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Suicide: loss, shame, guilt and pain across millennia


Money, T and Pridmore, S, Suicide: loss, shame, guilt and pain across millennia, American Journal of Medical Research, 4, (1) pp. 7-19. ISSN 2334-4814 (2017) [Refereed Article]


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Background: For the last 200 years Western medicine has insisted that all suicide is triggered by mental disorder.

Aim: To locate ancient reports of suicide in which the triggers (non-mental disorder) are clearly stated, and to discover whether these triggers still have that role today.

Method: We selected cases in which the triggers were compatible with those considered by Plato to constitute acceptable reasons for suicide: Loss of a lover, Loss of a child, Loss of choice of spouse (forced marriage), Loss of liberty (and revenge), Shame own actions, Shame actions of others, Shame loss in battle, Guilt, and Physical pain. Ancient and current cases were sought.

Findings: In all categories we identified at least one ancient and two recent cases.

Conclusion: We demonstrated that millennia ago, and at the present time, various non-mental disorder events had and have the capacity to trigger suicide. If we are to prevent suicide, our culture must discourage this response and strongly recommend other response options, to those who suffer such experiences.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:suicide, suicide prevention, history of medicine
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Mental health
UTAS Author:Pridmore, S (Professor Saxby Pridmore)
ID Code:109943
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2016-07-08
Last Modified:2018-08-27
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