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Several causes for attempted suicide – Dr Miller

Several causes for attempted suicide – Dr Miller


Everyone who sets out to commit suicide does not necessarily want to die.

This is according to health psychologist, Dr Jozelle Miller who spoke with SEARCHLIGHT this week, in response to a number of suicide attempts that have taken place recently in this country.

Miller told SEARCHLIGHT that the causes {{more}}for suicides are multifaceted and basically will occur when an individual gets to a stage where they feel helpless in their particular situation.

“There are persons who from a chronic illness that they can’t deal with, they might find themselves [saying] it is best I take my life than allowing this disease to do it,” the psychologist said.

“There are persons with relational problems; so, you have the general dysfunction between a man and a woman, infidelity, financial issues – anything at all that seems to be too much of a burden that persons cannot negotiate how best they can get out of their problems. They think that they best thing for them to do it take themselves out of the equation and then the problem disappears.”

According to Miller, who is stationed at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, some individuals may not attempt suicide to die, but rather they are seeking attention so that they can highlight how serious they are about a particular issue.

She added that this is usually a sign that the individual may have problems communicating with others about what their issues might be.

“We have an issue with confidentiality in this country that people think then that if I tell this person, then my business going to be on the street and then more people going to know about things; then they keep things to themselves and they can’t deal or cope very well,” Miller told SEARCHLIGHT.

“There is a breakdown in communication between parents and children. So families are no longer the network where people find the support; so, instead of being able to run to mommy and daddy, they resort to solving problems and situations on their own and it backfires.”

While suicides are committed by persons of any age, the psychologist explained that in most cases, teenage victims are more impulsive, where they may suddenly decide to end their lives on a whim. Meanwhile, older persons contemplating the act tend to begin making plans and putting things in order so that their children or family members know what to do when they are gone.

According to the psychologist, tell-tale signs that someone is contemplating suicide include a change in personality, where outgoing individuals may suddenly shut down and become isolated and detached; self mutilation; bi-polar type change in moods; incoherent speech; and persons who may not be able to sleep at night are often observed staring blankly into space.

“Don’t allow them to be left on their own, but try to be around them so that they can feel safe again and be encouraged to open up,” Miller advised.

“Anyone who makes a threat of suicide, that threat should never be taken lightly because one of the questions that I would ask as soon as someone says I’m going to kill myself, I’m going to say ‘How do you plan to do it?’”

Miller explained that once an individual has a definite plan on how they intend to kill themselves, persons should act quickly to ensure that the necessary means to commit the act is not readily available to the individual.

“Find out why and let them identify issues they are having. It is never good to negate or make light of anyone’s issue; so, the worst thing you can possible do is say ‘that’s your problem’. That person would need cognitive behavioural therapy because linked to suicide is the whole issue of depression and hopelessness. Identify any irrational thinking or communication and try and transform that. If somebody feels everybody is against me – and they tend to generalize a lot of statements… you want to show them the flaws in their thinking. That if something happened in one situation, it doesn’t mean it can apply to something else,” she said.

The psychologist expressed how unfortunate it was that persons seem to believe that there is no other recourse than to take their own lives. She is encouraging all persons, once they have an issue, to seek help and to speak with a psychologist, friend or pastor.

She also advised the media against “sensationalizing” the issue, lest persons begin to think that it is the right thing to do.(BK)