Since the early 1960s there has been an enormous increase in the numbers of cases of suicide, self-mutilation and depression, adolescents and the elderly being high-risk groups. Suicidal behaviour has become a major health-care issue.
David Aldridge argues that although western culture has traditionally understood suicide to be the choice of the individual, this is a misleading perception. While the patient may feel as though he or she is acting in isolation, the reasons for suicide and self-mutilation are essentially social. Attention should therefore be focused to a far greater extent on the patient's social environment, and any treatment should also involve the family. Drawing on case studies as well as research statistics, Aldridge constructs a background against which suicidal behaviour can be perceived not as irrational and unpredictable, but as an understandable response to social disruption, isolation, conflict and neglect. He investigates the complex web of prejudices surrounding our society's view of suicide, and looks at ways of developing more effective preventative strategies.
1. The Tragedy of Hopelessness.
2. Explanations of Suicidal Behaviour.
3. Family Interaction and Suicidal Behaviour.
4. A Systemic Perspective. 5. A Model of Distress Management.
6. Legitimating Suicide and the Politics of Dying.
7. The Politics of Self-Mutilation.8. Everyday Descriptions of Suicidal Behaviour.
9. The Strategic Assessment of Self-Harm.
10. Suicidal Behaviour and Adolescence in Family Contexts.
11. The Politics of Symptoms and Marital Conflict.
12. The Dialectical Process of Negotiating Distress.
13. The Politics of Prevention.
David Aldridge has the Chair of Qualitative Research in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Witten-Herdecke. He is author of Music Therapy Research and Practice in Medicine: From Out of the Silence (1996) and Suicide: The Tragedy of Hopelessness (1998) published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.