Surviving Suicide: Isolated by Social Stigmas

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Surviving Suicide: Isolated by Social Stigmas Suicide is the eleventh most common cause of death in the United States. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a person takes their own life once every fourteen minutes in the United States (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention [AFSP], 2011). Still, with suicide rates so high, suicide is a taboo topic in our society. Though suicide is intended to end one person’s pain, it causes an immeasurable amount of pain and suffering to loved ones close to the deceased. In 1972, Albert Cain laid the ground work for the psychology of those coping with suicide in his work Survivors of Suicide. Up to that time, there had been almost no research of the topic of suicide survivors. (McIntosh, 2003). The classification “Survivors of Suicide” (SoS), attributed to Cain in his 1972 book Survivors of Suicide, refers to friends and family left behind in the aftermath of a loved one’s self-inflicted death (McIntosh, 2003). In his foreword to the book, Edwin Shneidman, the founder of the American Association of Suicidology and cofounder of the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center, referred to the “survivors of suicide, as the largest mental health casualty area related to suicide” (McIntosh, 2003). The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention estimates six survivors for every suicide. According to their statistics, over 36,000 Americans die from suicide every year (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention [AFSP], 2011). This leaves over 216,000 Americans to cope in the aftermath of suicide in addition to those still coping from previous years. For decades after the release of Cain’s book Survivors of Suicide, little research was conducted on suicide survivors; howeve... ... middle of paper ... ... & McIntosh, J. L. (2011). Grief after suicide, understanding the consequences and caring for the survivors. (pp. 24-33). Routledge. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) (2011). Facts and figures, international statistics. Retrieved November 2, 2011, from John L McIntosh. (2003) . Handbook of Death and Dying. Volume 1: The Presence of Death. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Reference. Aguirre, R. P., & Slater, H. (2010). Suicide Postvention as Suicide Prevention: Improvement and Expansion in the United States. Death Studies, 34(6), 529-540. doi:10.1080/07481181003761336 World health Organization (WHO) (2011). Facts and figures, Suicide. Retrieved November 2, 2011 from Cvinar, J. G. (2005). Do Suicide Survivors Suffer Social Stigma: A Review of the Literature. Perspectives In Psychiatric Care, 41(1), 14-21.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that stigmatization contributes to problems in the mourning process after suicide. suicide survivors experience rejection, responsibility, shame, total grief, stigma, and "unique reactions."
  • Explains that suicide is the eleventh most common cause of death in the united states.
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