination may be defined as "the act of deliberately killing someone, especially a public figure, usually for hire or for political reasons."An assassination may be...

 of Czar Alexander II
Alexander II of Russia
Alexander II , also known as Alexander the Liberator was the Emperor of the Russian Empire from 3 March 1855 until his assassination in 1881...

, the kamikaze
Kamikaze
The were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy as many warships as possible....

 attacks launched by Japanese air pilots during the Second World War, and larger scale attacks, such as the September 11th attacks.
Mass suicide
Mass suicide
- Examples :Mass suicide sometimes occurs in religious or cultic settings. Defeated groups may resort to mass suicide rather than being captured. Suicide pacts are a form of mass suicide unconnected to cults or war that are sometimes planned or carried out by small groups of frustrated people...

Some suicides are performed under social pressure
Peer pressure
Peer pressure refers to the influence exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitudes, values, or behavior in order to conform to group norms. Social groups affected include membership groups, when the individual is "formally" a member , or a social clique...

 or coordinated among a group of individuals. Mass suicides can take place with as few as two people, often referred to as a suicide pact
Suicide pact
A suicide pact is an agreed plan between two or more individuals to commit suicide. The plan may be to die together, or separately and closely timed. Suicide pacts are important concepts in the study of suicide, and have occurred throughout history, as well as in fiction.Suicide pacts are generally...

. An example of a larger group is the 1978 "Jonestown
Jonestown
Jonestown was the informal name for the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project, an intentional community in northwestern Guyana formed by the Peoples Temple led by Jim Jones. It became internationally notorious when, on November 18, 1978, 918 people died in the settlement as well as in a nearby...

" cult suicide
Cult suicide
A cult suicide is a term used to describe the mass suicide by the members of groups that have been considered cults. In some cases, all or nearly all members have committed suicide at the same time and place. Groups that have committed such mass suicides and that have been called cults include...

, in which 918 members of the Peoples Temple
Peoples Temple
Peoples Temple was a religious organization founded in 1955 by Jim Jones that, by the mid-1970s, included over a dozen locations in California including its headquarters in San Francisco...

, an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 cult
Cult
The word cult in current popular usage usually refers to a group whose beliefs or practices are considered abnormal or bizarre. The word originally denoted a system of ritual practices...

 led by Jim Jones
Jim Jones
James Warren "Jim" Jones was the founder and leader of the Peoples Temple, which is best known for the November 18, 1978 mass suicide of 909 Temple members in Jonestown, Guyana along with the killings of five other people at a nearby airstrip.Jones was born in Indiana and started the Temple in...

, ended their lives by drinking grape Flavor Aid
Flavor Aid
Flavor Aid is a non-carbonated soft drink beverage made by Jel Sert in West Chicago, Illinois, introduced in 1929. It is sold throughout the United States as an unsweetened powdered concentrate drink mix, similar to Kool-Aid drink mix.-Flavors:...

 laced with cyanide
Potassium cyanide
Potassium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula KCN. This colorless crystalline compound, similar in appearance to sugar, is highly soluble in water. Most KCN is used in gold mining, organic synthesis, and electroplating. Smaller applications include jewelry for chemical gilding and...

.
Suicide pact
Suicide pact
A suicide pact is an agreed plan between two or more individuals to commit suicide. The plan may be to die together, or separately and closely timed. Suicide pacts are important concepts in the study of suicide, and have occurred throughout history, as well as in fiction.Suicide pacts are generally...

A suicide pact describes the suicides of two or more individuals in an agreed upon plan. The plan may be to die together, or separately and closely timed. Suicide pacts are generally distinct from mass suicides in that the latter refers to a larger number of people who kill themselves together for a common ideological reason, often within a religious, political, military or paramilitary context. In contrast, suicide pacts typically involve small groups of more intimately related people (commonly spouses, romantic partners, family members, or friends), whose motivations are intensely personal and individual.
Defiance or protest

Suicide is sometimes committed as an act of defiance or political protest such as the recent suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi
Mohamed Bouazizi
Mohamed Bouazizi was a Tunisian street vendor who set himself on fire on 17 December 2010, in protest of the confiscation of his wares and the harassment and humiliation that he reported was inflicted on him by a municipal official and her aides...

 in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 whose treatment at the hands of the authorities led to a revolt that overthrew the ruling regime aand touched off the Arab Spring
Arab Spring
The Arab Spring , otherwise known as the Arab Awakening, is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world that began on Saturday, 18 December 2010...

. During the sectarian strife in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 known as "The Troubles
The Troubles
The Troubles was a period of ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland which spilled over at various times into England, the Republic of Ireland, and mainland Europe. The duration of the Troubles is conventionally dated from the late 1960s and considered by many to have ended with the Belfast...

" a hunger strike was launched by the provisional IRA, demanding that their prisoners be reclassified as prisoners of war rather than as terrorists. The infamous 1981 hunger strikes
1981 Irish hunger strike
The 1981 Irish hunger strike was the culmination of a five-year protest during The Troubles by Irish republican prisoners in Northern Ireland. The protest began as the blanket protest in 1976, when the British government withdrew Special Category Status for convicted paramilitary prisoners...

, led by Bobby Sands
Bobby Sands
Robert Gerard "Bobby" Sands was an Irish volunteer of the Provisional Irish Republican Army and member of the United Kingdom Parliament who died on hunger strike while imprisoned in HM Prison Maze....

 resulted in 10 deaths. The cause of death was recorded as "starvation, self-imposed" rather than suicide by the coroner
Coroner
A coroner is a government official who* Investigates human deaths* Determines cause of death* Issues death certificates* Maintains death records* Responds to deaths in mass disasters* Identifies unknown dead* Other functions depending on local laws...

; this was modified to simply "starvation" on the death certificates after protest from the deceased striker's families.
Dutiful suicide

Dutiful suicide is an act of fatal self violence at one's own hands done in the belief that it will secure a greater good, rather than to escape harsh or impossible conditions. It can be voluntary, to relieve some dishonor or punishment, or imposed by threats of death or reprisals on one's family or reputation as in the forced suicide of German general Erwin Rommel
Erwin Rommel
Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel , popularly known as the Desert Fox , was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought....

 during World War II. He was found to have foreknowledge of the July 20 Plot
July 20 Plot
On 20 July 1944, an attempt was made to assassinate Adolf Hitler, Führer of the Third Reich, inside his Wolf's Lair field headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia. The plot was the culmination of the efforts of several groups in the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi-led German government...

 on Hitler's life and was threatened with public trial
Public trial
Public trial or open trial is a trial open to public, as opposed to the secret trial. The term should not be confused with show trial.-United States:...

, execution, and reprisals on his family unless he took his own life. It is a traditional practice in some cultures, such as the heavily ritualized Japanese custom of seppuku
Seppuku
is a form of Japanese ritual suicide by disembowelment. Seppuku was originally reserved only for samurai. Part of the samurai bushido honor code, seppuku was either used voluntarily by samurai to die with honor rather than fall into the hands of their enemies , or as a form of capital punishment...

.
Escape

In extenuating situations where continuing to live would be intolerable, some people use suicide as a means of escape. Some inmates in Nazi
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 concentration camps are known to have killed themselves by deliberately touching the electrified fences.
A person who has committed a crime may commit suicide in order to escape disgrace, prosecution, capture, or incarceration
Incarceration
Incarceration is the detention of a person in prison, typically as punishment for a crime .People are most commonly incarcerated upon suspicion or conviction of committing a crime, and different jurisdictions have differing laws governing the function of incarceration within a larger system of...

. Nazi leader Hermann Göring
Hermann Göring
Hermann Wilhelm Göring, was a German politician, military leader, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. He was a veteran of World War I as an ace fighter pilot, and a recipient of the coveted Pour le Mérite, also known as "The Blue Max"...

 committed suicide with cyanide
Potassium cyanide
Potassium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula KCN. This colorless crystalline compound, similar in appearance to sugar, is highly soluble in water. Most KCN is used in gold mining, organic synthesis, and electroplating. Smaller applications include jewelry for chemical gilding and...

 capsules rather than be hanged after his conviction at the Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials
The Nuremberg Trials were a series of military tribunals, held by the victorious Allied forces of World War II, most notable for the prosecution of prominent members of the political, military, and economic leadership of the defeated Nazi Germany....

. Some shooting sprees, including the school shootings at Columbine High School
Columbine High School massacre
The Columbine High School massacre occurred on Tuesday, April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, Colorado, United States, near Denver and Littleton. Two senior students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing 12...

 and Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech massacre
The Virginia Tech massacre was a school shooting that took place on April 16, 2007, on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, United States. In two separate attacks, approximately two hours apart, the perpetrator, Seung-Hui Cho, killed 32 people...

, concluded with the perpetrators committing suicide.

Risk factors

Clinical studies have shown that underlying mental disorders are present in 87% to 98% of suicides, however there are a number of other factors are correlated with suicide risk, including, drug addiction, availability of means, family history of suicide, previous head injury

Socio-economic factors such as unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

, poverty
Poverty
Poverty is the lack of a certain amount of material possessions or money. Absolute poverty or destitution is inability to afford basic human needs, which commonly includes clean and fresh water, nutrition, health care, education, clothing and shelter. About 1.7 billion people are estimated to live...

, homelessness
Homelessness
Homelessness describes the condition of people without a regular dwelling. People who are homeless are unable or unwilling to acquire and maintain regular, safe, and adequate housing, or lack "fixed, regular, and adequate night-time residence." The legal definition of "homeless" varies from country...

, and discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 may trigger suicidal thoughts. Poverty may not be a direct cause but it can increase the risk of suicide, as impoverished individuals are a major risk group for depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

. A history a childhood physical or sexual abuse or time spent in foster care
Foster care
Foster care is the term used for a system in which a minor who has been made a ward is placed in the private home of a state certified caregiver referred to as a "foster parent"....

.

Hopelessness, the feeling that there is no prospect of improvement in one's situation is a strong indicator of suicide with the results of one study showing that 91% of those who scored a 10 or higher on the Beck Hopelessness Scale
Beck Hopelessness Scale
The Beck Hopelessness Scale is a 20-item self-report inventory developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck that was designed to measure three major aspects of hopelessness: feelings about the future, loss of motivation, and expectations...

 would eventually commit suicide. Perceived burdensomeness a feeling that one's existence is a burden to others such as family members is often coupled with hoplessness as are the feelings of loneliness, either subjectively (i.e., the feeling), or objectively (i.e., living alone or being without friends and lacking social support) and the feeling of not belonging as strong mediators of suicidal ideation.

Advocacy of suicide
Advocacy of suicide
Advocacy of suicide has occurred in many cultures and subcultures. Confucianism holds that one should give up one's life, if necessary, either passively or actively, for the sake of upholding the cardinal moral values of ren and yi...

 has been cited as a contributing factor. Intelligence may also be a factor. Initially proposed as a part of an evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology
Evolutionary psychology is an approach in the social and natural sciences that examines psychological traits such as memory, perception, and language from a modern evolutionary perspective. It seeks to identify which human psychological traits are evolved adaptations, that is, the functional...

 explanation, which posited a minimum intelligence required for one to commit suicide, the positive correlation between IQ and suicide has been replicated in a number of studies. Some scientists doubt however that intelligence can be a cause of suicide, and intelligence is no longer a predictor of suicide when regressed with national religiousness and perceptions of personal health. According to the American Psychiatric Association
American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the main professional organization of psychiatrists and trainee psychiatrists in the United States, and the most influential worldwide. Its some 38,000 members are mainly American but some are international...

, "religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation." Moreover, individuals with no religious affiliation had fewer moral objections to suicide than believers.

One study found that a lack of social support, a deficit in feelings of belongingness and living alone were crucial predictors of a suicide attempt. One study found that among prison inmates, suicide was more likely among inmates who had committed a violent crime.

Medical conditions

In various studies a significant association was found between suicidality and underlying medical conditions including chronic pain, mild brain injury, (MBI) or traumatic brain injury (TBI) The prevalence of increased suicidality persisted after adjusting for depressive illness and alcohol abuse. In patients with more than one medical condition the risk was particulaly high, suggesting a need for increased screening for suicidality in general medical settings.

Sleep disturbances such as insomnia
Insomnia
Insomnia is most often defined by an individual's report of sleeping difficulties. While the term is sometimes used in sleep literature to describe a disorder demonstrated by polysomnographic evidence of disturbed sleep, insomnia is often defined as a positive response to either of two questions:...

 and sleep apnea
Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by abnormal pauses in breathing or instances of abnormally low breathing, during sleep. Each pause in breathing, called an apnea, can last from a few seconds to minutes, and may occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Similarly, each abnormally low...

 have been cited in various studies as risk indicators for depression and suicide. in some instances the sleep disturbance itself may be the risk factor independent of depression.

A careful medical evaluation is recommended for all people presenting with psychiatric symptoms as many medical conditions present with psychiatric symptomatology. The major medical conditions presenting with psychiatric symptoms in order of frequency were infectious, pulmonary, thyroid, diabetic, hematopoietic, hepatic and CNS diseases.
Conservative estimates are, that 10% of all psychological symptoms may be due to undiagnosed medical conditions with the results of one study, suggesting that about 50% of individuals with a serious mental illness "have general medical conditions that are largely undiagnosed and untreated and may cause or exacerbate psychiatric symptoms"

Mental disorders

Certain mental disorders are often present at the time of suicide. It is estimated that from 87% to 98% of suicides are committed by people with some type of mental disorder. Broken down by type:
mood disorders are present in 30%, substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

 in 18%, schizophrenia
Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of thought processes and of emotional responsiveness. It most commonly manifests itself as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, or disorganized speech and thinking, and it is accompanied by significant social...

 in 14%, and personality disorders in 13% of suicides. About 5% of people with schizophrenia die of suicide. Major depression and alcoholism are the specific disorders most strongly correlated with suicide risk. Risk is greatest during the early stages of illness among people with mood disorder
Mood disorder
Mood disorder is the term designating a group of diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classification system where a disturbance in the person's mood is hypothesized to be the main underlying feature...

s, such as major depression or bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder, historically known as manic–depressive disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or...

.

Depression is among the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric disorders; increasingly diagnosed across various segments of the worldwide population. 17.6 million Americans are affected each year; approximately 1 in 6 people. Within the next twenty years, depression is expected to become the leading cause of disability in developed nations
Developed country
A developed country is a country that has a high level of development according to some criteria. Which criteria, and which countries are classified as being developed, is a contentious issue...

 and the second leading cause of disability worldwide.
While the psychological and medical communities no longer classify acts of self-harm
Self-harm
Self-harm or deliberate self-harm includes self-injury and self-poisoning and is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue most often done without suicidal intentions. These terms are used in the more recent literature in an attempt to reach a more neutral terminology...

 as suicide attempts, recent research has indicated that the presence of self-injurious behavior may be correlated to increased suicide risk. While there is a correlation between self-harm and suicide, it is not believed to be causal; both are most likely a joint effect of depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

. This may also be classified as Deliberate self-harm and is most common in younger people but has been increasing in recent years in people of all ages.

Most people who attempt suicide do not complete the act on their first attempt. However, a history of suicide attempts is correlated with increased risk of eventual completion of a suicide.

Biology

Some mental disorders identified as risk factors for suicide often may have an underlying biological basis.
Serotonin
Serotonin
Serotonin or 5-hydroxytryptamine is a monoamine neurotransmitter. Biochemically derived from tryptophan, serotonin is primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract, platelets, and in the central nervous system of animals including humans...

 is a vital brain neurotransmitter
Neurotransmitter
Neurotransmitters are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse. Neurotransmitters are packaged into synaptic vesicles clustered beneath the membrane on the presynaptic side of a synapse, and are released into the synaptic cleft, where they bind to...

; in those who have attempted suicide it has been found that they have lower serotonin levels, and individuals who have completed suicide have the lowest levels. This dysregulation in the serotonin pathway has been identified, in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex
Ventromedial prefrontal cortex
The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is a part of the prefrontal cortex in the mammalian brain. The ventral medial prefrontal is located in the frontal lobe and is implicated in the processing of risk, fear, and in decision making.- Anatomy :...

. This alteration in the brain has been found to be a risk factor for suicide independent of a history of a major depression "indicating that it is involved in the predisposition to suicide in many psychiatric disorders."

There is evidence that there may be an underlying neurobiological basis for suicide risk independent of the inheritable genetic factors responsible for the major psychiatric disorders associated with suicide. Genetic inheritance
Genetics
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 accounts for roughly 30–50% of the variance
Variance
In probability theory and statistics, the variance is a measure of how far a set of numbers is spread out. It is one of several descriptors of a probability distribution, describing how far the numbers lie from the mean . In particular, the variance is one of the moments of a distribution...

 in suicide risk between individuals. Having a parent who has committed suicide is a strong predictor of suicide attempts.

Epigenetics
Epigenetics
In biology, and specifically genetics, epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence – hence the name epi- -genetics...

, the study of changes in genetic expression in response to environmental factors which do not alter the underlying DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

, may also play a role in determining suicide risk.

Perceived burdensomeness to others

Several studies have found perceived burdensomeness to others to be a particularly strong risk factor. It also differentiates between attempted vs. completed suicide and predicts lethality of suicide method unlike feelings of hopelessness and emotional pain. Likely related to this, completed suicides are characterized by altruistic feelings while non-lethal self-injuries are characterized by feelings of anger or self-punishment.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

 is the second most common risk factor
Risk factor
In epidemiology, a risk factor is a variable associated with an increased risk of disease or infection. Sometimes, determinant is also used, being a variable associated with either increased or decreased risk.-Correlation vs causation:...

 for suicide after major depression and bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder or bipolar affective disorder, historically known as manic–depressive disorder, is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a category of mood disorders defined by the presence of one or more episodes of abnormally elevated energy levels, cognition, and mood with or without one or...

. Both chronic substance misuse as well as acute substance abuse are associated with suicide. This is attributed to the intoxicating, disinhibiting, and dissociative effects of many psychoactive substances. When combined with personal grief, such as bereavement, the risk of suicide is greatly increased. More than 50% of suicides have some relation to alcohol or drug use and up to 25% of suicides are committed by drug addicts and alcoholics. This figure is even higher with alcohol or drug use among adolescents, playing a role in up to 70% of suicides. It has been recommended that all drug addicts or alcoholics undergo investigation for suicidal thoughts due to their high risk of suicide. An investigation in the New York Prison Service found that 90% of inmates who committed suicide had a history of substance abuse.

















Substance abused
Effects related to suicide
Cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

Misuse of drugs such as cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 have a high correlation with suicide. Suicide is most likely to occur during the "crash" or withdrawal phase in chronic cocaine-dependent users. Polysubstance misuse is more often associated with suicide in younger adults, whereas suicide from alcoholism is more common in older adults. In San Diego it was found that 30% of suicides by people under the age of 30 had used cocaine. In New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in the early 1990s, during the height of a crack
Crack cocaine
Crack cocaine is the freebase form of cocaine that can be smoked. It may also be termed rock, hard, iron, cavvy, base, or just crack; it is the most addictive form of cocaine. Crack rocks offer a short but intense high to smokers...

 epidemic, 1 in 5 people who committed suicide were found to have recently consumed cocaine. The "come down" or withdrawal phase of cocaine use can result in intense, acute depressive symptoms as well as other distressing mental effects, all of which contribute to an increased risk of suicide.
Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is a psychostimulant of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs...

Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine is a psychostimulant of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of psychoactive drugs...

 use has a strong association with depression and suicide as well as a range of other adverse effects on physical and mental health.
Opioids
Heroin users have a death rate nearly 13 times that of their non-using peers. Deaths among heroin users attributed to suicide range from 3% to 35%, though determining the difference between a suicide and an accidental overdose can be impossible without evidence of state of mind. Overall, heroin users are 14 times more likely than their non-using peers to die from suicide. Major depressive disorder was found in 25% of entrants to treatment for heroin dependence in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

.
Benzodiazepines
Chronic use or abuse of prescribed benzodiazepine
Benzodiazepine
A benzodiazepine is a psychoactive drug whose core chemical structure is the fusion of a benzene ring and a diazepine ring...

s is associated with depression as well as increased suicide risk. Care should be taken when prescribing to at-risk individuals and patient populations. Depressed adolescents who were taking benzodiazepines were found to have a greatly increased risk of self harm or suicide, though the sample size in this study was too small to provide generalizable conclusions. The effects of benzodiazepines in individuals under the age of 18 is not well understood. Additional caution may be required for depressed adolescents using benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepine dependence
Benzodiazepine dependence
Benzodiazepine dependence or benzodiazepine addiction is a condition during which a person is dependent on benzodiazepine drugs. Dependence can be either a psychological dependence, physical dependence, or a combination of the two...

 often results in an increasingly deteriorating clinical picture which includes social deterioration leading to comorbid alcoholism
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

 and drug abuse
Drug abuse
Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, refers to a maladaptive pattern of use of a substance that is not considered dependent. The term "drug abuse" does not exclude dependency, but is otherwise used in a similar manner in nonmedical contexts...

. Suicide is a common outcome of chronic benzodiazepine dependence. Benzodiazepine misuse or misuse of other CNS depressants increases the risk of suicide in drug misusers. 11% of males and 23% of females with a sedative
Sedative
A sedative or tranquilizer is a substance that induces sedation by reducing irritability or excitement....

 hypnotic
Hypnotic
Hypnotic drugs are a class of psychoactives whose primary function is to induce sleep and to be used in the treatment of insomnia and in surgical anesthesia...

 misuse habit commit suicide. Benzodiazepine withdrawal
Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome
Benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome—often abbreviated to benzo withdrawal—is the cluster of symptoms which appear when a person who has taken benzodiazepines long term and has developed benzodiazepine dependence stops taking benzodiazepine drug or during dosage reductions...

 also leads to an increased risk of suicide.
Cigarette smoking
There have been various studies showing a positive link between smoking, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. In a study conducted among nurses, those smoking between 1 to 24 cigarettes per day had twice the suicide risk; 25 cigarettes or more, 4 times the suicide risk, as compared with those who had never smoked. In a study of 300,000 male U.S. Army soldiers, a definitive link between suicide and smoking was observed with those soldiers smoking over a pack a day having twice the suicide rate of non-smokers.
Alcohol
Alcohol
In chemistry, an alcohol is an organic compound in which the hydroxy functional group is bound to a carbon atom. In particular, this carbon center should be saturated, having single bonds to three other atoms....

Alcohol misuse is associated with a number of mental health disorders, and alcoholics have a very high suicide rate. It has been found that drinking 6 drinks or more per day results in a sixfold increased risk of suicide. High rates of major depressive disorder occur in heavy drinkers and those who misuse alcohol. Controversy has previously surrounded whether those who misused alcohol who developed major depressive disorder were self medicating
Self Medication
Self Medication is an album by the New York City ska band The Slackers. It was released on Indication Records in 2008 .-Track listing:# "Every Day Is Sunday" – 2:35# "Don't You Want a Man" – 3:30...

 (which may be true in some cases) but recent research has now concluded that chronic excessive alcohol intake itself directly causes the development of major depressive disorder in a significant number of alcoholics.


Problem gambling

Problem gambling is often associated with increased suicidal ideation
Suicidal ideation
Suicidal ideation is a common medical term for thoughts about suicide, which may be as detailed as a formulated plan, without the suicidal act itself. Although most people who undergo suicidal ideation do not commit suicide, some go on to make suicide attempts...

 and attempts compared to the general population.

Early onset of problem gambling increases the lifetime risk of suicide. However, gambling-related suicide attempts are usually made by older people with problem gambling. Both comorbid substance use and comorbid mental disorders increase the risk of suicide in people with problem gambling.

A 2010 Australian hospital study found that 17% of suicidal patients admitted to the Alfred Hospital
The Alfred Hospital
The Alfred, also known as Alfred Hospital or The Alfred Hospital, is a major hospital in Melbourne, Victoria. It is the second oldest hospital in Victoria, and the oldest Melbourne hospital still operating on its original site...

's emergency department were problem gamblers.

Media coverage

Various studies have suggested that how the media presents depictions of suicide may have a negative effect and trigger the possibility of suicide contagion also known as the Werther effect named after the protagonist in Goethe's
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, The Sorrows of Young Werther
The Sorrows of Young Werther
The Sorrows of Young Werther is an epistolary and loosely autobiographical novel by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, first published in 1774; a revised edition of the novel was published in 1787...

who committed suicide. This risk is greater in adoloescents who may romantacize death. It appears that while news media
News media
The news media are those elements of the mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public or a target public.These include print media , broadcast news , and more recently the Internet .-Etymology:A medium is a carrier of something...

 has a significant effect that of entertainment media is equivocal.

The opposite of the Werther effect is the Papageno effect in which coverage of effective coping mechanisms, coping in adverse circumstances, as covered in the media about suicidal ideation, may have protective effects. The term is based upon a character in Mozart’s
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , baptismal name Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart , was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical era. He composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, concertante, chamber, piano, operatic, and choral music...

 opera The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute
The Magic Flute is an opera in two acts composed in 1791 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to a German libretto by Emanuel Schikaneder. The work is in the form of a Singspiel, a popular form that included both singing and spoken dialogue....

named Papageno who fearing the loss of a loved one was going to commit suicide until three boys showed him different ways to cope.

Methods

The leading method of suicide varies dramatically between countries. The leading methods in different regions include hanging
Suicide by hanging
Suicide by hanging is the act of intentionally killing oneself by suspension by a ligature. Hanging is a very simple yet highly effective suicide method. It is one of the most commonly used suicide methods and has a high mortality rate; Gunnell et al. gives a figure of at least 70 percent. The...

, pesticide poisoning
Pesticide poisoning
A pesticide poisoning occurs when chemicals intended to control a pest affect non-target organisms such as humans, wildlife, or bees.-Cause:The most common exposure scenarios for pesticide-poisoning cases are accidental or suicidal poisonings, occupational exposure, by-stander exposure to...

, and firearms. A 2008 review of 56 countries based on WHO mortality data found that hanging was the most common method in most of the countries, accounting for 53 percent of the male suicides and 39 percent of the female suicides. Worldwide 30% of suicides are from pesticides. The use of this method however varies markedly from 4% in Europe to more than 50% in the Pacific region. In the United States 52% of suicides involve the use of firearms. Asphyxiation (such as with a suicide bag
Suicide bag
A suicide bag, also known as an exit bag, is a device consisting of a large plastic bag with a drawcord used to commit suicide. It is usually used in conjunction with an inert gas like helium or nitrogen, which prevents the panic, sense of suffocation and struggling during unconsciousness ...

) and poison
Poison
In the context of biology, poisons are substances that can cause disturbances to organisms, usually by chemical reaction or other activity on the molecular scale, when a sufficient quantity is absorbed by an organism....

ing are fairly common as well. Together they comprised about 40% of U.S. suicides. Other methods of suicide include blunt force trauma
Blunt trauma
In medical terminology, blunt trauma, blunt injury, non-penetrating trauma or blunt force trauma refers to a type of physical trauma caused to a body part, either by impact, injury or physical attack; the latter usually being referred to as blunt force trauma...

 (jumping from a building or bridge, self-defenestrating
Defenestration
Defenestration is the act of throwing someone or something out of a window.The term "defenestration" was coined around the time of an incident in Prague Castle in the year 1618. The word comes from the Latin de- and fenestra...

, stepping in front of a train, or car collision
Car accident
A traffic collision, also known as a traffic accident, motor vehicle collision, motor vehicle accident, car accident, automobile accident, Road Traffic Collision or car crash, occurs when a vehicle collides with another vehicle, pedestrian, animal, road debris, or other stationary obstruction,...

, for example). Exsanguination
Exsanguination
Exsanguination is the fatal process of hypovolemia , to a degree sufficient enough to cause death. One does not have to lose literally all of one's blood to cause death...

 or bloodletting (slitting one's wrist or throat), intentional drowning
Drowning
Drowning is death from asphyxia due to suffocation caused by water entering the lungs and preventing the absorption of oxygen leading to cerebral hypoxia....

, self-immolation
Self-immolation
Self-immolation refers to setting oneself on fire, often as a form of protest or for the purposes of martyrdom or suicide. It has centuries-long traditions in some cultures, while in modern times it has become a type of radical political protest...

, electrocution
Electric shock
Electric Shock of a body with any source of electricity that causes a sufficient current through the skin, muscles or hair. Typically, the expression is used to denote an unwanted exposure to electricity, hence the effects are considered undesirable....

, and intentional starvation
Starvation
Starvation is a severe deficiency in caloric energy, nutrient and vitamin intake. It is the most extreme form of malnutrition. In humans, prolonged starvation can cause permanent organ damage and eventually, death...

 are other suicide methods. Individuals may also intentionally provoke another person into administering lethal action against them, as in suicide by cop
Suicide by cop
Suicide by cop is a suicide method in which a suicidal individual deliberately acts in a threatening way, with the goal of provoking a lethal response from a law enforcement officer or other armed individual, such as being shot to death....

.

Whether or not exposure to suicide is a risk factor for suicide is controversial. A 1996 study was unable to find a relationship between suicides among friends, while a 1986 study found increased rates of suicide following the televisation of news stories regarding suicide.

Prevention

Suicide prevention is a term used for the collective efforts to reduce the incidence of suicide through preventive measures. Various strategies restrict access to the most common methods of suicide, such as firearms or toxic substances like pesticides, and have proved to be effective in reducing suicide rates.
Studies supported by empirical data have indicated that adequate prevention, diagnosis and treatment of depression and alcohol and substance abuse can reduce suicide rates, as does follow-up contact with those who have made a suicide attempt.
Although crisis hotline
Crisis hotline
A crisis hotline is a phone number people can call to get immediate emergency telephone counseling, usually by trained volunteers. Such hotlines have existed in most major cities of the United States at least since the mid-1970s. Initially set up to help those contemplating suicide, many have...

s are common there is little evidence to support or refute their effectiveness.

The Best Practices Registry (BPR) For Suicide Prevention is a registry of various suicide intervention programs maintained by the American Association of Suicide Prevention. The programs are divided, with those in Section I listing evidence-based programs: interventions which have been subjected to indepth review and for which evidence has demonstrated positive outcomes. Section III programs have been subjected to review.

In various countries, individuals who are at imminent risk of harming themselves or others may voluntarily check themselves into a hospital emergency department this may also be done on an involuntary basis on the referral of various individuals acting in an official capacity such as the police. This is referred to by various names such as being ""committed" or sectioned
Involuntary commitment
Involuntary commitment or civil commitment is a legal process through which an individual with symptoms of severe mental illness is court-ordered into treatment in a hospital or in the community ....

". They will be placed on suicide watch
Suicide watch
Suicide watch is an intensive monitoring process used to ensure that an individual does not die by suicide. Usually the term is used in reference to inmates in a prison, hospital, psychiatric hospital, or military bases...

 until an emergency physician
Emergency physician
An emergency physician is a physician who works at an emergency department to care for acutely ill patients. The emergency physician is a specialist in advanced cardiac life support , trauma care such as fractures and soft tissue injuries, and management of other life-threatening situations.In...

 or mental health professional determines whether inpatient care at a mental health care facility
Psychiatric hospital
Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental hospitals, are hospitals specializing in the treatment of serious mental disorders. Psychiatric hospitals vary widely in their size and grading. Some hospitals may specialise only in short-term or outpatient therapy for low-risk patients...

 is warranted and may hold the individual for a period of usually three days duration. A court hearing may be held to determine the individual's competence
Competence (law)
In American law, competence concerns the mental capacity of an individual to participate in legal proceedings. Defendants that do not possess sufficient "competence" are usually excluded from criminal prosecution, while witnesses found not to possess requisite competence cannot testify...

. In most states, a psychiatrist
Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. All psychiatrists are trained in diagnostic evaluation and in psychotherapy...

 may hold the person for a specific time period without a judicial order. If the psychiatrist determines the person to be a threat to himself or others, the person may be admitted involuntarily to a psychiatric treatment
Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is a general term referring to any form of therapeutic interaction or treatment contracted between a trained professional and a client or patient; family, couple or group...

 facility. After this time the person must be discharged or appear in front of a judge.

Screening

The U.S. Surgeon General has suggested that screening to detect those at risk of suicide
Assessment of suicide risk
Suicide risk assessment is ethically complex: the concept of "imminent suicide" is a legal construct in a clinical guise, which can be used to justify rationing of emergency psychiatric resources or intrusion into patients' civil liberties...

 may be one of the most effective means of preventing suicide in children and adolescents.
There are various screening tools in the form of self-report questionnaire
Questionnaire
A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions and other prompts for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. Although they are often designed for statistical analysis of the responses, this is not always the case...

s to help identify those at risk such as the Beck Hopelessness Scale
Beck Hopelessness Scale
The Beck Hopelessness Scale is a 20-item self-report inventory developed by Dr. Aaron T. Beck that was designed to measure three major aspects of hopelessness: feelings about the future, loss of motivation, and expectations...

 and Is Path Warm?
Is Path Warm?
Is Path Warm? is an acronym utilized as a mnemonic device. It was created by the American Association of Suicidology to help assess the risk of suicide.IS PATH WARM?I Ideation...

. A number of these self-report questionnaires have been tested and found to be valid for use among adolescents and young adults. There is however a high rate of false-positive identification and those deemed to be at risk should ideally have a follow-up clinical interview. The predictive quality of these screening questionnaires has not been conclusively validated so it is not possible to determine if those identified at risk of suicide will actually commit suicide. Asking about or screening for suicide does not appear to increase the risk.

In approximately 75 percent of completed suicides the individuals had seen a physician within the year before their death, including 45 to 66 percent within the prior month. Approximately 33 to 41 percent of those who completed suicide had contact with mental health services in the prior year, including 20 percent within the prior month. These studies suggest an increased need for effective screening.

Treatment

There are various treatment modalities to reduce the risk of suicide by addressing the underlying conditions causing suicidal ideation, including, depending on case history, medical pharmacological and psychotherapeutic talk therapies.

The conservative estimate is that 10% of individuals with psychiatric disorders may have an undiagnosed medical condition causing ther symptoms, upwards of 50% may have an undiagnosed medical condition which if not causing is exacerbating their psychiatric symptoms. Illegal drugs and prescribed medications may also produce psychiatric symptoms. Effective diagnosis and if necessary medical testing which may include neuroimaging to diagnose and treat any such medical conditions or medication side effects may reduce the risk of suicidal ideation as a result of psychiatric symptoms, most often including depression, which are present in up to 90-95% of cases.

Recent research has shown that Lithium
Lithium
Lithium is a soft, silver-white metal that belongs to the alkali metal group of chemical elements. It is represented by the symbol Li, and it has the atomic number 3. Under standard conditions it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly...

 has been effective with lowering the risk of suicide in those with bipolar disorder to the same levels as the general population. Lithium has also proven effective in lowering the suicide risk in those with unipolar depression as well.

There are multiple evidence-based psychotherapeutic talk therapies available to reduce suicidal ideation such as dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) for which multiple studies have reported varying degrees of clinical effectiveness in reducing suicidality. Benefits include a reduction in self-harm behaviours and suicidal ideations. Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Suicide Prevention (CBT-SP) is a form of DBT adapted for adolescents at high risk for repeated suicide attempts.

Epidemiology

Worldwide suicide rates have increased by 60 percent in the past 45 years, mainly in the developing countries
Developing country
A developing country, also known as a less-developed country, is a nation with a low level of material well-being. Since no single definition of the term developing country is recognized internationally, the levels of development may vary widely within so-called developing countries...

 and is currently the tenth leading cause of death with about a million people dying by suicide annually, a global mortality rate of 16 suicides per 100,000 people, or a suicide every 40 seconds. According to 2007 data, suicides in the U.S. outnumber homicides by nearly 2 to 1. Suicide ranks as the 11th leading cause of death
Death
Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

 in the country, ahead of liver disease
Liver
The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

 and Parkinson's.

Gender

In the Western world, males die much more often by means of suicide than do females, although females attempt suicide more often. Some medical professionals believe this stems from the fact that males are more likely to end their lives through effective violent means, while women primarily use less severe methods such as overdosing on medications. In most countries, drug overdoses account for about two-thirds of suicides among women and one-third among men.

Alcohol and drug use

In the United States 16.5 percent of suicides are related to alcohol
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

. Alcoholics are 5 to 20 times more likely to kill themselves while the misuse of other drugs increases the risk 10 to 20 times. About 15 percent of alcoholics commit suicide, and about 33 percent of suicides in the under 35 age group have a primary diagnosis of alcohol or other substance misuse; over 50 percent of all suicides are related to alcohol or drug dependence. In adolescents alcohol or drug misuse plays a role in up to 70 percent of suicides.

Ethnicity

National suicide rates differ significantly between countries and amongst ethnic groups within countries. For example, in the U.S., non-Hispanic Caucasians are nearly 2.5 times more likely to kill themselves than African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

s or Hispanic
Hispanic
Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to Hispania, which is to say the Iberian Peninsula: Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain. During the Modern Era, Hispanic sometimes takes on a more limited meaning, particularly in the United States, where the term means a person of ...

s. In the United Kingdom suicide rates vary significantly between different parts of the country. In Scotland, for example, the suicide rate is approximately double that of England.

Legislation

In some jurisdictions, an act or incomplete act of suicide is considered to be a crime
Crime
Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority can ultimately prescribe a conviction...

. More commonly, a surviving party member who assisted in the suicide attempt will face criminal charges.

In Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, if the help is directed to a minor, the penalty is applied in its double and not considered as homicide
Homicide
Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

. In Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, instigating another to suicide is also a criminal offense. In Singapore
Singapore
Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

, assisting in the suicide of a mentally handicapped
Developmental disability
Developmental disability is a term used in the United States and Canada to describe lifelong disabilities attributable to mental or physical impairments, manifested prior to age 18. It is not synonymous with "developmental delay" which is often a consequence of a temporary illness or trauma during...

 person is a capital offense. In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, abetting suicide of a minor or a mentally challenged person can result in a maximum 1 year prison term with a possible fine.

In Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, the following laws apply to cases of suicide:
  • Active euthanasia (killing on request) is prohibited by article 216 of the StGB (Strafgesetzbuch
    Strafgesetzbuch
    Strafgesetzbuch is the German name for Penal Code and is abbreviated to StGB.- History :In Germany the Strafgesetzbuch goes back to the Penal Code of the German Empire passed in the year 1871 which was largely identical to the Penal Code of the North German Confederation.This Reichsstrafgesetzbuch ...

    , German Criminal Code), punishable with six months to five years in jail
  • German law
    Law of Germany
    The modern German legal system is a system of law which is founded on the principles laid out by the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, though many of the most important laws as for example most regulations of the civil code were developed prior to the 1949 constitution...

     interprets suicide as an accident and anyone present during suicide may be prosecuted for failure to render aid in an emergency. A suicide legally becomes an emergency when a suicidal person loses consciousness. Failure to render aid is punishable under article 323c of the StGB, with a maximum one year jail sentence.


Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 has recently taken steps to legalize assisted suicide
Assisted suicide
Assisted suicide is the common term for actions by which an individual helps another person voluntarily bring about his or her own death. "Assistance" may mean providing one with the means to end one's own life, but may extend to other actions. It differs to euthanasia where another person ends...

 for the chronically mentally ill. The high court in Lausanne
Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

, in a 2006 ruling, granted an anonymous individual with longstanding psychiatric difficulties the right to end his own life. At least one leading American bioethicist, Jacob Appel of Brown University
Brown University
Brown University is a private, Ivy League university located in Providence, Rhode Island, United States. Founded in 1764 prior to American independence from the British Empire as the College in the English Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations early in the reign of King George III ,...

, has argued that the American medical community ought to condone suicide in certain individuals with mental illness.

Religious views

In most forms of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, suicide is considered a sin
Sin
In religion, sin is the violation or deviation of an eternal divine law or standard. The term sin may also refer to the state of having committed such a violation. Christians believe the moral code of conduct is decreed by God In religion, sin (also called peccancy) is the violation or deviation...

, based mainly on the writings of influential Christian thinkers of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, such as St. Augustine
St. Augustine
-People:* Augustine of Hippo or Augustine of Hippo , father of the Latin church* Augustine of Canterbury , first Archbishop of Canterbury* Augustine Webster, an English Catholic martyr.-Places:*St. Augustine, Florida, United States...

 and St. Thomas Aquinas; suicide was not considered a sin under the Byzantine
Byzantine
Byzantine usually refers to the Roman Empire during the Middle Ages.Byzantine may also refer to:* A citizen of the Byzantine Empire, or native Greek during the Middle Ages...

 Christian code of Justinian, for instance. In Catholic doctrine, the argument is based on the commandment
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

 "Thou shalt not kill" (made applicable under the New Covenant
New Covenant
The New Covenant is a concept originally derived from the Hebrew Bible. The term "New Covenant" is used in the Bible to refer to an epochal relationship of restoration and peace following a period of trial and judgment...

 by Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 in Matthew 19:18
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

), as well as the idea that life is a gift given by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 which should not be spurned, and that suicide is against the "natural order" and thus interferes with God's master plan for the world. However, it is believed that mental illness or grave fear of suffering diminishes the responsibility of the one completing suicide. Counter-arguments include the following: that the sixth commandment
Ten Commandments
The Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue , are a set of biblical principles relating to ethics and worship, which play a fundamental role in Judaism and most forms of Christianity. They include instructions to worship only God and to keep the Sabbath, and prohibitions against idolatry,...

 is more accurately translated as "thou shalt not murder", not necessarily applying to the self; that God has given free will to humans; that taking one's own life no more violates God's Law than does curing a disease
Disease
A disease is an abnormal condition affecting the body of an organism. It is often construed to be a medical condition associated with specific symptoms and signs. It may be caused by external factors, such as infectious disease, or it may be caused by internal dysfunctions, such as autoimmune...

; and that a number of suicides by followers of God are recorded in the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 with no dire condemnation.

Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 focuses on the importance of valuing this life, and as such, suicide is tantamount to denying God's goodness in the world. Despite this, under extreme circumstances when there has seemed no choice but to either be killed or forced to betray their religion, Jews have committed individual suicide or mass suicide
Mass suicide
- Examples :Mass suicide sometimes occurs in religious or cultic settings. Defeated groups may resort to mass suicide rather than being captured. Suicide pacts are a form of mass suicide unconnected to cults or war that are sometimes planned or carried out by small groups of frustrated people...

 (see Masada
Masada
Masada is the name for a site of ancient palaces and fortifications in the South District of Israel, on top of an isolated rock plateau, or horst, on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Masada is best known for the violence that occurred there in the first century CE...

, First French persecution of the Jews, and York Castle
York Castle
York Castle in the city of York, England, is a fortified complex comprising, over the last nine centuries, a sequence of castles, prisons, law courts and other buildings on the south side of the River Foss. The now-ruinous keep of the medieval Norman castle is sometimes referred to as Clifford's...

 for examples) and as a grim reminder there is even a prayer in the Jewish liturgy for "when the knife is at the throat", for those dying "to sanctify God's Name". (See: Martyrdom). These acts have received mixed responses by Jewish authorities, regarded both as examples of heroic martyrdom, whilst others state that it was wrong for them to take their own lives in anticipation of martyrdom.

Suicide is not allowed in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

; however, martyring oneself for Allah (during combat) is not considered the same as completing suicide. Suicide in Islam is seen as a sign of disbelief in God.

In Hinduism
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

, suicide is generally frowned upon and is considered equally sinful as murdering another in contemporary Hindu society. Hindu Scriptures state that one who commits suicide will become part of the spirit world, wandering earth until the time one would have otherwise died, had one not committed suicide. However, Hinduism accept a man's right to end one's life
Right to die
The right to die is the ethical or institutional entitlement of the individual to commit suicide or to undergo voluntary euthanasia. Possession of this right is often understood to mean that a person with a terminal illness should be allowed to commit suicide or assisted suicide or to decline...

 through the non-violent practice of fasting to death, termed Prayopavesa
Prayopavesa
Prayopavesa is a practice in Hinduism that denotes the voluntary fasting to death of a person, who has no desire or ambition left, and no responsibilities remaining in life. It is also allowed in cases of terminal disease or great disability. A similar practice exists in Jainism, termed Santhara.-...

. But Prayopavesa is strictly restricted to people who have no desire or ambition left, and no responsibilities remaining in this life. Jainism
Jainism
Jainism is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state...

 has a similar practice named Santhara
Santhara
Santhara , is the Jain religious ritual of voluntary death by fasting. Supporters of the practice believe that Santhara cannot be considered suicide, but rather something one does with full knowledge and intent, while suicide is viewed as emotional and hasty...

. Sati
Sati (practice)
For other uses, see Sati .Satī was a religious funeral practice among some Indian communities in which a recently widowed woman either voluntarily or by use of force and coercion would have immolated herself on her husband’s funeral pyre...

, or self-immolation by widows was prevalent in Hindu society during the Middle Ages.

Philosophy

Some see suicide as a legitimate matter of personal choice and a human right (colloquially known as the right to die
Right to die
The right to die is the ethical or institutional entitlement of the individual to commit suicide or to undergo voluntary euthanasia. Possession of this right is often understood to mean that a person with a terminal illness should be allowed to commit suicide or assisted suicide or to decline...

 movement). Supporters of this position maintain that no one should be forced to suffer against their will, particularly from conditions such as incurable disease, mental illness, and old age that have no possibility of improvement. Proponents of this view reject the belief that suicide is always irrational, arguing instead that it can be a valid last resort for those enduring major pain or trauma. This perspective is most popular and has a good deal of support in continental Europe
Continental Europe
Continental Europe, also referred to as mainland Europe or simply the Continent, is the continent of Europe, explicitly excluding European islands....

, where euthanasia and other such topics are commonly discussed in parliament.

A narrower segment of this group considers suicide something between a grave but condonable choice in some circumstances and a sacrosanct
Sacrosanct
Sacrosanctity was a right of tribunes in Ancient Rome not to be harmed physically. Plebeians took an oath to regard anyone who laid hands on a tribune as an outlaw liable to be killed without penalty...

 right for anyone (even a young and healthy person) who believes they have rationally and conscientiously come to the decision to end their own lives. Notable supporters of this school of thought
School (discipline)
A school of thought is a collection or group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy, discipline, belief, social movement, cultural movement, or art movement....

 include German pessimist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

, Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

, and Scottish empiricist David Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

. Bioethicist Jacob Appel
Jacob M. Appel
Jacob M. Appel is an American author, bioethicist and social critic. He is best known for his short stories, his work as a playwright, and his writing in the fields of reproductive ethics, organ donation, neuroethics and euthanasia....

 has become the leading advocate for this position in the United States. Adherents of this view often advocate the abrogation of statutes that restrict the liberties of people known to be suicidal, such as laws permitting their involuntary commitment to mental hospitals.

Locations

Some landmarks have become known for high levels of suicide attempts. The four most popular locations in the world are reportedly San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening of the San Francisco Bay into the Pacific Ocean. As part of both U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 1, the structure links the city of San Francisco, on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula, to...

, Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

's Bloor Street Viaduct (before the construction of the Luminous Veil
Luminous Veil
The Luminous Veil is an anti-suicide barrier that was added to the Prince Edward Viaduct in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. First approved by the Toronto City Council in 1998, the construction of the Luminous Veil was delayed for years because of concerns about funding. During the delays in...

), Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

's Aokigahara Forest
Aokigahara
, also known as the , is a 35 km2 forest that lies at the north west base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The forest contains a number of rocky, icy caverns, a few of which are popular tourist destinations....

 and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

's Beachy Head
Beachy Head
Beachy Head is a chalk headland on the south coast of England, close to the town of Eastbourne in the county of East Sussex, immediately east of the Seven Sisters. The cliff there is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 m above sea level. The peak allows views of the south...

. In 2005 the Golden Gate Bridge had a count exceeding 1,200 jumpers since its construction in 1937. In 1997 the Bloor Street Viaduct had one suicide every 22 days, and in 2002 Aokigahara had a record of 78 bodies found within the forest, replacing the previous record of 73 in 1998. The suicide rate of these places is so high that numerous signs, urging potential victims of suicide to seek help, have been posted.

Advocacy

Advocacy of suicide has occurred in many culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

s and subculture
Subculture
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.- Definition :...

s. The Japanese military during World War II encouraged and glorified kamikaze
Kamikaze
The were suicide attacks by military aviators from the Empire of Japan against Allied naval vessels in the closing stages of the Pacific campaign of World War II, designed to destroy as many warships as possible....

 attacks, and Japanese society as a whole has been described as suicide 'tolerant' (see Suicide in Japan
Suicide in Japan
Suicide in Japan has become a significant problem nationally. Factors in suicide include unemployment , depression, and social pressures. In 2007, the National Police Agency revised the categorization of motives for suicide into a division of 50 reasons with up to three reasons listed for each...

).

William Francis Melchert-Dinkel, 47 years old in May 2010, from Faribault, Minnesota
Faribault, Minnesota
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,818 people, 7,472 households, and 4,946 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,644.8 people per square mile . There were 7,668 housing units at an average density of 605.8 per square mile...

, a licensed nurse from 1991 until February 2009, stands accused of encouraging people to commit suicide while he watched on a webcam
Webcam
A webcam is a video camera that feeds its images in real time to a computer or computer network, often via USB, ethernet, or Wi-Fi.Their most popular use is the establishment of video links, permitting computers to act as videophones or videoconference stations. This common use as a video camera...

.

A study by the British Medical Journal
British Medical Journal
BMJ is a partially open-access peer-reviewed medical journal. Originally called the British Medical Journal, the title was officially shortened to BMJ in 1988. The journal is published by the BMJ Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of the British Medical Association...

 found that Web searches for information on suicide are likely to return sites that encourage, and even facilitate, suicide attempts. There is some concern that such sites may push the suicidal over the edge. Some people form suicide pact
Suicide pact
A suicide pact is an agreed plan between two or more individuals to commit suicide. The plan may be to die together, or separately and closely timed. Suicide pacts are important concepts in the study of suicide, and have occurred throughout history, as well as in fiction.Suicide pacts are generally...

s with people they meet online. Becker writes, "Suicidal adolescent visitors risk losing their doubts and fears about committing suicide. Risk factors include peer pressure to commit suicide and appointments for joint suicides. Furthermore, some chat rooms celebrate chatters who committed suicide."

Language

Because suicide was a crime in various countries, including in England and Wales which decriminalized
Suicide Act 1961
The Suicide Act 1961 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It decriminalised the act of suicide so that those who failed in the attempt would no longer be prosecuted....

 it in 1961, the word 'commit' has traditionally been used in reference to it. Organisations such as the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 and the Samaritans have stopped using this word because of its negative connotation. 'Attempt' suicide or other phrases are preferred. The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 and The Observer
The Observer
The Observer is a British newspaper, published on Sundays. In the same place on the political spectrum as its daily sister paper The Guardian, which acquired it in 1993, it takes a liberal or social democratic line on most issues. It is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper.-Origins:The first issue,...

 also avoid the phrase, preferring the use of "killed him or herself".

Other species

"Suicide" has been observed in salmonella
Salmonella
Salmonella is a genus of rod-shaped, Gram-negative, non-spore-forming, predominantly motile enterobacteria with diameters around 0.7 to 1.5 µm, lengths from 2 to 5 µm, and flagella which grade in all directions . They are chemoorganotrophs, obtaining their energy from oxidation and reduction...

 seeking to overcome competing bacteria by triggering an immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

 response against them. Suicidal defences by workers are also noted in a Brazilian ant Forelius pusillus where a small group of ants leaves the security of the nest after sealing the entrance from the outside each evening.

Pea aphid
Pea aphid
The pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum is a sap-sucking insect in the Aphididae family. It feeds on severals species of legumes worldwide, including forage crops such as pea, clover, alfalfa, and broad bean, and ranks among the aphid species of major agronomical importance.The pea aphid is a model...

s, when threatened by a ladybug, can explode themselves, scattering and protecting their brethren and sometimes even killing the lady bug. Some species of termite
Termite
Termites are a group of eusocial insects that, until recently, were classified at the taxonomic rank of order Isoptera , but are now accepted as the epifamily Termitoidae, of the cockroach order Blattodea...

s have soldiers that explode, covering their enemies with sticky goo. There have been anecdotal reports of dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

s, horse
Horse
The horse is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus, or the wild horse. It is a single-hooved mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae. The horse has evolved over the past 45 to 55 million years from a small multi-toed creature into the large, single-toed animal of today...

s, and dolphin
Dolphin
Dolphins are marine mammals that are closely related to whales and porpoises. There are almost forty species of dolphin in 17 genera. They vary in size from and , up to and . They are found worldwide, mostly in the shallower seas of the continental shelves, and are carnivores, mostly eating...

s committing suicide, but with little conclusive evidence. There has been little scientific study of animal suicide.

See also

  • Bullycide
    Bullycide
    The term bullycide is a portmanteau word first used in 2001 by Neil Marr and Tim Field in their book Bullycide: Death at Playtime. It refers to suicide attributable to the victim having been bullied, either in person or via social media. Bullycide has also been defined as the killing of the bully...

  • Parasuicide
    Parasuicide
    Parasuicide refers to suicide attempts or gestures and self-harm where there is no result in death. It is a non-fatal act in which a person deliberately causes injury to himself or ingests any prescribed or generally recognised therapeutic dose in excess...

  • Rational suicide
    Rational suicide
    Rational suicide is the reason-guided decision to end one's life, specifically, when these reasons are the result of an indifferent or temperate weighing of pros and cons. It has been argued that a suicide can be rational and still nonetheless be a mistake...

  • Senicide
    Senicide
    Senicide or geronticide is the abandonment to death, suicide or killing of the elderly.- History :Societal views and legal repercussions have varied greatly in regards to senicide....

  • Stigmatized property
    Stigmatized property
    In real estate, stigmatized property is property which buyers or tenants may shun for reasons that are unrelated to its physical condition or features. These can include murder, suicide or even AIDS, in addition to a belief that a house may be haunted...

  • Suicide bridge
    Suicide bridge
    A suicide bridge is a bridge used frequently to die by suicide, most typically by jumping off and into the water below ....

  • Suicide note
    Suicide note
    A suicide note or death note is a message that states the author has died by suicide, and left to be discovered and read in anticipation of suicide....


Suicide prevention organizations
  • Samaritans (charity)
    Samaritans (charity)
    Samaritans is a registered charity aimed at providing emotional support to anyone in emotional distress or at risk of suicide throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland, often through their telephone helpline. The name comes from the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan, though the organisation...

  • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
    The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention was founded in 1987 by a group of experts on suicide who wanted to create a 5013 organization to fund research in suicide prevention....

  • Suicide Prevention Action Network USA
    Suicide Prevention Action Network USA
    The Suicide Prevention Action Network USA is a 501 organization that was founded in 1996 by Gerald and Elsie Weyrauch, whose 34-year-old daughter, Terri, died by suicide. SPAN USA is "dedicated to preventing suicide through public education and awareness, community action and federal, state and...

  • CALM, Campaign Against Living Miserably
    CALM, Campaign Against Living Miserably
    CALM, or the Campaign Against Living Miserably, is a registered charity based in England. It was launched in March 2006 as a campaign aimed at bringing the suicide rate down among men aged 15–35....

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK is a suicide prevention network of 132 crisis centers in the United States, that provides a 24-hour, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. After dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the caller is routed to their...


Books & Film
  • The Complete Manual of Suicide
    The Complete Manual of Suicide
    is a Japanese book written by Wataru Tsurumi. It was first published on July 4, 1993 and sold more than one million copies. This 198 page book provides explicit descriptions and analysis on a wide range of suicide methods such as overdosing, hanging, jumping, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Its like...

  • Final Exit
    Final Exit
    Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying is a controversial 1992 book by Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society in California and past president of the World Federation of Right to Die Societies....

  • The Peaceful Pill Handbook
    The Peaceful Pill Handbook
    The Peaceful Pill Handbook is a controversial book giving instructions on how to perform euthanasia. It was originally published in the U.S. in 2007 and was written by the Australian doctors Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart....

  • Suicide
    Suicide (book)
    Suicide was one of the groundbreaking books in the field of sociology. Written by French sociologist Émile Durkheim and published in 1897 it was a case study of suicide, a publication unique for its time which provided an example of what the sociological...

  • The Bridge (2006 film)

Lists
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