"There is No Single Answer
No one knows why people kill themselves. Trying to find the answer is like trying to pinpoint what causes us to fall in love or what causes war. There is no single answer. Suicide is not a disease like cancer or polio. It is a symptom. ‘The problem of suicide cuts across all diagnoses,’ says John Mack, a psychiatrist and coauthor of Vivienne, the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who hanged herself. ‘Some are mentally ill, most are not. Some are psychotic, most are not. Some are impulsive, most are not.’ Says psychologist Pamela Cantor, ‘People commit suicide for many reasons. Some people who are depressed will commit suicide, and some people who are schizophrenic will commit suicide, and some people who are fine but impulsive will commit suicide. We can’t lump them all together.”
And just as there is no one explanation for the five thousand adolescent suicides each year, there is no one explanation for any particular suicide. While it is often said that suicide may be committed by twelve different people for twelve different reasons, it may just as true to say that one person may choose death for twelve different reasons or one hundred different reasons --- biological, sociological, and psychological factors that finally tighten around one place and time like a know.
Although many adolescent suicides are said to have come ‘out of the blue’, the majority of adolescents who kill themselves can be found, on closer inspection, to have had clearly discernible and often long-standing difficulties."
Excerpt from The Enigma of Suicide by George Howe Colt
George Howe Colt is an American journalist and author.He is the author of November of the Soul: The Enigma of Suicide (1991) and The Big House (book).