chapter  8
13 Pages

Social aspects of suicidal behaviour

Because the threat of suicide can provoke more anxiety than the threat of murder, it becomes important to allay the associated fears and equally important to correct popular misconceptions.

Although in this chapter we shall deal mainly with non-fatal suicidal behaviour, there is much evidence to suggest that, although the majority of people who kill themselves do so at the first attempt, very many of them will previously have given some indication that the thought of suicide was on their minds. So it becomes important that the reader should learn to be on the lookout for possible warning signs, particularly in the case of the person suffering from depression. In Chapter 3 we presented the case of Mr Sheldon who was depressed. We pointed out how the deterioration in his work behaviour was not recognised as being due to his illness, even though his wife had in fact noticed symptoms for some time. Although not referred to specifically in this case study, his wife was able to say that during the period in question, Mr Sheldon had unexpectedly gone to his lawyer and made a will, which he had discussed with her in terms of ‘looking after her future’. In addition, his personal papers had been tidied and left in a fairly conspicuous place.