The Suicide Understanding and Helping Those at Risk Publication date : March 18, 2015
Fabrice Jollant is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University and a researcher at the McGill Group on the study of suicide at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, in Montreal. He was formerly attached to the faculty of medicine at Montpellier University, France, and a research fellow at the Institute of Psychiatry, London.
Suicide is a brutal act that haunts the lives of many people: suicidal people, suicide attempters, as well as their families, friends and carers. Suicide and vulnerability have their wellsprings in incomprehension and pain, in anxiety and anger, in pain and grieving. Suicide concerns the young who depart before their time and the old who don’t depart as they should; it leaves behind amputated families.
Besides its emotional impact, suicide is an act that sheds light on our human condition and reveals the means that allow us to live with our environment, interact with it, respond to it. It underlines our complicated existence with our own selves. It discloses family history, and links us to the history of humanity. Suicidal behaviours possess common characteristics, regardless of place, time and even species, since some forms of animal behaviour can be suggestive of suicide.
Recent findings in psychology, genetics and neurophysiology have allowed us to better identify the constants, the processes and the cognitive mechanisms that can lead to suicide.
• Understanding cognitive processes will help us identify vulnerability to suicidal behaviours.
• Suicide offers a doorway to a better understanding of human nature.
• Suicide through the ages, throughout the world, and its social impact.