Suicide Prevention: more complex ?

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 Have a read of below and ask your self : hero or coward ?

  • A British ex-soldier who died fighting in Ukraine.
  • The Kamikaze pilots: human bombs to destroy the US Navy.
  • A businessman takes his life in an effort to avoid scandal and the pain of admitting his wrongdoing to his family.
  • A husband who is overwhelmed with the long term effects of Muscular Sclerosis (MS) takes a massive overdose, when alone for the weekend.
  • A suffragette who visits a racecourse, waits for the horses to arrive, jumps and is trampled to death.
  • An Irish political protester who refuses to eat, despite being forced fed and dies for the IRA cause.
  • A 20 year old who walks into a crowded room and triggers a backpack bomb.
  • A father falls to his death in the Lake District while climbing with his daughter.

                                                                                                              Photo by Sander Sammy on Unsplash

Jordan Gatley travelled to Ukraine. 

An ex-British soldier, he was shot dead while combat fighting, is hailed a hero by both his family and the Ukraine president adviser. It takes a lot of courage to go a thousand miles to defend what you believe in. 

Just because the heart says so. Jordan's death sacrifices his life: a brave act of suicide ?

                                                                                                                      Naval Historical Foundation Image

Kamikaze "divine wind" pilots were a part of the Japanese Special Attack Units who flew suicide attacks in the World War II Pacific campaign. Kamikaze pilots would attempt to crash their aircraft into enemy ships, called a "body attack". 

Although 3,800 died, more than 7,000 USA personnel were killed by kamikaze attacks. Thousands of kamikaze pilots were asked to sacrifice their lives for Japan's collapsing war effort, but the letters they left behind reveal they weren't all eager volunteers. 

For some it was an honourable and brave end, for others, they felt they had no choice. 

"I cannot help crying when I think of you, Mum. When I reflect on the hopes you had for my future...I feel so sad that I am going to die without doing anything to bring you joy.

A Japanese action hero or cowardly feelings ?

The First World War devastated a generation of young men. 

Trauma of war didn't end when the guns stopped firing. Thousands of soldiers returned from the trenches, reeling from the horror. 

By the end of the war, 20,000 men were still suffering from shell shock. At the time, there was little sympathy for shell shock victims. Many felt shame on their return home. 

Some were treated as deserters Shell shock was generally seen as a sign of emotional weakness or cowardice.

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Today, it is called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Recent inquests which found soldiers had taken their lives, include that of PTSD. 

The Bradford coroner heard James Byrne 29, bravely battled PTSD for a decade after serving in the Afghan conflict. 

Despite excelling on operations, his Mental Health crumbled. Although he was placed on the Severe Mental Health Register, James took his life.

Suicide remains a rare event in the UK armed forces, with on average less than two per month. In 2020, there were nine coroner confirmed suicides. 

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If a businessman takes his life in an effort to avoid scandal and the pain of admitting his wrongdoing to his family, He may be labelled as a coward and a fraudster;

"its too hot in my cabin !" were the last words of Robert Maxwell said to the person in charge of his luxury yacht. It was almost five in the morning in 1991. 

The next day, a Spanish fisherman spotted his naked body floating,15 miles away. 

His business empire on the brink of collapse, without authority, he used many millions of pounds from his employee pension funds to finance his corporate debt and his lavish lifestyle. Thousands of Maxwell employees lost their pensions. Murder was ruled out by the inquest and so was suicide. 

So what happened and what were the effects on the family ?

Jeffrey Epstein was found hanged at 6:30 a.m. in 2019, at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. 

Epstein's death angered his accusers, who hoped to have his accusations of sexual abuse of girls aired in open court. 

Ghislaine Maxwell, Robert Maxwell's daughter was found guilty of child sex trafficking and other offences in connection with the convicted sex offender Epstein and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment in June 2022. 

What effect did her father's death have on Ghislaine ?

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The biggest predictor of suicide may not be just the thoughts about ending your life but the feeling of being trapped. 

Social isolation is something that entrepreneurs frequently report.

CEOs can feel this too.

It's even worse to feel isolated when you are surrounded by people, but you still feel alone. The very nature of entrepreneurship vastly increases the rate and intensity of experiences of humiliation, rejection and failure.Inability to tolerate these events may relate to long-standing personal vulnerabilities. 

Getting a business person out of an emotional trap involves making serious business decisions, that involves others.

                                                                                                                      Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Suicide provides a solution to intense personal pain: as life ends, the pain ends.

Life can be tough, at times, for anyone. Having Muscular Sclerosis (MS) can significantly add to the list of things to deal with. Research suggests that approximately one-third of people with MS have thoughts of suicide at some point. Some groups of terminally ill patients are twice as likely to act and die by suicide.  

"My brother took his own life while terminally ill with cancer. He died alone without being able to say goodbye to his family. He simply wanted control over how he died and the only option available to him was to take matters into his own hands".

Euthanasia is the act of deliberately ending a person's life to relieve suffering. 

Voluntary euthanasia is where a person makes the decision to die and asks for help to do so. 

Non-voluntary euthanasia is where a person is unable to give their consent and another person takes the decision on their behalf, such as being in a coma. Assisted suicide is the act of deliberately assisting another person to take their lives. 

Assisted suicide is illegal under the Suicide Act (1961). It is punishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment. 

Attempting to end your life is not a criminal act. Depending on the circumstances, euthanasia is regarded as either manslaughter or murder. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

Paul Lamb, 65, a former builder from Leeds, paralysed from the neck down following a car accident, lived in constant pain, dependent on 24 hr care for almost every aspect of his life. 

The Court of Appeal refused permission to review the law on assisted dying. Lawyers acting for Paul had appealed, arguing that the Suicide Act violated Paul's human rights.The Court of Appeal ruled that assisted dying should be resolved by Parliament not the courts. 

The British Medical Association report that the majority of doctors favoured changing it to help those in Paul's situation.

In 2021, the Assisted Dying Bill was debated in the House of Lords. Proposed by Baroness Meacher, the new law would enable adults who are of sound mind and have at least six months to live, to be offered life-ending medication. 

As a private member's Bill starting in the Lords, Meacher's Bill is unlikely to succeed because it has no priority to be debated in the Commons.

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Mother Hollie found her 12 year old son unconscious, with a dressing gown cord wrapped around his neck, in April 2022. 

The ambulance crew assessed Archie Battersby with the Glasgow Coma Scale 3. A GCS score of 3 is the lowest possible score. It is associated with an extremely high mortality rate, with some researchers suggesting that there is zero chance of survival. 

Clinicians diagnosed Archie as brain dead, making the clinical decision to end treatment and switch his ventilator machine off. His parents refused. 

They sought legal action but the Court of Appeal rejected their request saying it was not in Archie's best interest. 

Archie's mother Hollie believed that Archie was not trying to take his life but was taking part in the Tik Tok "black out challenge". Intentionally hold your breath until you pass out (due to a lack of oxygen). 

It actually started back in 2008 as a choking game but it had been doing the rounds on TikTok, reaching a new social media audience. 

According to PEOPLE, four children under the age of 12 have already died after attempting to copy the challenge. It has resulted in more than 80 deaths, according to the CDC. 

Although Archie's family spent several months battling the European Court of Human Rights to keep Archie on life support. They lost and the machine was switched off.

TikTok say that people seem to learn about from sources other than TikTok, long predates their platform and has never been a TikTok trend. They remain vigilant in their commitment to user safety and would immediately remove related content if found,

Other challenges on the internet include the skull breaker challenge. 

Three participants standing next to each other before jumping straight up. While the middle person is in the air, the other two, kick inward to knock the middle person off balance, subsequently hit their head when they fall on the ground.

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For some it is a selfless act.

Emily Davidson made history when in 1913, she threw herself in front of the King's horse at the Epsom Derby to protest against women's suffrage. 

Emily died from her injuries four days after the horse crashed into her. 

She was sentenced to prison twice in 1909, each time for two months. One was for attempting to enter a room where the Chancellor of the Exchequer was delivering a speech and the other for hurling rocks. 

Both ended early when she went on hunger strike. The authorities decided to apply force-feeding instead of early release. Emily barricaded herself in her room but her prison officer decided to flood Emily's cell with ice-cold water in an attempt to force her out. She nearly drowned. 

The authorities realised that women were willing to become martyrs. Martyrs are willing to suffer because of their political beliefs. 

Emily suspected that if she died in prison, it would be covered it up as an accident. 

If she were to become a martyr, sacrificing her life for the sake of women's rights, it would have to be in public. 

It is still uncertain whether Emily had intended to end her life in the name of the suffragette cause that day. In her handbag, was a return train ticket. Emily certainly believed that a sacrificial act would serve to raise the profile of the suffragette cause. 

However, the public viewed her suicidal actions as those of a "mentally ill fanatic". 

Some previous supporters of the suffragette movement were so appalled by the incident, they ceased to be associated with "the cause". 

The media concentrated on the wellbeing of the horse and jockey rather than the cause for which Emily died.

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Bobby Sands was a member of the Provisional IRA, who died on hunger strike while imprisoned at HM Prison Maze in Northern Ireland. Sands helped to plan the 1976 bombing of the Balmoral Furniture Company in Dunmurry. 

He was the leader of the 1981 hunger strike in which Irish republican prisoners protested against the removal of Special Category Status. 

A snap by-election was announced for the Westminster constituency of Fermanagh/South Tyrone. Sinn Fein's Jim Gibney, sensing that outside support for Sands and other hunger strikers was ebbing, suggested to Gerry Adams, that Sands should stand as a MP candidate. 

Jim Gibney: "It was very difficult before Bobby Sands was elected, to argue internally that the way forward was through standing Sinn Fein in elections," "It was one of the high points in terms of convincing Republicans of the merits of electoral politics." 

A month after his successful election, after 66 days on hunger strike, Bobby Sands MP died. 100,000 mourners came to his funeral, confounding the expectations of the government, which believed the hunger strike had limited support.

Taking your life to kill those who are not soldiers is a different matter.

Many people feel that suicide bombers are cowards: it is an 'easy' way to seek to achieve one's political goals. Greater 'moral courage' is in in a 'fair fight' with opponents in sustained peaceful political campaigning. 

Suicide terrorism on average, kills and injures more people with a single attack than any other form of terrorism. Suicide terrorists are "smart bombs", that can pinpoint their target, walk into a highly secured area, make last-minute adjustments and choose the time of detonation to inflict the greatest damage.

On 22 May 2017, a suicide bomber detonated a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb as people were leaving the Manchester Arena following a concert by American singer Ariana Grande. Twenty-three people were killed, including the attacker, and 1,017 were injured, many of them children. Several hundred more, suffered psychological trauma. 

Whilst mass casualty events are uncommon, the number of transnational terrorist attacks has increased globally. 

Those physically present at a terror attack have a 33–39% of developing PTSD within 1 year, with 17–29% of those close to the injured, 5–6% of emergency and recovery workers and 4% of local communities are similarly affected.

For some it is a risk worth taking to achieve a life dream.

Keswick Mountain Rescue Team said the man was witnessed by a nearby climbing guide falling 'some distance' while ascending Raven Crag. The father who had died in Cumbria took his daughter with him. What if the daughter had died instead ?

A family to achieve their life dream, decided to sell their possessions and buy a yacht. With their two young children, they sailed alone across the Atlantic. Thousands of miles from the nearest land, the yacht in calm seas, sank within 2 minutes. All the family could do, was to jump off without life jackets. Imagine, being the parents swimming in the open sea, supporting their children stay afloat. By chance, a tanker spotted them and they were rescued. The mother divorced her husband for placing their children at risk of dying.

The upper reaches of Everest are in the death zone, a mountaineering term for altitudes above a certain point (26,000 ft) where the oxygen pressure level is not sufficient to sustain human life. More than 300 people have died attempting to reach the summit of Mount Everest. 10 died in the season of 2019.Recently, one fell and died whilst descending 450 feet from the top. Father of two passed away in the tent at 23,000 feet.

Are they climbing the mountain with the intention of dying or are they making a determined effort to climb to the top knowing there is a high risk of their life ending.

Is taking such risks a selfish act ?

Money and poor Mental Health
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Wednesday, 21 February 2024

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