Suicide In Our Modern Context

AlchoPwn

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#61
In the UK people rarely use firearms for suicide. i've only skimmed these statistics https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopula.../suicidesintheunitedkingdom/2017registrations but hanging is the most common also for men is mostly middle aged not to mention, as a percentage suicides have gone down
That's great news for Britain. I have faith that Brexit will help y'all catch up with the rest of the world and that thanatos will prevail. I personally am not from the UK, and I am speaking about more global stats. On the other hand, I commend the use of hanging, it is a most cost effective and reliable way to kill someone. Rope is cheap and the noose is an easy knot to tie. The USA is so flashy and ostenatious in comparison to good hand crafted British rope. The young women of the world really need information like this to help them bridge the gender gap in suicide. I doubt that many glass ceilings are structurally secure enough to bear the weight of an adult human body.
:jtease:
 

James_H

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#62
^ :eek:

We don't have as many suicides by firearm for the same reason we don't have as many homicides by firearm, i.e. not just anyone can own a firearm.
 

Frideswide

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#63
The young women of the world really need information like this to help them bridge the gender gap in suicide.
Wouldn't it be better (that is give more people more of a chance to think about it again) to stop the young men being so incompetent that they actually kill themselves?

*rolleyes*
 

Ladyloafer

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#64
Maybe ropes for hanging are too feminine and men feel emasculated using them. More manly ropes would no doubt cut down on male suicides by shootings.
 

INT21

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#65
Casper' and Enola Gaia seem to be on the right track. At least to my point of view.

The expression 'Drank himself to death' is one we often hear about some one noted for his drinking habits.
But we do not often consider it a 'long term suicide by alcohol' which it may be. Some drink too much because they simply like it. But most appear to be drinking to hide some over arching problem. And often you would never guess what the problem is.

Today's living does not hold much of a future fore many. And they may take to drink or drugs to 'escape' having to think about it.
I expect we will see much more of it in the future as more people want to get off this ride.

INT21.
 

INT21

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#67
Maybe ropes for hanging are too feminine and men feel emasculated using them. More manly ropes would no doubt cut down on male suicides by shootings.
Probably not.

Suicide by shooting is very quick and relatively foolproof.

Hanging can go wrong and result in the person taking a long time to die. Remember that in a 'proper' (execution) hanging the idea is to break the neck, not to strangle the subject.
 

Ladyloafer

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#68
Probably not.

Suicide by shooting is very quick and relatively foolproof.

Hanging can go wrong and result in the person taking a long time to die. Remember that in a 'proper' (execution) hanging the idea is to break the neck, not to strangle the subject.
perhaps I should've added #sarcasm.
 

EnolaGaia

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#70
... Incidentally, I read that suicide statistics in Ireland (at least in the '80's) were practically meaningless - the stories of suicide notes found and hidden by Catholic family members were probably a myth (certainly difficult to prove). But a Coroner whose jurisdiction covered a river near Dublin never gave a verdict of suicide, every body recovered was a result of accidental drowning. I also think there is a big difference between the UK and the US in the number of suicides by deliberate vehicle crashes (I've earmarked the cliff in Cornwall where I'm taking my motorbike one day) - crashes in this country tend to be all treated as accidental. ...
... I think the shock headlines are about suicide being the highest cause of death for young men, NOT specially that there are lots of suicides. Just speculating, but maybe 20 years ago more young men died in other ways- car accidents, drugs, juvenile cancer? who knows. But I guess if those reasons for death have been solved, suddenly suicide numbers start to look worse.
I think both these posts touch on a persistent pair of problems in analyzing the subject of suicide:

- whether anyone / everyone else recognizes a death as a suicide
- how anyone / everyone else reacts to a suicide (e.g., hiding the fact; being in denial)

I once witnessed a horrific auto accident in which I barely got out of the way before a young man shot past me at insane speed, then within a few seconds suddenly veered off our side of the expressway and directly into an overpass abutment. He was going so fast his muscle car went airborne and splatted against the abutment circa 6 - 8 feet off the ground. There was no obstructing or interfering vehicle he could have been dodging. The abutment was the center support for the only overpass visible for circa 1 mile in either direction. Hot-rodding idiot exceeding the limits of his competence? Deliberate suicide by car? The flurry of news stories and the final police report hand-waved that it must have been the former (though it was never proven). I saw it happen, and if it wasn't a deliberate suicide it was a damned fine simulation of one.

It's essentially impossible to identify some deaths as possible suicides without drawing a conclusion about the deceased's mental state. Above and beyond the obvious ambiguities and uncertainty this entails, there's a bias relating to the second problem ...

Suicide bothers the living to no end. It represents someone's ultimate refutation or rejection of everyone's most basic and protected feature (i.e., life itself).

The cliched response "How could he / she do this to me / us?" isn't just a cliche - I've heard it (and grimaced) many times in the wake of a suicide. The implied social stigma of suicide is so deeply troubling it's no wonder surviving friends and family members commonly declare the incident off-limits for discussion, hide / deny it, or treat it as an insult perpetrated by the deceased. Similarly, it's no wonder others (e.g., authorities; coroners) may obfuscate or mask any conclusion pointing to intentional self-destruction.

This is why I've usually taken suicide statistics with a grain of salt.
 

INT21

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#71
I can interpret that as many suicides are done by people who may feel (and often are) trapped in a situation they can't get out of. If they simply walk away from it they face the condemnation of the people they know, or they have the person(s) who were the cause of the situation hounding them fore the rest of their lives.
Or any number of mitigating circumstances.

So they take the only way they see as bringing an end to the misery.

Maybe hoping for another chance in reincarnation.

INT21.
 

Bad Bungle

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#72
Seeing how much sunk in from the lecturers and books from 35 years ago, We weren't studying suicide per se, we were assessing the best method of studying the phenomena. There were far fewer Coroners in the '80s, newly half were part-time and they came from a varied legal or medical background (Coroners nowadays all have to be lawyers). They all had the same legal definition of 'suicide' (self inflicted .. in sound mind .. death within a year and a day) but how they concluded whether a death was an accident, misadventure or suicide was largely up to them - there's weren't any written rules.
So how do you know if some-one comitted suicide or died accidentally ? You can't ask the victim - sometimes they will leave a note, sometimes there are religious or cultural reasons why a found note goes missing, many times there is no note. Some Coroners would look into the background and past of the deceased for clues: mental, emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, traumatic experiences, perceived depression etc and reach their conclusions. Others are reluctant to give a suicide verdict under any circumstances. But Coroners are not trained Psychologists and their findings become self-fulfilling statistics ie if you look for the causes of suicide in statistics (the empirical viewpoint), all you'll find are the personal biases of the Coroners that lead to their verdict.
I could go on (but won't), the Marxist viewpoint, Phenomenological Ethno-methodology - the point is that I don't really trust the popular media with statistics. Suicide may well be the biggest killer of young men and that's a powerful headline, just don't know the significance yet.
 

INT21

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#73
But do you agree that, what with the likely reduction in available employment and thus the loss of status, the number of young male suicides is likely to increase ?
 

Mungoman

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#75
Take a look at "The Captive Woman" by Hannah Gavron, in which she argues (convincingly) that in the late 1950's and 1960's people rushed into unsuitable marriages while young, simply to get out of their parents' houses.

The result was a generation of under educated women - having left school at 16, who'd never had a job, so were essentially trapped in marriages without recourse or other options in life.

I disagree with that premise.

From what I saw, and remember, there were three options for women and all three involved not getting married.

The first was working in a bank, the second was studying and becoming a teacher, the third - becoming a novitiate. All three were ended by marrying

Women had only one option if they wanted to work once they were married and that was becoming a school cleaner.


Whatever the career path, once women 'settled down' and married, that was it.

Also, girls were told that they were leaving school to help their mum out - or their parents couldn't see the point of further education for a woman because she was just going to have babies.

No. It was a social thing, like many other aspects of that time repeated and confirmed by society in general.

Your opinion may vary.
 

INT21

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#76
Mungoman,

Where I live, in the 50's-60's many women went to work in the mills.

And unless they were ex-grammar school, the options for further education were pretty limited.

It is a fact though, that getting a husband and having a child was sometimes seen as a way out of the family home.

But we are wandering off-topic.
 

AlchoPwn

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#77
Wouldn't it be better (that is give more people more of a chance to think about it again) to stop the young men being so incompetent that they actually kill themselves? *rolleyes*
I think you have this all wrong. I can't imagine anything quite so incompetent as a failed suicide. It is sort of the bottom of the bottom for me.
To be so hopeless that you want to kill yourself, then trying suicide and failing. Sheesh! Or worse, failing suicide multiple times... That is the very definition of total incompetence, surely? Yes, I know that there is the whole diminished capacity that comes on with deep depression, but still, if you are going to do something, at very least get it right.

A great fool I know once tried to commit suicide when his boyfriend left him by putting his head in a swimming pool. He did this quite a few times, and wondered why nobody was taking him seriously. Of course we would have intervened if he looked like doing something more credible, but mostly we just stifled our laughter as best we could. 30 failed suicide attempts in one hour. I think it may be some sort of record.

I would have been a lot more sympathetic and quick to act if I thought the individual in question was actually attemtping genuine self harm. I was also late to the party, and had to be informed about why the hell Mr. X was dunking his head in the pool and blowing bubbles over and over again. Goths, especially old one like myself, deal with a lot of "suicide", and you quickly get a sense for what is real distress and what is attention seeking.
 
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Swifty

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#78
I've lost four younger friends because they committed suicide in the last thirteen years, three hung themselves and one took a medication overdose. Two of them were successful (if you can describe killing yourself as 'successful') only after the second attempt. All of them were between the ages of twenty to thirty.

Anyone reading this thread who feels they might want to do this, please instead contact the mental health charity MIND instead, or your GP, or The Samaritans, or The Suicide Prevention Hotline, they have a combination of techniques to support you.

My Mrs was in bits when this lad in the video below achieved suicide on his second attempt, he was one of her members of staff and brought her a bunch of flowers when he was discharged from the hospital after his first attempt
, she'd sent him a get well soon card with a picture of the sea because that was his favourite spot to chill. I argued after the first attempt that he should have instead been temporarily sectioned and spoke to our shadow health secretary Norman Lamb who agreed ... the shit's really hit the fan now that the next one to hang himself was Adam, his cousin. Questions are finally being aggressively asked. His BMX was wheeled into the church at the funeral by his brother who still works for the Mrs. Kids are being let down.


https://www.mind.org.uk/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiM7d7dnv4AIVQrTtCh2lwQrkEAAYAiAAEgKuQ_D_BwE
 
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Frideswide

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#79
I think you have this all wrong.
Or I am illustrating how a personal bias influences interpretation - hence the *rolleyes*.

I think you have this all wrong. I can't imagine anything quite so incompetent as a failed suicide. It is sort of the bottom of the bottom for me.
I think you have this all wrong. I can't imagine anything quite so incompetent as a failed suicide. It is sort of the bottom of the bottom for me.
can't imagine anything quite so incompetent as a failed suicide. It is sort of the bottom of the bottom for me.
To be so hopeless that you want to kill yourself, then trying suicide and failing. Sheesh! Or worse, failing suicide multiple times... That is the very definition of total incompetence, surely?
Move away from your own definitions that label people incompetent and consider and alternative scenarios. It's an exercise. Used to do it with late teens.

Some one who has it in their head that the reason people do whatever it is - the "correct" reason in their view - is to kill themselves, won't be able to change the emphasis. Instead of stating that the subgroup that doesn't reach what you think is the goal, trying changing the terms.

For example, rather than group A failing and group B succeeding, try the idea that they are after different goals. In this case this leads to the possibility that group B is failing at "trying to get help" and group A is succeeding.

but still, if you are going to do something, at very least get it right.
Totally agree with this. One of the ways "we get it right" here is to look at all views of something, coming out of comfort zones and trying different a different model. For the exercise it doesn't have to work, it has to stretch us - of course, then we should look at of the mind refusing to swallow is confirmation bias or because something doesn't fit.

Perhaps the person in your anecdotal evidence wasn't trying to kill himself and failing. He was trying to connect, ask for help, get a human contact - and failing. My own bias here means that my primary analysis here is that isn't primarily to do with him, it's to do with those he was trying to communicate with - "A great fool ", "hopeless ", "Sheesh ", "worse", "total incompetence ", "nobody was taking him seriously ", "we just stifled our laughter ", "attention seeking"... perhaps his error lay in him trying to communicate with this particular group of people? Remember, this is an exercise, don't get attached to the idea of discrediting a possible interpretation - this is one of the things we do here, isn;t it?

Goths, especially old one like myself, deal with a lot of "suicide", and you quickly get a sense for what is real distress and what is attention seeking.
I'll rephrase this from my own angle "Teachers/members of a group where the suicide rate is greater than the general population, especially old ones like myself, deal with a lot of suicide, and you quickly get a sense that trying to find out the why and wherefore is akin to the problem of accurate weather forecasting."

I think you have this all wrong. I can't imagine anything quite so incompetent as a failed suicide. It is sort of the bottom of the bottom for me.
Really? I can imagine quite a few things, including the framing of the statement! :rollingw::rollingw::rollingw::oldm:
 

AlchoPwn

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#80
Or I am illustrating how a personal bias influences interpretation - hence the *rolleyes*.
Yes, if you have enough experience with these things, you develop a "bias", but other people, i.e. mental health professionals, would call it a proficiency based on experience. If you think goths are morbid you should chat with medics.

Move away from your own definitions that label people incompetent and consider and alternative scenarios. It's an exercise. Used to do it with late teens.
Umm... Nope. My system work just fine thanks. It is a product of doing the whole "alternative scenarios" prior, then forming an evidence based conclusion. What you are offering me is hipster logic, which I don't accept. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has feathers and a beak like a duck, eats duck food, and hangs out with other ducks, it's probably a duck. The same goes with hipsters. Labels work, and that is why we have things like clinical diagnoses, which are, after all, only labels (supported by decades of research and observational models).

Some one who has it in their head that the reason people do whatever it is - the "correct" reason in their view - is to kill themselves, won't be able to change the emphasis. Instead of stating that the subgroup that doesn't reach what you think is the goal, trying changing the terms.
Could you reword that and try again please? I think I understood what you meant, but the grammatical ambiguities render the statement ambiguous.

For example, rather than group A failing and group B succeeding, try the idea that they are after different goals. In this case this leads to the possibility that group B is failing at "trying to get help" and group A is succeeding.
On the contrary, as something of a Nihilist, I am not going to make such a moral judgement against the value of some people committing suicide, providing their choice isn't formed resultant from a state of depression. Suicide can be a perfectly sensible moral choice in my opinion, and I certainly support another human being's right to die in fair number of circumstances. A heartbroken or bullied teenager trying to kill themselves doesn't count as any of those however; they need help, and should call a suicide hotline. An elderly person facing a painful terminal illness however should be offered the opportunity for mercy we would present any other suffering animal under those circumstances.

As to the example you offer, it is fundamentally flawed. Neither group is interested in seeking help if they are actually proceeding with the action of suicide. The notion that just because group B fail at suicide, that there must have been some sort of intervention where someone helped out is Polyanna thinking. I propose that that is yet another category, namely group C, where a successful intervention took place, which is a small subset of failed suicide attempts. Mostly group B will vomit up their poison, or their method was usuccessful for other technical reasons. I was going to go into details but decided against it.

Totally agree with this. One of the ways "we get it right" here is to look at all views of something, coming out of comfort zones and trying different a different model. For the exercise it doesn't have to work, it has to stretch us - of course, then we should look at of the mind refusing to swallow is confirmation bias or because something doesn't fit.
But you aren't doing exactly what you recommend I do. Do you seriously think changing the location of the goalposts is going to change the outcome? Why should anyone accept your definitions if you lack the courtesy to properly address theirs?

Perhaps the person in your anecdotal evidence wasn't trying to kill himself and failing. He was trying to connect, ask for help, get a human contact - and failing. My own bias here means that my primary analysis here is that isn't primarily to do with him, it's to do with those he was trying to communicate with - "A great fool ", "hopeless ", "Sheesh ", "worse", "total incompetence ", "nobody was taking him seriously ", "we just stifled our laughter ", "attention seeking"... perhaps his error lay in him trying to communicate with this particular group of people? Remember, this is an exercise, don't get attached to the idea of discrediting a possible interpretation - this is one of the things we do here, isn;t it?
No, he was badly drunk at the time, and possibly other drugs, and was notorious drama queen. He was raving about how his boyfriend had "made him gay", and other very crass remarks that would be construed as intensely homophobic if they hadn't come from the mouth of an apparently gay person. The individual in question was well known to me, but not someone I could pretend to respect, as I don't suffer fools gladly (unless they are doing dares for my amusement). And seriously, you just can't kill yourself that way. Anyone who knows anything about committing suicide will tell you that your autonomic nervous system will force you to pull your head out of water and draw breath. He had made no attempt to restrain himself, and we were keeping an eye on him in case he got the clever idea of jumping in, which might have worked given his drunken state. You might be surprised to know that he is married with 2 kids these days, and still an idiot and a drama queen.

I'll rephrase this from my own angle "Teachers/members of a group where the suicide rate is greater than the general population, especially old ones like myself, deal with a lot of suicide, and you quickly get a sense that trying to find out the why and wherefore is akin to the problem of accurate weather forecasting."
Well there are a lot of pretty biased assumptions nested in that statement. Have you ever looked at yourself and thought "Wow, maybe I'm a total hypocrite and my whole position is BS?"

Suffice to say I am somewhat overqualified in the area and no longer very interested in it, which is why I moved to neuropsychology. I mean, this is not to say that coming home from volunteer work at the suicide hotline didn't make me a "little ray of death". I'm sure I could have used all that lovely negative energy to create a completely statistically ambiguous cancer cluster via ritual magic if my neighbors had been less pleasant.
 

Frideswide

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#81
So..... you've ignored the repeated "this is an exercise" statements. And decided that nothing can be found of interest by reframing the situation. This is a discussion - or at least I take it as such; is your interpetation of this that you are going to lay down the law and no change of view, however theoretical, is permitted without attracting your personal comments?

You seem very invested in this - lots of unsupported assertions about what I think, lots of swaggering about your qualifications... have you noted and considered mine? Or asked? I tend to assume that people know what they are talking about and interest comes from the differences in how that expertise manifests.

I repeat, this is an exercise - I made a semi-flip comment reframing someones assertions from earlier in the thread. With a *rolleyes*. You took it ultra seriously and rather than just dismiss your effort of typing by ignoring it - since you had obviously missed the point - I did you the courtesy of continuing to play the game.

On the contrary, as something of a Nihilist, I am not going to make such a moral judgement against the value of some people committing suicide, providing their choice isn't formed resultant from a state of depression. Suicide can be a perfectly sensible moral choice in my opinion, and I certainly support another human being's right to die in fair number of circumstances. A heartbroken or bullied teenager trying to kill themselves doesn't count as any of those however; they need help, and should call a suicide hotline. An elderly person facing a painful terminal illness however should be offered the opportunity for mercy we would present any other suffering animal under those circumstances.
For example, you produce this as if it is a development that counters something I have espoused. I haven't. What you put is roughly the ethics which arising from my morals. So how are you misinterpreting this so badly? Again, THIS IS AN EXERCISE.

In continuing do please remember that here you critique the arguments but not the person.
 

AlchoPwn

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#82
So..... you've ignored the repeated "this is an exercise" statements. And decided that nothing can be found of interest by reframing the situation. This is a discussion - or at least I take it as such; is your interpetation of this that you are going to lay down the law and no change of view, however theoretical, is permitted without attracting your personal comments?
If you won't engage in my "exercise", why should I engage in yours? Do you not see how this is condescending, rude and inapropriate? Do you not see how if you insist on an "exercise" without actually engaging with the alternative opinion, that amounts to a dismissal? Implicit in my primary comment to which you were replying there was an "exercise" too, in case you missed it.

You seem very invested in this - lots of unsupported assertions about what I think, lots of swaggering about your qualifications... have you noted and considered mine? Or asked? I tend to assume that people know what they are talking about and interest comes from the differences in how that expertise manifests.
You haven't volunteered any quals. It is obvious that you are trying "cognitive reframing", which is, to quote dead Dr Lecter, a "blunt little tool". What's next? Are you going to offer me a questionnaire Clarice ?

I repeat, this is an exercise - I made a semi-flip comment reframing someones assertions from earlier in the thread. With a *rolleyes*. You took it ultra seriously and rather than just dismiss your effort of typing by ignoring it - since you had obviously missed the point - I did you the courtesy of continuing to play the game.
Well, again, if you won't do me the courtesy of considering the alternative perspective I was offering, why would I consider doing your exercise?

For example, you produce this as if it is a development that counters something I have espoused. I haven't. What you put is roughly the ethics which arising from my morals. So how are you misinterpreting this so badly? Again, THIS IS AN EXERCISE.
Actually it does contradict what you said, because you offer your "exercise" as a counterpoint, get it? Do you seriously think I don't know how cognitive reframing works? You never engaged with what I wrote, so why should I engage with what you wrote?

In continuing do please remember that here you critique the arguments but not the person.
Hold on a minute, your whole tone and approach was rude, condescending and inappropriate. It was founded in a pretense to standards that you were not actually practicing, which is the dictionary definition of hypocrisy, and that invalidated your argument. A coloquial expression for an invalidated argument is "BS". I believe everything I related to you was factually accurate on that basis. "BS" is not rude btw, it is an abbreviation to avoid the crass language, and if Jesus can call people hypocrites, then that is hardly crass and abusive language either.
 

maximus otter

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#83
But do you agree that, what with the likely reduction in available employment and thus the loss of status, the number of young male suicides is likely to increase ?


The UK male unemployment rate is currently 4.1%

l was a beat bobby when the rate peaked at 11 or 12%. l don’t recall having to tour my patch every morning ringing a bell and crying “Bring out your dead!

EU average unemployment rate ( l can’t be arsed to separate by sex) is 6.5%, with Greece triumphant at 18.5%

https://www.statista.com/statistics/268830/unemployment-rate-in-eu-countries/

Europe must be a bloodbath.

maximus otter
 
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AlchoPwn

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#84
Who wants to construct a data set? (jk, the answer to that is obviously no-one sane).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate
The UK is doing pretty well, coming in at 109, coming in at 107th for male suicides and 113th for female suicides.
The USA is not nearly so good, coming in at 34th, despite the mles being at 38th and the females at 42nd. If you average that out, why isn't that 40th? You will be pleased to know that suicide is illegal in many countries. Yes, if you try to kill yourself, they put you in jail. Obviously their legislators are complete rocket scientists.
 

INT21

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#85
Maximus otter,

So you didn't notice that I wrote..

..with the likely reduction in employment available...

It was a projection; and you responded with history.

INT21.
 

maximus otter

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#86
It was a projection; and you responded with history.
You speculated that high unemployment might raise suicide rates. A little bit of Googling might enable you to support your thesis.

l’d be interested to see the results.

maximus otter
 

Mikefule

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#87
I'm not at all sure that this is in any sense a Fortean subject, but I see the thread is a spin off from a spontaneous tangent on another thread.

I have no relevant qualifications or professional experience. I knew one young lad who was very much marginalised and socially awkward who threw himself from a 7th floor window. I know one adult female who has repeatedly taken overdoses and been hospitalised but always survived with no long term physical consequences. I do not see suicide as a subject to be trivialised.

Suicide is complex. Looking for correlations between rising or falling rates of something else (falling employment, rising homelessness, etc.) or contriving a supposed association with some pet peeve about the absurdity of the modern world won't help anyone to understand it. There are websites that will search big data and match curves to unrelated things as a jokey way of demonstrating that correlation does not imply causation.

When comparing rates of attempted suicide, we need to be aware that there are some behavioural differences between males and females. These apply consistently across populations but certainly not to every individual.

Males tend to be more physically aggressive; females tend to be more socially aware. A male may be more likely to choose a physically destructive method of killing himself such as a gun, or jumping in front of a train, or from a tall building. A female may be more likely to choose a less conspicuous method, such as an overdose.

Also, being more socially focussed than males, a female may be more likely to use a method that is unsuccessful because it is, to use the cliché, a cry for help.

I think people commit suicide when they feel that it is the only power or control that they have left.
  • An unemployed person with realistic hope of employment in the future is unlikely to commit suicide "because" he is unemployed.
  • A person with no job and no hope of a job in the future, and who has no supportive family network, and who can see no way out of his situation, may be more at risk of suicide. Someone with a political agenda may simplistically attribute the person's suicide to unemployment, but in reality it was for a complex set of reasons.

There are, crudely, two sorts of suicide:
  1. "I've had enough. I can see no way out of my predicament. I have no hope and no one cares."
  2. "No one cares? Well, I'll show them."
The first kind is a person who, for whatever reason, is in a state of absolute despair. They may have financial and work problems, family problems, terminal illness or chronic pain, and possibly depression — whether clinically diagnosed or not. They may at one time have had a normal degree of success and status and then lost it, and they now feel abandoned and hopeless. In some ways, losing status is harder to bear than never having had it.

The second kind may have some or all of the above characteristics, or they may always have been outsiders and felt marginalised or spurned. They are more likely to choose a violent method. I have heard a saying that a person who commits suicide does so to hurt two people: their self, because they have a self destructive urge, and someone else — e.g controlling parent, bully, ex partner... . I think that in the "I'll show them" cases, there is some truth to this.
 

AlchoPwn

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#88
Suicide is complex. Looking for correlations between rising or falling rates of something else (falling employment, rising homelessness, etc.) or contriving a supposed association with some pet peeve about the absurdity of the modern world won't help anyone to understand it. There are websites that will search big data and match curves to unrelated things as a jokey way of demonstrating that correlation does not imply causation.
Your post was thoughtful and accurate Mikefule, and I'm glad I read it. The paragraph above that I have chosen to highlight in particular is something that always concerns me, as picking over methodology and statistics; the whole ongoing process of peer review in psychology is difficult, and as you say correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation. In fact, sometimes the actual causation is nested somewhere related to the correlation, but only becomes apparent after hours of interminable nitpicking of every angle of a conceivable study and then being very lateral in one's thinking. It frequently takes real detective work, and when you see it (or worse, someone else sees it and you didn't), you kick yourself that you feel you were staring it in the face the whole time. When my hairline starts to recede I will blame statistics.
 

Mikefule

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#89
Your post was thoughtful and accurate Mikefule, and I'm glad I read it. The paragraph above that I have chosen to highlight in particular is something that always concerns me, as picking over methodology and statistics; the whole ongoing process of peer review in psychology is difficult, and as you say correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation. In fact, sometimes the actual causation is nested somewhere related to the correlation, but only becomes apparent after hours of interminable nitpicking of every angle of a conceivable study and then being very lateral in one's thinking. It frequently takes real detective work, and when you see it (or worse, someone else sees it and you didn't), you kick yourself that you feel you were staring it in the face the whole time. When my hairline starts to recede I will blame statistics.
Thank you.

I once read that the biggest problem with data from psychology experiments is that a disproportionate number of the subjects are psychology students or friends of psychology students. I don't know if that's literally true or a standing joke.

The problem with correlation is that too many people think:
  • If A then B.
The more sophisticated people think:

  • If A and B then C.
The even more sophisticated ones may think:

  • If A and B, and not C, then D.

However, the real situation with psychology is more likely to be along the lines of

  • If any 3 from (A B C and D) and not (both E and F) then the probability of G increases by X%

Therefore, in the circumstance you described as —

<<... when you see it (or worse, someone else sees it and you didn't), you kick yourself that you feel you were staring it in the face the whole time.>>

— there is a real risk that you are seeing what you were half hoping to find. Depending on your choice of angle, a cylinder may be a circle or an oblong, but neither of those is an accurate description of a cylinder.


To my mind, a psychological explanation is only valid when it allows you to make predictions that are more accurate than if they were made randomly. In the case of suicide:
  • I can imagine theories that might lead to reasonably accurate predictions about trends across populations, and may lead to successful intervention strategies. I hope so.
  • I find it much harder to imagine a theory sufficiently accurate to make useful predictions about an individual person. It would also be hard to test in each individual case.

If a theory says, "There is a 10% chance that Dave will commit suicide" the outcome will either be that Dave does or he doesn't. The theory allows for both outcomes and the event can only happen once or not at all.

If a theory says that a 50% increase in provision of shelters for the homeless will reduce suicides among the homeless by around 25%, and then there is an increase in provision of shelters, and then the suicide rate among the homeless drops by around 25%, then the theory appears to have some utility.
 

Coal

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#90
Thank you.

I once read that the biggest problem with data from psychology experiments is that a disproportionate number of the subjects are psychology students or friends of psychology students. I don't know if that's literally true or a standing joke.
Nope, it's true. As a student you are offered course credits to take part in other peoples studies and experiments.

This is fair enough if said study/experiment is for teaching purposes only. The problems with this in real research are several.

The first is that many psychology experiments rely on obfuscating the true purpose of the study, so that the subject don't second guess or unwittingly bias their response to that which they think the experimenter wants. Psychology students know this.

The second is the age demographic is narrow.

The third is that in psychology, there is often ten females for every one male subject, so gender biases can also creep in.

There's probably more problems with this approach. I pushed hard for a web-based survey for my dissertation as I wanted a wider demographic, a large sample size and really wanted to find out if my hypothesis was supported.

I personally consider psychology (in the UK) doesn't set or insist on an appropriate level of numeracy for students - they are (imo) not taught enough about statistics, what they really mean, or given enough time to consider experimental protocols and the necessity of them for sound results.

I read a prize winning study in the Psychologist magazine which stated that the hypothesis was 'proved' - in psychology studies one supports or does not support a hypothesis. Just getting p<.05 does not mean 'proved'. It means that if the null hypothesis was true, the result gained would occur five times in a hundred trials, that is, 20% of the time - by chance.

The problem with correlation is that too many people think:
  • If A then B.
The more sophisticated people think:

  • If A and B then C.
The even more sophisticated ones may think:

  • If A and B, and not C, then D.

However, the real situation with psychology is more likely to be along the lines of

  • If any 3 from (A B C and D) and not (both E and F) then the probability of G increases by X%

Therefore, in the circumstance you described as —

<<... when you see it (or worse, someone else sees it and you didn't), you kick yourself that you feel you were staring it in the face the whole time.>>

— there is a real risk that you are seeing what you were half hoping to find. Depending on your choice of angle, a cylinder may be a circle or an oblong, but neither of those is an accurate description of a cylinder.
Correlation means that a percentage of variance in the outcome can be explained by the variance in the the predictor variable. It's not immediately obvious what this means and many assume that, as you say, 'If A then B' or variants of it.

To my mind, a psychological explanation is only valid when it allows you to make predictions that are more accurate than if they were made randomly.
That's nicely put.

In the case of suicide:
  • I can imagine theories that might lead to reasonably accurate predictions about trends across populations, and may lead to successful intervention strategies. I hope so.
  • I find it much harder to imagine a theory sufficiently accurate to make useful predictions about an individual person. It would also be hard to test in each individual case.

If a theory says, "There is a 10% chance that Dave will commit suicide" the outcome will either be that Dave does or he doesn't. The theory allows for both outcomes and the event can only happen once or not at all.

If a theory says that a 50% increase in provision of shelters for the homeless will reduce suicides among the homeless by around 25%, and then there is an increase in provision of shelters, and then the suicide rate among the homeless drops by around 25%, then the theory appears to have some utility.
That sums it up rather well. A theory ought to say that there will be a 10% increase in suicides in the demographic of which Dave is a part.

A percentage increase in 'Event A' in a population, caused by a variance in 'Predictor B' across the same population, can be validated and had utility, but often when applied to a single individual will have little or no utility.

It's worth noting the real correlations in social psychology are generally very low. I got a 10% correlation on my dissertation between one predictor and the outcome, and although that's at first glance small, it's quite typical. I also got p < 0.01, which is suspiciously good, results that good are generally flawed experiments, although the markers didn't find the flaw. I haven't (yet).

On this subject; there are well validated studies that show a very strong correlation between low socio-economic status and health outcomes (mental and physical). On that basis a forward thinking country would ensure that poverty was eradicated...in the UK there's a tendency to consider poor people as lazy and therefore to blame for their predicament.

Essentially, this is an argument based on the (possibly wilful) misunderstanding that correlations in a population are based on 'if A then B', so if there is one instance of 'If A, not B' then the whole correlation argument is bogus. So one genuinely lazy person 'disproves' the study and so does one really industrious and lucky one.
 
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