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Suicide is not the exclusive domain of medicine


Pridmore, W and Pridmore, S, Suicide is not the exclusive domain of medicine, American Journal of Medical Research, 3, (1) pp. 174-187. ISSN 2334-4814 (2016) [Refereed Article]


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Background: In the West, beginning in the early 19th century, the belief was published that suicide was always, or almost always, the result of a mental disorder (a medical problem). This belief became established wisdom when psychological autopsies commenced in mid-20th century. However, should this belief be inaccurate, our suicide prevention strategies, which are currently medically orientated, need to change.

Aim: To argue the case that metal disorder is not always, or almost always, the cause of suicide, and that suicide may be triggered by a host of other factors.

Method: The scientific basis of psychological autopsies and the practice of medicalization were explored. The opinions of non-medical experts were explored, including philosophers, historians, sociologists, economists and ethicists, among others. Epidemiology of rates in different countries and gender differences were examined for evidence.

Conclusion: Suicide is not exclusively a medical problem. While suicide is more common in people who have a mental disorder than people without a mental disorder, mental disorder is not a necessary condition. Thus, open discussions about the nature and causes of suicide are required, with a view to involving experts from a range of fields, and the general community, in developing and funding suitable prevention strategies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:suicide, suicide prevention, major depressive disorder, medical ethics, medical sociology
Research Division:Medical and Health Sciences
Research Group:Public Health and Health Services
Research Field:Mental Health
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health)
Objective Field:Mental Health
Author:Pridmore, S (Professor Saxby Pridmore)
ID Code:106769
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:Medicine (Discipline)
Deposited On:2016-02-19
Last Modified:2018-03-06
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