Most Suicides Are Impulsive [...]

The great myth of suicide is that it represents a bottom reached after months of inexorable decline, and that a person who fails to commit suicide on one occasion would later succeed on another. In reality, while there are underlying factors, most suicides are impulsive, and if means are not available the urge will pass. [link l=”http://www.vox.com/2015/7/30/9068255/suicide-impulsive-gun-control” t=”Post on Vox”]

As an example, a 2005 study interviewed 153 survivors of nearly-lethal suicide attempts, ages 13-34. This population is generally thought to be psychologically similar to completers, due to the severity of their injuries. They were asked: “How much time passed between the time you decided to complete suicide and when you actually attempted suicide?”

The answers?

  • 24% said less than five minutes
  • 24% said 5-19 minutes
  • 23% said 20 minutes to 1 hour
  • 16% said 2-8 hours

Only 13% said they had given one or more days to the decision. [link l=”http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/means-matter/impulsivity/” t=”Study”]

Similarly, an Austrian study found that nearly half of patients had less than ten minutes elapse between the idea and the execution. And a 1985 study in Texas found that most of those attempting suicide by firearm had no history of depression or psychosis, and were reacting to events that had happened within the past 24 hours.

[ann]

Suicides have replaced traffic fatalities as a cause of accidental death in the U.S. See [w l=”Rising Suicides”]

Suicides in the U.S. are not evenly distributed. See [w l=”Suicide Belt”]

The idea that Sweden has high suicide rates is largely a myth. See [w l=”Swedish Suicide Myth”]

There are policy implications. See [w l=”Gun Control Could Help Prevent Suicides”]

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