Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Ubiquitous Suicide

I am convinced that there are more than one kind of knowing/knowledge, e.g. intellectual knowing, emotional knowing, visceral knowing. Intellectually I knew that many people have been touched and will be touched by suicide. I even put in a recent letter: “For every Suicide, an estimated 8 to 10 lives are severely impacted”. I know that my life has been impacted by suicide of a close relative, but until I started getting notes back from people I have invited to take part in a Suicide Prevention Work Group (another one today) I don’t think I really knew. Many, many individuals have been touched. People I have had contact with without ever knowing. It has been eye opening.

Also I knew that deaths from suicide occurred in all areas of our county, in every socioeconomic group, but when I started mapping them out I could see and really know.
There are 40 to 60 deaths by suicide throughout the county every year. While in the grand scheme of things maybe not huge numbers, but when you think about it and know it, it is staggering. All socioeconomic groups, all areas, all ages, more deaths than by homicide and acts of violence, but those prompt out-cry and calls to action. Should suicide be any different?


Tom said...

Will you be posting the map? At least a general one? Or any other demographics of the suicide?
Tkx, Tom

Anonymous said...

Why is suicide such a bad thing in our society?

Dr. Richard Keller said...

I would like to put in the map, I'll see what I can do soon. Certainly I will get some of the demographics up soon, I'm pulling all of that together for next week's meeting.

Dr. Richard Keller said...

To anonymous:
Suicide raises a lot of emotions. People often see suicide as a "waste", as "senseless" (which it is not). Suicide is not senseless in that it did make sense to that person who made that decision at that time. It is a conscious choice, albeit often not in the best interest of the individual or those left behind. There are 2 "handles" you can place to types of suicides: One in individual's with terminal conditions given no hope, no choice from those outside themselves and the other more existential, more internal.

We need a discussion/debate about the "Final Exit" kind of suicides--Are they justifiable? Should they be allowable? What should be the safeguards to ensure restrictions would be adhered to (is the Oregon Model working)?

Most suicides do not fit those that meet the intent of "Final Exit". Most are a reaction to severe psychic pain, when an individual runs out of choices (at the very least, in their mind) in how to deal with that pain and they choose the only path they see. Those are the deaths by suicide society "objects to" most. Those are the ones most preventable by helping with that psychic pain, by offering expanded choices, by showing the individuals another way.

guile said...

i used to be indifferent to the subject of suicide.. until it happened to a friend of mine.. suicide raises a lot of questions (why's mostly) but i always think that maybe if i had paid a little more attention to what's happening, would it have made a difference?..