The recent suicide of forty-seven -year-old Heather Armstrong, who was also known as Mommy Blogger and Dooce, aroused much publicity. While almost everyone has a suicidal thought sometime, the critical factors for its acting-out are whether it is serious, if the person has a realistic plan and means of carrying it out (as a gun or pills), and their degree of self-control.
Because of the biological imperative to live, suicide usually requires that the person's thinking is addled by drugs or alcohol or both as with Armstrong. Conceptually, suicide reflects early life experience during which the person was made to feel worthless, this belief returning later when, as adult and burdened by exceptional stress, the person considers themselves to be unworthy of life.
Suicide is alway a tragedy and, as has long been said, a permanent solution to a temporary condition. I've long thought that, to increase its understanding, psychological autopsies of prominent figues should be publicized regardless of family embarrassment. After all, it no longer matters to the principal character.