Sassan Pourkarimi blogs EN

The approach of suicide ideation

Suicide rates increased 30% between 2000 and 2018. From 2007 to 2017 56% increase of suicide rates between the age of of 12 and 17. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for for 5 to 9 years old (Dr Fadwa Gillanders, Pharm.D). One of every six young persons between 12 and 25 years old has serious suicide ideation.

These rates show that suicide is a societal/cultural time-dependent symptom. A symptom which has a strong burden, why it is not seen as a symptom but as a problem. Why an amplificating effect is caused and so a bigger barrier to look for help.

On the therapist side there is a stigma around suicide ideation; suicide ideation is seen as a problem that needs to be solved. It creates a reaction of overwhelm or fear which results in reactions like ‘I don’t have the skills to help you’. This just recreates the traumatic pattern. Because the human being that carries the suicide thoughts, the symptom is surrounded by shame. Why it is more difficult to seek for support.

The mainstream approach of suicide ideation is especially one of prevention. The client is asked to sign a form that he/she will not make any suicide attempts during the therapeutic trajectory. This of course reinforces that which is at work in the client. That something is wrong in him or her. While the client just needs understanding and holding. And just like every other symptom, the suicidal thoughts are an expression of something underlying that wants to be seen. Suppressing this is just the reinforcement of the shame. And shame is the biggest issue of traumatic perception. That also causes isolation.

A better approach would be to go from prevention to attention. Instead of staying above the other, wanting to stop the process that is happening inside the other, to regarding of the other, taking notice of someone. Knowing that in the other is a part that, out of love, wants to make the person aware of something.