The Impact of Family and Romantic Relationships on Suicide is Discussed at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Suicidology

A GoodTherapy.org News Update

The United States experiences a significant number of self-inflicted deaths each year. In 2004, suicide was the eleventh leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 32,439 deaths. Especially troublesome is the number of young adults who attempt suicide in conjunction with symptoms of depression. In 2004, suicide was the third leading cause of death for children, teens and young adults ages 10 to 24. While treatments vary, with some mental health professionals opting for prescription medications and others relying more upon the strength of intensive psychotherapy or residential treatment, the desire to understand how such thoughts and tendencies are formed remains universal. For with greater understanding of the roots of such ideas and behaviors comes the chance to discover and employ preventive measures to help spare youths from the psychological hardships of suicidal ideation.

The American Association of Suicidology, with members spanning from mental health professionals to leading academics and researchers, was founded precisely for this reason. The association has held its annual meeting on April the 17th, and has proved an enlightening and productive medium for the presentation of new studies and ideas, as well as open discussion and networking.

One study in particular, sponsored by the University of Washington, focused on the role of family and romantic relationships in the lives of suicidal individuals as compared to simple peer relationships. Though young adults have an observed tendency to place a great deal of import in their peer relationships, the level of bonding fails to reach that of family and romantic bonds, and the study has found that these deeper relationships are successful in both preventing and deterring suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially among those patients who exhibited symptoms previously.

Though there is much material to be explored and presented in regards to suicide among youth in modern America, the American Association of Suicidology is making strides to serve the needs of those affected.

© Copyright 2009 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Connie

    Connie

    April 28th, 2009 at 1:47 PM

    My brother killed himself because of remarks made to him by an ex girlfriend. How sad that made all of us, especially her as this was cited in his letter that he left behind. I know there was more to it than that but it still makes you think twice about the words you use with others.

  • Vaughn

    Vaughn

    April 28th, 2009 at 8:02 PM

    It’s now considered old fashioned for kids, teenagers and young adults to spend time with their parents and extended family. Parents too are to blame as they dont have time or energy for parenting anymore. Career, traffic, hobbies everything is a priority bigger than children.

  • Tony

    Tony

    April 28th, 2009 at 8:07 PM

    I realised from my life that when you are given everything too easily you get fed up with life a little faster. Its also difficult to stay structured and functional in dysfunctional families especially if the parents have problems of their own like addictions or abuse. Not fitting in at all with peers becomes a biiiig issue. Well one solution for that which worked for me as a teenager was changing my school and moving out of a particular area.

  • Sonja

    Sonja

    April 28th, 2009 at 9:17 PM

    I agree Connie that our words are sharper than weapons sometimes. My aunt was always yelling at my cousin for everything. Today he is a thug and has served time many times. He even tried to kill himself once. Noone can get him to therapy and it is sad. It all starts very close to home.

  • Amanda

    Amanda

    April 29th, 2009 at 1:43 AM

    It’s sad to see young people committing suicide over some words someone may have said to them, but it does happen. I wish these young people who are having problems will turn to someone for help or realize there is someone out there who cares enough to help.

  • Ginny

    Ginny

    April 29th, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    An even sadder phenomenon are those who get the idea from books that they read and music that they listen to as well as other stories that they see on the news. I am not saying that we can monitor everything that our kids see but we do have to take an active role in their lives, know the kinds of things that they are being exposed to and run interference when it is necessary. Too often kids are left alone to flounder through the world and during those critical times in their development they feel they have no one to turn to and that suicide is their only option. We all know that this is not true but they are too young to realize that there are other alternatives to solving their problems.

  • Anderson

    Anderson

    April 30th, 2009 at 1:22 AM

    Its human tendency to brand people and to advocate the survival of the fittest. After being a parent who lost his child because of expecting too much and loving too little, I know what its like to let someone slip through your heart’s grip.

  • Evans

    Evans

    April 30th, 2009 at 2:56 AM

    My cousin joined a cult which advocated suicide as a means to heaven.It was terrible getting him out of it and into a functional normal life. What helped was that his family stood by him and saw him through the whole episode. His dad and mom changed jobs, moved homes and one of them was always available for him. He is a different person.

  • Carson

    Carson

    May 4th, 2009 at 5:45 AM

    If you have not experienced the pain of suicide in your family then you have no idea just how hurtful this can be for everyone left behind. It is as if there is never any resolution to the issues. You are constantly seeking the answers for why this person did this and whether or not there was ever anything that you could have said or done to not only have prevented it, but that maybe you did that could have contributed to his or her pain. I have seen my own family members go through this when my uncle committed suicide and I do not know that healing will ever be there for any of them. There are just some wounds that time will never heal and suicide may just be one of those.

  • Meredith

    Meredith

    May 7th, 2009 at 3:45 AM

    Glad to know that there are resources and groups available to those who have experienced suicide within their friends and family units. More is taken away in suicide than with any other type of death and these are people who need real support.

  • Charla

    Charla

    May 24th, 2009 at 7:59 AM

    Suicide is a terrible thing and we may not always know what is going thru one’s mind. I feel for the families who have to go thru this and hope that one day, others will see how hurtful their words can be.

  • Hannah

    Hannah

    May 24th, 2009 at 8:00 AM

    I wish there were resources (or maybe there is) on how WE can help someone we know and love that is going through thoughts like these and how to recognize signs.

  • Melanie

    Melanie

    June 15th, 2009 at 2:56 AM

    It’s hard to see someone so depressed that you love in this frame of mind and hoping that suicide is not on their minds. All you can do is do your best to reach out to them and let them know you are there to help them. Let them know you are willing to help them with whatever is going on with them. I agree that parents need to keep an eye out for symptoms or signs of depression so it won’t lead to suicide and i’m glad there are organizations out there to educate us on this.

  • willdawgg

    willdawgg

    November 29th, 2009 at 8:05 PM

    man, yall are messed up. also god doesn’t exist.

  • Sarah

    Sarah

    November 18th, 2016 at 2:39 AM

    Willdawgg, Jesus Christ is real and these people are perfectly fine…I cannot believe it took seven years to stand up for these people

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