Self destructive behaviors and survivors of suicide


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Self destructive behaviors and survivors of suicide

  1. 1. Psychology 262 Crisis and Trauma Intervention Yavapai College
  2. 2. Self- destructive behavior  Often synonymous with self-harm  May be used as a coping mechanism  May be used as an active attempt to drive people away.  Feelings of being incapable, undeserving, etc.
  3. 3. Self-destructive behavior  Self-destructive behavior is often a form of self- punishment in response to a personal failure, which may be real or perceived.  It is common misconception that self –destructive behavior is inherently attention seeking, or at least that attention is a primary motive. While this is undoubtedly true is some cases, normally the motivation runs much deeper that that.  Learned dysfunctional patterns of behavior early in life?
  4. 4. Types of self-destructive behaviors  Self harm  Drug use and abuse  Suicide  Risky types of behavior
  5. 5. Victims Loss, Victims Gained
  6. 6. Perspectives and Myths  Myth: people who commit suicide have a psychiatric illness  Fact: mental illness is not the dominant factor in most suicides  Myth: good circumstances prevent suicide  Fact: suicide cuts across race, age, job, etc.  Myth: most people who talk about it are not a serious risk  Fact: people usually talk about suicide or give clues and warnings of their intentions  Myth: people who threaten suicide, superficially cut their wrists, or do not succeed with other attempts are not at risk for suicide  Fact: majority of people who succeed in killing themselves have a history of previous suicide attempts  Myth: talking about suicide to people who are upset will put the idea in their head  Fact: suicide is too complex a process to occur as a result of asking a question
  7. 7. Understanding Suicide – Common Elements  The common purpose of suicide is to seek a solution  The common goal of suicide is cessation of consciousness  The common stimulus in suicide is intolerable psychological pain  The common stressor is frustrated psychological needs  The common emotion in suicide is hopelessness-helplessness  The common internal attitude in suicide is ambivalence  The common cognitive state in suicide is constriction  The common action in suicide is escape
  8. 8. Survivors of Suicide  Survivors of suicide represent the largest mental health casualties related to suicide  There are currently over 32,000 suicides in the USA. It is estimated that for every suicide there are at least 6 survivors. Some suicidologists believe this to be a very conservative estimate.  Based on this estimate, approximately 5 million Americans became survivors of suicide in the last 25 years.
  9. 9. Suicidal Grief  Grief does not follow a linear path. Furthermore, grief doesn’t always move in a forward direction.  There is no time frame for grief.  Survivors should not expect that their lives will return to their prior state. Survivors aim to adjust to life without their loved one.  Survivors often struggle with the reasons why suicide occurred and whether they could of done something to prevent the suicide.  At times, especially if the loved one had a mental disorder, the survivor may experience relief.  Shame or embarrassment might prevent the survivor from reaching out.  When the time is right, survivors will begin to enjoy life again. Healing does occur.
  10. 10. Suicide Bereavement 101  Survivors seem to struggle more with questions of meaning-making around the death (“Why did they do it?”)... survivors often struggle to make sense of the motives and frame of mind of the deceased.  Survivors show higher levels of feelings of guilt, blame, and responsibility for the death than other mourners (“Why didn’t I prevent it?”)...Occasionally, survivors feel that they directly caused the death through mistreatment or abandonment of the deceased. More frequently, they blame themselves for not anticipating and preventing the actual act of suicide...  Survivors experience heightened feelings of rejection or abandonment by the loved one, along with anger toward the deceased (“How could they do this to me?”).”
  11. 11. What Do I Do Now?  Some survivors struggle with what to tell other people. Although you should make whatever decision feels right to you, most survivors have found it best to simply acknowledge that their loved one died by suicide.  You may find that it helps to reach out to family and friends. Because some people may not know what to say, you may need to take the initiative to talk about the suicide, share your feelings, and ask for their help.  Anniversaries, birthdays and holidays may be especially difficult, so you might want to think about whether to continue old traditions or create some new ones.  You may experience unexpected waves of sadness; these are a normal part of the grieving process
  12. 12. Children as Survivors  It is a myth that children don’t grieve  Children are especially vulnerable to feelings of guilt and abandonment. It is important for them to know that the death was not their fault and that someone is there to take care of them.  Secrecy about the suicide in the hopes of protecting children may cause further complications. Explain the situation and answer children’s questions honestly and with age appropriate responses.
  13. 13. Helping a Survivor Heal  Accept The Intensity Of The Grief  Listen With Your Heart  Avoid Simplistic Explanations and Clichés  Be Compassionate  Understand The Uniqueness Of Suicide Grief  Be Aware Of Holidays And Anniversaries  Be Aware Of Support Groups
  14. 14. Consider your personal beliefs about suicide…  What do you think, feel, or believe when considering the concept of suicide? Your ethical, moral, and philosophical conceptualization of suicide will have direct and indirect influence on your clinical practice  It is fundamentally important to be aware of your ethical and philosophical beliefs, conceptualizations, and individual positions, as well as the direct and indirect impact of these beliefs on your practice