What is suicide?  

sui= self  cide = kill      suicide =  to kill one's self ????

Maybe it is not that simple at all!

  • Fatalistic suicide

  • Altruistic suicide




  • chemical therapy - chemotherapy

  • electro-convulsive shock therapy

  • psychosurgery- lobotomy

  • psychotherapy - psychoanalytic, behavior therapy, etc....


  •  Drug induced  

  •  Chemical imbalance

3. SUICIDAL IMPULSES  -normal and requiring no treatment

MOTIVATIONS behind most suicidal acts

  • hostility toward a lost love object

  • anger over something shameful and turned inward

  • retaliation

  • attempt to get attention

  • to destroy bad feelings, physical or emotional

  • counter phobic reaction to fear of death = thanatophobia

  • effort at rebirth

  • escape from pain, suffering, guilt

  • join a loved one

What is required for an act of suicide?

Actions or omissions

Actions or intentions

Results or intention  

Attempted Suicide   vs    Committed Suicide   What is the difference?

Results or intentions?


  • end up dead = committed suicide

  • survive the event = attempted suicide


To enter into actions which threaten to end one's life with varying degrees of    _       probable success: 

  • low probability = attempted suicide

  • high probability = committed suicide

              NOT CLEAR AT ALL!!!

How are these deaths to be described?  Suicide?  Something else?  

  1. Socrates - swallows hemlock

  2. Jews at Masada -fell on their swords

  3. Christians in Coliseum - refused to accept Cesaer-slain by gladiators/lions

  4.  Irish in British Prisons - stop eating until death

  5.  Buddhists in Indochina -set themselves on fire

  6.  Woman taken by would- be rapist

  7.  POW's -escape from detention (minefields,guard dogs,electrified fence,guards with machine guns) or suicide

  8.  Spies -cyanide capsules in teeth-bitten rather than submit to torture

  9.  Slaves in the hold of a slave ship - slit wrists and ankles

  10.  Persons in intractable pain  - jump from roof of building

  11.  Persons with an incurable, life threatening, debilitating disease -overdose

  12.  Persons with an emotional problem in emotional pain -overdose/poison

Would you act to prevent any of the acts above if you could?

Should family members be permitted to assist in suicides?

What conditions or safeguards should exist, if any?  

Should health care personnel be permitted to assist in suicides?

Doctors, nurses, others

What conditions or safeguards should exist, if any?