Common Precipitating and Cultural Factors in Suicide
Suicide is a prevailing public health problem and among the major causes of death globally. It is considered to be a complex human behavior that is not easily predicted, although a number of factors have been indicated to contribute to it. Some of these factors have been known for a long time, but the specific combination that cause an individual to commit suicide still remains unclear (Beautrais, Joyce, & Mulder, 1997). Several factors related to suicidal behavior have been greatly studied. Some of the factors that have been studied include marital status, age, gender, physical disability or illness, a family history of suicide, unemployment, substance abuse, socio-economic disadvantage, legal problems, child abuse, losses, schizophrenia, depression, and other mental illness (Shibata et al., 2009).
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One of the key indicators of potential suicide is a deliberate self-harm or a previous suicide attempt (Lester, 2008). It is axiomatic that societal suicide rates vary greatly. Suicide rates differ widely over different social groups and over different regions of the world. One of the reasons why these rates differ is that counting and reporting of suicides in different regions and culture vary greatly in accuracy. This section will analyze common precipitating and cultural factors in suicide.
An earlier history of attempted suicide has been indicated to be a substantial predictor of forthcoming death by suicide. Past suicidal behavior maximizes the risk of ultimate death by suicide, specifically among those people who have been hospitalized for psychiatric disorders. Deliberate self-harm such as taking risks that are possibly life-threatening, overdosing on medication, or cutting oneself mostly occur when an individual is emotionally distressed or depressed (Lester, 2008). Hence, such self-destructive behavior should be identified as a serious sign of mental distress.
Stresses or crises are part of everyday life, but some people are overcome by them contributing to suicide behavior. Factors or events that may precipitate suicide behavior include personal illness, job or school, sexual difficulties, interpersonal problems and disputes, imprisonment, legal problems, marital separation or divorce, military service, financial problems, a trauma in the family, or relationship breakdown (Wu, Su, & Chen, 2009). Although specific acute crisis or a build-up of stressful events may increase the risk of suicide, the possibility of suicidal behavior if substantially increased if vulnerabilities such as past suicide attempt, mental illness, or a history of abuse are present.
Several individuals with mental disorders live a normal life. Still those with more disabling mental conditions may often adapt to their situations. Mental disorders include the psychoses, depression, anxiety, and several other disorders affecting personality, functioning, mood or cognition (Beautrais, Joyce, & Mulder, 1997). Mental disorders have been identified as possible causes of suicidal behavior through numerous studies. The most common mental illness associated with suicide is depression. Individual with mental disorders and their families consider discrimination as a contributing factor to suicide risk because leads to unemployment, loneliness, isolation and homelessness (Lester, 2008).
Several social and cultural factors have been identified to influence suicide rates. Some of these factors include the effect of religious attitudes, aspects of modern youth culture that show suicide positively, and moral attitudes towards suicide. A number of social factors have encouraged suicides among the youths including: creating a perception of opportunities scarcity in mainstream society; increasing unemployment, disadvantage, and inequality; changes in social values; and increased higher expectations and individualism, without sufficient cultural framework of belonging, meaning, hope and values (Lester, 2008).
How Physical, Psychological, and Social Factors Influence Health
Health and illness of a person is influenced by many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. An individual cannot be considered to be healthy if he or she is not socially norm, psychologically perfect, and physically fit (Suls, & Wallston, 2003). An individual health is determined by social, physical and psychological factors or determinants. This section will discuss how physical, psychological, and social factors influence health.
Psychological factors can influence physical health either directly or indirectly. They can affect physical health directly through introducing changes in heart rate or hormones and indirectly, by changing behaviors that affect health such as socializing, sleeping, and eating (Suls, & Wallston, 2003). In addition, the mind can interrelate with medicine benefits, decreasing the effectiveness of a particular drug or deteriorating the negative symptoms related to a specific medical condition. Psychosocial factors such as stress and negative emotions interrupt biological processes leading to physical disorders and diseases. Many diseases and in particular mental disorders are mostly influenced by psychological factors. In fact, psychological factors influence in our daily living activities. For instance, anxiety has greater effects on panic state drinking and eating, breathing, and many other daily activities (Suls, & Wallston, 2003). Hence, it is recommendable to monitor psychological well-being and your thoughts towards health when dealing with any medical situation.
Social environment is a significant factor that influences health care delivery, health choice, and health (Suls, & Wallston, 2003). Social factors such as economic conditions, beliefs, values, norms, and culture are not only affecting an individual’s health, but might also be major inequalities for health care delivery and health choice. Many studies have indicated that major infectious diseases are linked with poverty or material conditions. Social level also plays a role in health. Individuals in higher level of socioeconomic classes are classified as having higher level of health and longevity. This is because there is high level of health care and education for this class level. In addition, this class structure is socially involved in health care from an early stage. Risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, poor eating habits, no exercise also contribute or cause physical disorders and diseases (Suls, & Wallston, 2003).
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