Preventing and Treating Mental Illness & Understanding the Mindset of the Suicidal Person
Pp. 60-75 (16)
Chapter three pointed out that there is a significant connection between
suicide and a diagnosis of mental illness and/or addictions. In fact the risk of suicide in
people who are suffering from a mental disorder is five to 15 times higher than for
people without a co-existing mental disorder. The degree of suicide risk associated with
some specific diagnoses was presented first, followed by strategies to address early
diagnosis and treatment. We are made aware of the fact that the WHO recommends
that every country develop a national strategy for suicide prevention that includes
provisions for early diagnosis and treatment of persons suffering from mental illness.
Six specific strategies were recommended to address the global shortfall in mental
health and addictions services. Psychache, or a mindset of unbearable emotional pain
was determined to be a necessary condition for suicide to happen. Constriction of
thought often accompanies psychache. The Strain Theory of Suicide was used to
explain how psychache is preceded by specific types of psychological stressors. These
stressors actually pull a person in conflicting directions that contribute to their hopeless
despair. The lived experience of a suicidal person was examined in order to gain a
clearer appreciation of the degree of their psychological pain. The following three
specific ways were proposed to help the suicidal person to move past a death focused
mindset. Attempting to understand their psychological pain fosters connection through
empathy. Challenging their constricted thought patterns may help them to choose a
coping mechanism other than death, and so will assist them to change the ending of
their story from death to life. As an aspect of a psychological autopsy, the contents of a
suicide note was examined and two key premises surfaced. The suicide note left clues
to the person’s experience of psychache. It also revealed their plea for understanding.
In short, fostering resiliency was proposed as another way to help prevent suicide.
Addictions, Affective disorders, Anxiety disorders, Behavior
disorders, Constriction of thought, Empathy, Mental illness, Mental wellness,
Narrative Action Theoretical Approach, Personality disorders, Psychache,
Psychological autopsy, Psychological pain, Resiliency, Schizophrenia, Strain
Theory of Suicide, Substance-related disorders, Suicide note, Understanding.
Faculty of Health Sciences, Douglas College,BC, Canada.