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  • Many people today dislike discussing suicide in the same way as, in the past, talking about sex was prohibited. Yet, suicide plays a large role in depression.

  • Suicide has cultural, philosophical, religious, sociological, psychological and physical aspects. With so wide a spectrum of facets, it is no wonder that it has gripped man's attention since the dawn of time, and, indeed, there are six suicides recorded in the Old Testament.

  • It is a sad fact that children do commit suicide, although many sudden deaths are reported as accidents. In children, there is an almost universal fantasy of 'my parents will fell sorry when I die'. They do not really believe in their own destruction until about the age of nine, when death is realized a final situation; before that, death is seen as temporary or reversible. More boys than girls destroy themselves, but girls make more attempts. Young people are influenced by family disruption and school difficulties, and apparently not by social conditions, such as poverty, wealth, poor living conditions, deprived circumstances, etc.

  • In adults, the common causes for suicide are social isolation, social mobility and divorce; the common thread is the weakening of the link between the individual and his social group.

  • Suicide is frequently seen in people who previously showed no evidence of psychiatric disorder. Usually it is an attempt to escape from an intolerable situation fear of dishonour or punishment, social isolation, loss of a loved one, responsibilities that are too heavy, sensitivity to criticism. Serious illness may be found and, indeed, unfounded fear of illness is not an uncommon cause. Depressive illness can also change the outlook of an individual, and sometimes delusions of guilt can lead to suicide in the absence of any real adversity.

  • In the elderly, suicide may come with the realization of their decline in physical and mental ability, with loneliness and isolation, compulsory idleness, lack of spontaneity and, at times, the presence of incurable disease.

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