All living beings are driven by the instinct to sustain life. This instinct runs so deep that, despite constructing the most complex societies, each of us engages in a constant struggle to cling to life. Whether one resorts to a simple act of theft or ventures into the realm of a heinous crime, the motivation is to alter the negatives in one’s life and set it on a different course. However, not everyone finds satisfaction in their efforts. Some give up, unable to endure, while others cannot find an alternative path. They choose not to persist in the struggle for survival, opting instead to end their lives. Regardless of the reasons and logic behind it, the act of an individual taking their own life is termed suicide.
A person who resorts to suicide has abandoned all avenues of the struggle to continue living and has relinquished their hold on life. Unlike a thief or a murderer who may give up on various ways to combat adversities, someone who takes their own life engages in an act directly against their own existence.
The World Health Organization reported in the year 2000 that one million lives worldwide were lost to suicide. According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health in the United States, the number of individuals taking their own lives increased by 28%, rising from 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999 to 13.4 per 100,000 between 1999 and 2016. Another statement by the World Health Organization reveals a staggering 60% increase in suicide rates over the past 45 years. Breaking down the numbers, the National Institute of Mental Health indicates that suicide rates among men (21.3 per 100,000 in 2016) are nearly four times higher than those among women (6 per 100,000 in 2016). To put it into perspective, while someone attempts suicide every three seconds, someone succumbs to suicide every 40 seconds.
The age group where suicide is most prevalent among women is between 45 and 54 years (10.3 per 100,000), while for men, it is those aged 65 and above (32.3 per 100,000). A study conducted in the United States in 2016 revealed that young adults aged 18-25 are the most seriously contemplating suicide.
Leap from Heights
Taking a leap from a considerable altitude is an act of suicide that involves jumping from a high elevation. It has been reported that such an act can lead to paralysis, organ damage, and bone fractures. [Source should be mentioned]
In the United States, jumping from heights is noted as one of the least common methods of suicide, constituting less than 2% of all reported suicides in the country in 2005.
According to sources, jumping from heights is the most prevalent method of suicide in Hong Kong, with 52.1% of all reported suicide cases in 2006 occurring through this method. The Suicide Research and Prevention Center at the University of Hong Kong suggests that this prevalence might be due to the abundance of easily accessible tall buildings in Hong Kong.
Suicide by Firearm
Map indicating the rate of suicide by firearm Suicide by firearm is the act of ending one’s life using a firearm. Various sources indicate that in the United States, approximately 5% of suicide attempts are carried out using firearms, and 90% of these attempts result in death. In 2017, suicide by firearm became the most prevalent method leading to suicide deaths in the United States.
Suicide Attempt by Hanging
Approximately 53% of cases involving a suicide attempt by hanging result in death.Depending on the distance to the object used for hanging and other factors, the individual may either suffocate or suffer a broken neck.
Mechanical strangulation involves the tightening of a ligature around the neck, compressing the carotid arteries, preventing oxygen supply to the brain, leading to unconsciousness and eventual death. The technique is also associated with certain judo grips, locks, and autoerotic asphyxiation.
Suicidal strangulation is an act that obstructs a person’s ability to breathe or limits oxygen intake, causing rapid onset of hypoxia and subsequent asphyxia.
Drowning as a Method of Suicide
Suicidal drowning typically involves submersion in water or another liquid, resulting in breathlessness and depriving the lungs, and consequently the brain, of oxygen. Sources indicate that this method accounts for less than 2% of all suicides in the United States. It has been reported that 56% of those attempting suicide by drowning do not survive.
Incisions in suicide attempts often result in severe blood loss. Initial incisions can cause superficial wounds, typically non-lethal, and often manifest as multiple parallel cuts. While incisions are relatively common, they constitute only 1% of suicide-related deaths in the United States.
Incisions are sometimes applied not as a means of suicide but with the intent of self-harm; however, if the bleeding is severe, it can lead to hypovolemic shock and subsequent death.
In the case of a non-lethal suicide attempt, the individual may experience injuries to tendons or the ulnar and median nerves that control hand muscles, both of which can result in temporary or permanent sensory or motor impairment. These situations may culminate in a loss of functionality or chronic pain.
Electric shock suicide
Electric shock suicide involves using a lethal level of electrical current to end one’s life. The electrical current induces arrhythmia in the heart, disrupting synchronized contractions between different chambers and thus eliminating blood flow. The current passing through the body can also generate heat, leading to burns. Even if the individual survives, significant burn scars may remain on the body. The impact of electrical current is directly proportional to the amount of current and the duration of exposure.
Burning Suicides typically carried out using fire.
Volcano suicide involves ending one’s life by jumping into an active volcano crater, lava lake, or lava flow. In Japan’s Mihara Volcano, approximately 1,800 people committed suicide in this manner between 1933 and 1936. Imitative suicides in the following years led to the installation of a protective fence around the crater.
Poisoning Occurs through the use of poisons that rapidly affect the human body or substances known for their high toxicity levels. Jim Jones, a religious sect leader, orchestrated a mass suicide in 1978 by consuming a poisoned cocktail along with some Jonestown residents.
According to research, 30% of suicides worldwide are carried out through pesticide poisoning, with significantly higher rates in the Asia-Pacific region compared to the Western world.
Overdose Suicide by overdosing on drugs, stimulants, or other psychoactive substances accounts for approximately two-thirds of suicide attempts in the United States. The death rate from this method is 2%. Suicide by drug overdose is a method preferred by proponents of euthanasia, in contrast to other methods like carbon monoxide use.
Vehicle Impact Suicide
Vehicle Impact Suicide Deliberately placing oneself in the path of a fast-moving vehicle to cause death is considered vehicle impact suicide.
Train Suicide accomplished by using a train in a manner that results in death.