Aspects of Crisis of Lethality

The Dynamics of Suicide

According to Brown, Beck, Steer, and Grisham (2000), psychological dynamics like affection and rebuff can result in death. Brown et al. (2000) argue that the majority of people fancy demise and treat suicide as a getaway. Therefore, psychiatrists and doctors attempt to confront the fancies to curb cases of suicide. The psychological theory of suicide holds that a person “will not die by suicide unless s/he has both the desire to die and the ability to do so” (Brown et al., 2000, p. 373). The theory argues that when individuals possess two definite mental conditions concurrently, and when they hoard them for an extended period, they crave death. The two mental conditions are a sense of social estrangement and apparent burdensomeness. According to Van Orden, Lynam, Hollar, and Joiner (2006), the majority of people possess the instinct of self-preservation. Most people are unable to overcome instinct through force of will. For one to contemplate or commit suicide, s/he has to have developed boldness to injury, pain, and death. The courage is developed through a process of “repeatedly experiencing painful and otherwise provocative events” (Van Orden et al., 2006, p. 459). The theory states that occupations, which subject people to injury and pain may make a person contemplate suicide.

Suicide and the Moral Dilemma

Among the numerous moral and lawful dilemmas facing people in society is being requested to aid a terminally-ill relative end their life. Field (2003) argues that it is difficult to let a loved one continue suffering knowing very well that s/he will eventually die. On the other hand, federal laws and cultural values forbid people from committing murder or assisting patients to commit suicide. A majority of people agree that it is ethically and morally wrong to help a terminally-ill patient commit suicide. Society has a moral responsibility to defend and conserve life at all costs. To assist terminally-ill patients to terminate their lives contravenes the primary obligation of respecting human life. Challengers of assisted suicide maintain that patients should be allowed to die naturally (Field, 2003). On the other hand, proponents of assisted suicide argue that it is wrong to criticize or deny a terminally-ill patient the right to terminate their life on the basis of social or religious morals. Instead, people are supposed to help individuals suffering from terminal illnesses and respect their decisions. The dilemma arises when people argue that we should let patients decide at what point they wish to end their suffering. Even though patients have a moral right to decide what they want to do with their existence, we are obliged to safeguard life.

Attributes of Persons Who Commit Suicide

Brown et al. (2000) allege that people who commit suicide exhibit different characteristics. A person that is keen can easily detect these features. One of the characteristics of people who commit suicide is that they give up in life. Such people claim that they would rather die than live a hopeless life. According to Field (2003), individuals who commit suicide suffer from schizophrenia, substance abuse, and personality disorders. Also, the majority of people suffer from mental health. According to Field (2003), “helplessness and hopelessness are cardinal signs of suicidal depression” (p. 3). People with these signs believe that life is miserable, and they can do nothing about it. Thus, the only way to escape the miseries is by committing suicide.

Comparison between Suicide and Homicide

The correlation between suicide and homicide as procedures of carnage has been studied widely. According to Bills and Li (2005), “murder and suicide share common etiologies, results, and methods” (p. 841). Bills and Li (2005) argue that both suicide and homicide are prevalent in an environment characterized by inferior social integration. They argue that homicide and suicide are proportionalities of an individual’s social inclusion. Besides, both suicide and homicide are antithetical to social norms. Moreover, they both result in a degree of self-destruction. Bills and Li (2005) maintain that suicide and homicide are kinds of violence that are based on measures of social integration.

Use of Triage Assessment Form

The triage assessment form helps to address lethality. The evaluation form contributes to evaluating the suicidal behaviors of a patient by analyzing their past suicide attempts. The form also contributes to identifying risk factors for psychological disorders, precipitants, impulsivity, and stressors that might lead to a patient committing suicide. According to Van Orden et al. (2006), the triage assessment form helps to identify internal and external protective factors that may prevent a person from committing suicide. Once the factors are determined, they can be used to convince a patient to desist from contemplating suicide. Medical practitioners use the triage form to question patients about their intentions, plans, thoughts, and behaviors of committing suicide. Van Orden et al. (2006) allege that it is hard for doctors to assist patients if they do not have knowledge of their intentions. The triage assessment form helps doctors to know how determined the patients are to execute their plans. Moreover, it contributes to determining if the patients consider their intentions as self-injurious or lethal. Once the doctors understand the intentions of the patients, they assist them to change their minds. The doctors come up with treatment methods based on the risk level and plans of a patient.


Bills, C., & Li, G. (2005). Correlating homicide and suicide. International Journal of Epidemiology, 34(4), 837-845.

Brown, G., Beck, A., Steer, R., & Grisham, J. (2000). Risk factors for suicide in psychiatric outpatients: A 20-year prospective study. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(1), 371–377.

Field, D. (2003). Aiding suicide: A modern moral dilemma. The National Legal Eagle, 9(1), 1-3.

Van Orden, K., Lynam, M., Hollar, D., & Joiner, T. (2006). Perceived burdensomeness as an indicator of suicidal symptoms. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 30(1), 457-467.

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