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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why suicide is of serious concern in the United States and the problem involved in studying it.

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Essay Paper


Soledad Gonzalez


Psychology 71


Cheap University Papers on Why suicide is of serious concern in the United States and the problem involved in studying it.

essay writing service



Professor Hegar


June 11, 00


Essay Paper


Chapter 1


Explain why suicide is of serious concern in the United States and the problems involved in studying it.


Studies report that an estimated 1,000 people a year commit suicide in the United States and some argue that the real number is actually 5 to 0 percent higher. Furthermore, for every one person who commits suicide, there are eight to ten people who attempt but do not succeed; earning them the nickname attempters. These disturbing numbers are enough to make suicide the eighth leading cause of death in the United States for adults and the third leading cause of death for young people ages fifteen to twenty four. The issue has prompted attention from the White House to the Surgeon General because evidence proves these numbers are increasing at a rapid rate. Together the two have constructed a national platform promoting awareness and informative factual data to implement the right steps to aim at understanding and preventing suicide.





Since the person who committed the suicide cannot be asked why he or she took their life, psychologists have had to produce different ways to study suicide and the events or circumstances that led up to it. One way would be through a psychological autopsy. This is completed by gathering and obtaining whatever existing information such as the background, history, hospital records, or any other information that can tell us more about the individual. This information can be given to the psychologist by friends, family, therapists, doctors of the individual and they may have important things such as interviews with the individual, recounts about strange or out of the ordinary behavior, noted change of personality in the individual, odd phone messages or letters or conversations with the individual. All the information provided by these individuals can tell the psychologist more about the individuals persona. The problem that often arises from this type of study is that the sources may not be very reliable. Relatives and friends may give different perspectives on what they perceive as odd or strange behavior or how the individuals personality was. They may also be too stricken with grief to give true unbiased accounts of the individuals life. Another problem is if the individual never had any prior hospitalizations or contact with any therapists, psychologists, or doctors. The individual may not have much of a history to analyze.





Another method involves studying those who attempted suicide, or attempters. The main problem encountered here is in the assumption that suicides & attempters are in the same category. Various studies reveal them as different on countless levels. Attempters generally tend to be white, married females in their twenties and thirties who are experiencing marital problems. Their weapons of choice tend to be less lethal, such as barbiturates or razors. Most s suicides are white, forty something males who are usually suffering from an illness or depression and who tend to use more lethal means such as guns or hanging.





Despite these problems, both methods are still considered effective because they deal with determining and isolating the events and circumstances leading up to a suicide or suicide attempt. By attempting to understand and finding a common event or variable in each person, psychologists may be able to prevent a suicide or treat a person who attempts suicide accordingly and competently.





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