Some regions of the world consider suicide to be a crime. Even though suicide is no longer a crime in many western nations, doing so is frowned upon and discouraged. Suicide may be used as an extreme expression of freedom in various circumstances. One example is when it was used to demonstrate fervent opposition to perceived tyranny or injustice in societies like ancient Rome, medieval Japan, or modern-day China’s Tibet.
According to studies, suicide is still a crime that can result in tens of thousands of pounds in attenuate and up to three years in jail.
According to research by the United for Global Mental Health, a group advocating for decriminalization, children as teenage as seven can be arrested, tried, and indicted in Nigeria for attempted suicide and in many other countries. Suicide is illegal in 20 different nations that follow sharia law.
The will of someone determined to have killed themselves may be disregarded in four nations mentioned in the report: the Bahamas, Bangladesh, Guyana, and Kenya.
Pressure on personal or individual freedom?
The main justification offered by many individuals opposed to a change in the legislation is that persons who are ill or disabled would feel pressured to end their life, possibly due to the cost of the medical care required to keep them alive or because they do not want to “charge” their friends and family.
Some people are also worried that any initial legal reform, no matter how carefully crafted, could be a “slippery slope”: if Parliament legalizes assisted suicide for the terminally ill, how long before it further liberalizes the law to include those who are not terminally sick?
Personal autonomy is the main justification people offer in favor of legal liberalization. Patient choice is more crucial than imposing one’s religious beliefs on others, especially those that uphold the sanctity of life. People should have the right to choose the date and conditions of their death because having dignity in death is just as important as having it in life.
Suicide should not be criminalized because it does not prevent people from committing suicide, according to Sarah Kline, co-founder of United for Global Mental Health.
It can impede people from receiving the treatment they require for their mental health and discourages people from seeking assistance in a time of commit suicide .
The effects of laws that criminalize suicide have been witnessed by Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar, a psychiatrist in Chennai, India, and the creator of a suicide prevention organization. She thinks these laws encourage stigma and prejudice against people with mental illnesses.
These laws are real; they exist. She continued, “They directly harm the most vulnerable people in the most vulnerable countries. Middle- and low-income countries, where 77% of suicides occur, are the ones with the laws.
What do the courts think?
Many persons have filed legal challenges in recent years regarding whether assisted suicide is an offense that complies with human rights laws, particularly the right to private and family life under Article 8 of the European agreement on Human Rights.
Violation of Article 8
In July 2009, the House of Lords decided that the ban on assisted suicide violated Article 8 rights after taking into account Debbie Purdy’s multiple sclerosis cases.
The Supreme Court most recently heard Tony Nicklinson’s case in June 2014, when he asked for a ruling that the statute on assisted suicide was incompatible with his Article 8 right to a quiet life.
In the end, the Supreme Court ruled against declaring incompatibility in Mr. Nicklinson’s case by a vote of seven to two. The two-person minority believed that the courts should issue a declaration because they are constitutionally empowered to do so.
The United States
State and federal law have jurisdiction over certain matters in the United States.
The details of federal legislation to prevent suicide will be presented first, and those states with legislation will be covered after that.
Prohibitions were rarely enforced
Suicide was illegal in many jurisdictions, but these prohibitions were rarely enforced. By the late 1960s, 18 American states lacked suicide prevention laws. By the late 1980s, just 30 of the 50 states had laws opposed to suicide or suicide attempts, but they all made it illegal to help, advise, or persuade someone else to kill themselves.
Just two states still considered suicide a crime
At the start of the 1990s, just two states still considered suicide a crime, and they no longer do. [ In several jurisdictions in the United States, suicide is still classified as a “common law felony,” according to Blackstone’s Commentaries. Suicide is a common law offense, and unless it can be shown that the suicidal person was “of mind,” the relatives of the deceased suicidal person may not be able to sue for damages.
The victim’s unintentional act must have been shown for the victim’s family to get monetary damages from the court. This may occur if the family of the dead files a lawsuit accusing the provider (typically a jail or hospital) of negligence for failing to provide the patient with the necessary care. Some American law scholars see the issue as one of personal liberty.
A cruel and unusual punishment
According to Nadine Strossen, former president of the ACLU, “The idea of government making decisions about how you end your life, forcing you…could be considered cruel and unusual punishment in some circumstances.” Justice Stevens brought up the analogy in a very interesting opinion in a right-to-die [case.] Physician-assisted suicide is legal in some places. Patients who are terminally ill may do so by the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.
When the Washington Death with Dignity Statute was established in 2009, the Oregon law was incorporated into Washington state law. The patient must wait 15 days before making another request after submitting one verbally, one in writing, and having it verified by two independent doctors. The patient’s mental wellness is equally important. A doctor could recommend a fatal medicine dosage but not administer it.
The third-leading cause of death
Worldwide, suicide is still the third-leading cause of death. Suicide claims more lives yearly than HIV, malaria, breast cancer, or war. One in every 100 fatalities in 2019 involved suicide, involving more than 700,000. Twenty more people attempt suicide than every person who dies.
“It is time the remaining countries modify their laws,” Kline continued. “This year’s health ministers agreed decriminalization is a crucial policy action to reduce suicide rates.
Global Mental Health Action Network (GMHAN)
For this reason, we have backed the formation of a global team within the Global Mental Health Action Network (GMHAN) that brings together the International Alliance for Suicide Prevention and representatives from the 20 nations where suicidal behavior is still illegal (IASP). Over 150 people have joined the group, and they are working together to share stories and build plans to decriminalize suicide in their nations. Numerous risk acts can lower the chance of suicide.
Social prevention efforts
A variety of elements at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels can prevent suicide, much like risk factors. Suicide can be avoided by all people. To assist people and help keep them safe from suicidal thoughts and actions, communities and society can take action.
Suicide prevention techniques and exercises
Do not conclude right now.
You don’t need to act on your thoughts at this time.
Try to keep the rest of your life out of your mind and concentrate on just getting through today. You may have had these ideas in the past, but today you feel like you have less ability to cope. After some time, you might discover that you can better deal with the situation.
Take a look at your contingency plan.
If you have a contingency plan, you should stick to it. It’s possible that you devised a crisis plan on your own or with the assistance of a trained medical professional.
You could devise a crisis plan if you don’t already have one. You can now begin to consider some items you will discover to be helpful to you. Keep this plan secure, but feel free to make adjustments as necessary. Further down on this page, you’ll find additional details and instructions on creating an emergency plan.
Have a look at your emergency supply kit.
Your emergency supply kit is meant to be unique to you and should contain things that make you feel more positive about life.
You can put together a crisis box even if you don’t already have one. There is additional information about emergency supply kits and instructions on making them farther down on this page.
Be conscious of the things that set you off.
Things that could potentially make you feel worse are referred to as triggers. Triggers are varied for various persons. Particular songs, pictures, or movies may trigger negative feelings in you. Make every effort to steer clear of these.
To assist you in being more self-aware, you could design a Wellness Action Plan for yourself. It can assist you in locating the factors in your life that are likely to bring on symptoms of illness. Writing down the things that set off your triggers could be helpful. If you can understand the factors that bring about your triggers, you will be able to exert more control over the feelings and levels of stress you experience.
If you would like to, you can discuss your Wellness Action Plan with members of your family or close friends. There are instances when it is beneficial to share with your loved ones and friends because doing so can assist them in better understanding you.
Avoid both alcohol and illicit substances at all costs.
Consuming alcohol impairs your ability to make sound decisions, focus your attention, manage your behavior, and manage your feelings. Consuming alcohol may increase the likelihood that you may carry out suicidal thoughts and plans.
How you think and feel can be altered by using drugs. Different medications have different effects. Cocaine, for instance, has the potential to elevate one’s mood while simultaneously increasing one’s propensity for risk-taking. However, when the effects have worn off, you can experience feelings of depression. Hallucinations, disorientation, and paranoia are all potential side effects of other medicines. If you use illegal substances, you put yourself at a greater risk of ending your own life by taking your own life.
Get to a secure location!
Find a location that makes you feel secure and go there. The following is a list of potential locations for your consideration.
Keep away from yourself things that could potentially cause you harm, such as sharp objects like razor blades or medicines. If you have a significant amount of medication, you might want to ask a friend or family member to store it for you until you regain command of your emotions.
Talk to some of the other folks.
It might be beneficial for you to discuss how you feel with another person. There is a wide variety of people who can assist you. You could talk to friends, family, or even your primary care physician.
Don’t forget to exercise some patience. Your relatives and friends may wish to assist you, but they may be unsure how to do so now. If this occurs, you need to make it clear to them what you want from them. It’s possible that you’d like to chat about how you’re feeling, or maybe you’d like them to assist you in finding expert help.
You could talk to strangers on an emotional support line, download an app that provides emotional help, or join an online support group if you don’t feel comfortable talking to individuals you already know.
In the section labeled “Useful Contacts,” located at the bottom of this page, you will discover information regarding emotional support lines and apps.
Be in the company of other people.
You may have a hard time communicating with anyone right now. It’s all good. But it would help if you made an effort not to be alone for too long. You can go to a park, a fitness center, a coffee shop, or a shopping center. Even if they are unaware of how you are genuinely feeling, simply being near other people can assist in keeping you secure.
Distract yourself in some way.
You could believe that it is hard to divert your attention from the reasons behind your suicidal ideation or the suicidal thoughts themselves. It’s possible that focusing on your ideas will make them seem more powerful and more challenging to deal with. Try engaging in activities that will divert your attention. Consider the activities that bring you the most delight.
The following is a checklist of activities that could serve as a distraction for you.
- Take some time to read a book or magazine.
- Take in a movie or some TV.
- Go to a museum.
- Draw or paint something.
- Take in some musical sounds.
- Play video games. Or any other puzzles or games that tickle your fancy.
- Enjoy some quality time with your pet.
- Establishing a few manageable objectives will help you concentrate. You might choose to wash the laundry, bake a cake, clean something, or put things in order.
- Make a list
Create a list of all the positive aspects of yourself and your life that you can think of right now. It may be challenging to think of these things right now, but you should make an effort. Consider the qualities that set you apart from others and the kind of things others have said about you. At the end of each day, write down one item that made you feel good about the day, whether it was something you did or something that someone else did for you.
Exercising can have a positive impact on both your mood and your ability to think clearly. It is believed that exercise causes a release of dopamine and serotonin. These are the hormones that cause a “pleasant feeling.”
There are a variety of activities that can help you relax, such as the following:
Taking a walk in a natural setting like a park, listening to the sounds of the environment, focusing on pleasant odors like those of coffee shops, your favorite food, a favorite perfume or soap, indulging in a portion of food you enjoy and paying close attention to how it tastes, how it feels in your mouth, and what you like about it, taking a bath or shower, looking at images that you enjoy, such as photographs, meditating or practicing mindfulness, practicing breathing techniques or guided meditation, and treating yourself to a meal are some of these practices. These can be discovered by listening to a podcast or visiting an internet video website such as YouTube.
Meditation is one kind of practice known as “mindfulness.” It is paying attention to both your intellect and your body. It is a technique for bringing one’s attention to the here and now. Mindfulness is a technique that teaches people to become more aware of their own internal experiences, including their thoughts and feelings. After you have gained a greater awareness of your thoughts and feelings, you will be able to learn how to cope with them more effectively.
However, some people find that meditating or practicing mindfulness makes their thoughts of suicide more intense. If this does occur, then you must cease.
Take a seat, either on the floor or a chair. Maintain a straight back and a backward posture with your shoulders. Turn your attention to your breath while you close your eyes. Consider how your chest rises and falls with each breath. Try to get your breathing down as slowly as you can. You might find that counting your breaths as you inhale and exhale is helpful. If you are having distressing thoughts, try redirecting your attention to your breathing instead.
Consider those who will be left in the wake of your departure.
It’s possible that some of the following are going through your head:
“If I weren’t here, the world would be much better.”
“If I were gone, things would be better for my family.”
“No one would care if I weren’t here,” they said.
These are frequent misconceptions, but they are not accurate. You matter.
Deciding to end your life will undoubtedly have a detrimental impact on those close to you. Even though you don’t believe it will, This could be a friend, a member of the family, a neighbor, or even a medical community member, such as a support worker or physician.
Where can I find someone to offer me emotional support?
Keep in mind that despite how you feel, there are individuals willing to listen to you and want to assist you.
Share what you’re going through with your loved ones and close pals. They might be able to lend you assistance and assist in keeping you secure. It’s possible they won’t be able to improve your condition immediately. However, let them know how you truly feel. They may provide you with a new perspective on your issue or prompt you to consider various potential courses of action.
You might be able to acquire the emotional support you need from other sources if you are unable to talk to your family or friends. You might consider talking to:
Someone who works at a crisis hotline, as a therapist or counselor, as a teacher, as a coworker, or as a religious or spiritual leader
In the “Useful Contacts” section that may be found at the bottom of this page, you will find a list of phone numbers for emotional support services.
Social Media and Suicide
Everyone uses the internet for social, recreational, and educational purposes. Web-based services such as social network sites (SNSs) and social media allow users to create personal profiles, support user-generated content, connect with other users, and offer methods for group collaboration. The distinctions between the internet, social networking sites (SNSs), social media, online gaming, and digital technology have blurred as technology has advanced.
There are about 1 million suicide fatalities worldwide and over 310,000 in the United States each year, making suicide a severe public health concern. The role that the Internet, especially social media, may have in behaviors related to suicide is a subject of considerable attention and discussion. National attention has been focused on this issue due to the recent rise in highly publicized suicide cases involving social media. The Internet’s ability to aid or impede suicide prevention is another topic of interest to researchers.
The indirect and complicated link between Internet use and suicide makes it challenging to determine the amount of the Internet’s impact on suicidal behavior. The debate has also been sparked by the numerous legal difficulties involved and the crucial concerns about free expression and civil liberties.
Relevant questions include whether any of the impact social media has on suicidal conduct should be viewed as a public health issue and how public health measures might be used to alleviate this impact. The use of social media in preventing suicide is then illustrated with instances. Additionally, we go over the complicated legal issues surrounding this significant subject and suggest future directions for research and public health-based preventative measures.