First Suicide Attempt



Suicide is the illegal and intentional termination of one’s own life. The World Health Organization reported in 2017 that suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. More precisely, it was ranked as the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. of America. In 2015, 1,104,825 cases of attempted suicide were reported in the U.S. alone (World Health Organization, 2017). Roughly, that meant that at least one individual attempted to take his or her own life after every 31 seconds. Though suicide is more prevalent among individuals aged between 45 and 54 years in the United States, it is recorded as the second leading cause of death among young people aged between 15-24 years. It comes second to road accidents. Globally, approximately 800,000 lives are lost though suicide in every passing year (World Health Organization, 2017). Thus, approximately one death results from suicide every 40 seconds in the world. In Canada, approximately 238,000 deaths occurred in the year 2009; out of this figure, about 3,890 deaths happened through suicide (Bostwick, Pabbati, Geske & McKean, 2016).  Therefore, approximately 11.5% Canadians committed suicide in that year in every 10,000 people. In 2013, the suicide rate among individuals aged between 20 and 24 years in Canada was reported to hit the 11% mark every 10,000 heads (Bostwick et al., 2016). This paper, therefore, analyzes attempted suicide, why even the slightest sign that one is about to commit suicide ought not to be ignored, and why young people in the most developed nations like the U.S. and Canada commit suicide.

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Question 1: First Suicide Attempt

Clinicians and others ought to take even the slightest sign that one is about to commit suicide seriously to reduce the number of deaths resulting from it in the world. Spotting early signs in individuals and moving fast to prevent them from going further to commit suicide can help to reduce suicide cases significantly in the world. More importantly, clinicians and other stakeholders ought to treat the slightest form of suicide attempt with the seriousness that it deserves. This is because after an attempted suicide, there lies the risk of another try (World Health Organization, 2017). In essence, it would be good to note that suicidal individuals are bound to be more thorough during the second attempt than during the initial one. Thus, the chances of the second attempt becoming successful are very high.

Such attempts ought not to be treated as mere ‘gestures’ but as signs of deeper problems and, worse still, further problems to come, if left untreated. A study by Dr. J. Michael Bostwick proved how lethal attempted suicide can be. In doing this, the study involved an analysis of the documented first suicide attempts from January 1986 and 2007 in the state of Minnesota. He analyzed the recorded deaths by suicide up to 25 years later. The first finding of the study was, 5.4% of the people who attempted to commit suicide indeed died from suicide, either from the first attempt or a subsequent one (Bostwick et al., 2016). But what is more interesting, in this case, is his second finding; he established that only about 48% of the individuals who attempted suicide died from their first attempt. That means that the remaining 52%, and which is obviously higher than the former, died from a subsequent attempt to commit suicide. Bearing these findings in mind, there is thus the need to treat any case of attempted suicide not merely as a ‘gesture’ but a sign of death to come and, therefore, move fast to give relevant treatment. If given relevant treatment, suicidal people are likely to abandon their suicidal tendencies.

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Question 2: Attempted Suicide Case

One of the recorded cases of attempted suicide involves Person X. Person was reported to have been plagued by bouts of depression together with mild mania for a long time. Before the reported suicide attempt took place, Person X was diagnosed with psychiatric problems. Person X was discharged on Friday and asked to return to the medical facility the following Monday. Instead, he was reported to have taken all the pills in his house. Later, he was seen lying on a rocky jetty in the ocean where he was thought to be waiting to die. The police, however, rescued him and took him in for treatment. He was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder, which he received treatment for. He lived to his eighties as reported. The response given to his first suicide attempt played a critical role in ridding him of any suicidal thoughts, thus, making him live that long (Bostwick et al., 2016). He did not attempt to commit suicide later in his life, which can be credited to the treatment he received after the first attempt.

Question 3: Factors Making Youth to Commit Suicide in Rich Nations

There are many factors that drive young people in developed nations like the United States and Canada into committing suicide. These factors range from socio-cultural, economic, and health factors (Davidson & Linnoila, 2013). Some of these factors are as discussed below.

Bullying sometimes leads young people to committing suicide. More so, young people who find themselves locked in abusive relationship, whether in their homes, school or any other place, may end up trying to commit suicide in an attempt to escape the abusive relationship (Anestis, 2018).

Mental illnesses like depression and bipolar disorders have been recorded as some of the factors that drive the youth into committing suicide. In addition, to these two are borderline personality disorders. All these psychological disorders amplify the pain that the youth may be feeling due to a particular bad situation, hence, convincing them that there is no way out of that problem except through death (Bostwick et al., 2016). So, they drive them into attempting suicide to escape from the bad situation.

Other factors may include, but not limited to, the following: failed relationships, feelings of being unloved and isolated, and substance abuse. It would be good to note that, however, young persons do not desire to die early but try death as a solution to a certain bad situation that they may feel they have no other way to solve (Bostwick et al., 2016). Thus, making deliberate attempts to educate the youth on the best ways to cope with challenges in life can go a long way in averting suicide cases in the rich societies like the US and Canada.

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Suicide has been recorded as one of the leading causes of death in the world. In the United States, it is the tenth leading cause of death. Among the youth, it is the second leading cause of deaths. Thus, there is the need to make deliberate moves to counter it. This may partially be achieved by responding to attempted suicide cases with the seriousness that they deserve. After the first suicide attempt, individuals are faced with the risk of a second attempt. Subsequent suicide attempts have been recorded to result to more fatalities in comparison to first attempts. Therefore, the threat of a subsequent attempt can be addressed by treating the patient thoroughly after the first attempt regardless of the level of lethality of the attempt.

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  1. Anestis, M. D. (2018). Guns and suicide: An American epidemic. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  2. Bostwick, J. M., Pabbati, C., Geske, J. R., & McKean, A. J. (2016). Suicide attempt as a risk factor for completed suicide: Even more lethal than we knew. American Journal of Psychiatry, 173(11), 1094-1100.
  3. Davidson, L., & Linnoila, M. (2013). Risk factors for youth suicide. Taylor & Francis.
  4. World Health Organization. (2017). Preventing suicide: A resource for media professionals, update 2017.
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