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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

On Suicide

An essay in The Wall Street Journal on April 1, 2023 ("We Need to Talk About Suicide"), by a person who attempted suicide three times, aroused comment. Though the biological imperative to live is powerful, all think of suicide at some point in their life, the critical factors predicting its lethality being the presence of suicide intent, the availability of lethal means (a gun or a drug), and the degree of self-control possessed. While the actual incidence of suicide compared to its thought is like the proverbial needle in a haystack, it should always be professionally evaluated. But sadly, Emergency Room evaluations can be unsophisticated, leading to unneeded hospitalization (the professionally "safest" decision) which has emotional risk, the person now viewing themselves as "a crazy person," unlike earlier when they considered themselves merely part of the human race. And as has long been said, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

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