How to Help the Suicidal Person to Choose Life: The Ethic of Care and Empathy as an Indispensable Tool for Intervention

The Importance of Teaching Suicidal Prevention Strategies to Gatekeepers

Author(s): Kathleen Stephany

Pp: 1-31 (31)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681085401117010006

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The purpose of this current book was to add to what is already scientifically and experientially known, about the important role that gatekeepers play in suicide prevention. A gatekeeper is defined as a person, who due to the type of work they are involved in, may come into contact with persons who are at risk of suicide. The therapeutic relationship between the gatekeeper and suicidal person was presented as key to helping the suicidal person. Instillation of hope was also promoted because, while persons who are suicidal are in the midst of their despair they cannot see clearly. They may therefore, benefit from a gatekeeper helping them to re-discover their hope. Some hard facts about suicide on a global level were reviewed. It was pointed out that suicide is a complex issue and never occurs in isolation. Therefore, taking into consideration relevant issues that either contribute to, or are associated with suicide were discussed, such as social stressors and cultural issues. Religion was identified as a potential protective factor against suicide. Reasons were given in support of doing more to train gatekeepers. The ethic of care was presented as the theoretical premise for this book and both the ethic of care and empathy were introduced as a tool for suicide prevention. Quantitative and qualitative research were acknowledged as important in enhancing what we know about suicide prevention. This current manuscript draws quite significantly from evidence based data that is quantitative and qualitative. Two modes of qualitative methodologies were utilized to specifically analyze the case studies presented in this book, the narrative case study approach and the psychological autopsy. In this current Chapter, key themes were identified from the narrative case study of a suicidal person who was admitted to the Emergency Room (ER). Placing a suicidal person is a secure room for a lengthy period of time may increase their sense of being alone, and perceived neglect from a gatekeeper may be interpreted by the suicidal person as a lack of care. It was advised that when caregivers do not act in empathetic ways, instead of being self-critical, they must strive to be more selfcompassionate. We were made aware of some of the ethical issues associated with caring for the suicidal person. For example, it was established that there is a risk of clinicians experiencing a violation of their moral agency, or their ability to act on their own moral beliefs.

Keywords: Adverse life experiences, Autonomy, Beneficence, Culture, Emergency room, Empathy, Ethical dilemma, Ethic of care, Ethic of justice, Ethnicity, Ethics, Gatekeeper, Hope, Methodology, Moral agency, Moral dis-engagement, Moral residue, Narrative case study, Non-maleficence, Occupation, Philosophy, Psychological autopsy, Qualitative research, Quantitative study, Recovery models, Religion, Resiliency, Secure room, Self-compassion, Sexual prejudice, Social stressors, Spirituality, Suicide, Suicidology, Suicidologist, Transgender.

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