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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 99554 Find in a Library
Title: Suicide in America
Corporate Author: Mayo Clinic
United States of America
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Mayo Clinic
Rochester, MN 55905
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After a brief examination of cultural and historical perspectives on suicide, this essay examines suicide methods, causes, risk factors, and prevention.
Abstract: In general, suicide has never received social approval without reservation or restriction despite variations in attitudes over time and across cultures. Death by firearms or drug overdose are the most frequent methods of suicide, although cuts and stabs, jumping from high places, and hanging and drowning also have been used. Among psychiatric causes of suicide, major depressive illness is foremost. However, mental illness need not always be involved: suicide may occur when people simply can no longer tolerate themselves or life. While most suicide attempts are made by women, most successful suicides are men. Alcoholic and the separated, divorced, or widowed elderly males who live alone are particularly susceptible. Other groups showing high suicide rates include adolescents, the elderly, physicians, and terminally ill persons. Suicide prevention would require elimination of the causes of emotional disturbance, alcoholism, and adolescent unhappiness, but more practical approach would involve the identification of those contemplating suicide and the provision of appropriate intervention. Additional measures which could reduce the incidence of suicide include gun control laws, stricter control over prescription drugs, establishment of suicide prevention centers and hotlines, and public education on suicide risk factors.
Index Term(s): Counseling; Suicidology
Note: Mayo Clinic Health Letter, September 1985
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