Certified Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Practitioner
Mental Health VB
When I was going through my psych/mental health classes/rotation, one professor told us that "all" suicide attempts are caused by a precursing mental illness, but after actually being in the field for several years, I've found this to be categorically untrue. That professor should certainly change that particular high point to.. "Most" suicide attempts are caused by a precursing mental illness." And we could break that down even further by saying that at least half of most mental illness are caused by environmental factors (any kind of trauma or emotionally poor living conditions, particularly at the hands of another person.) as genetics comprise only about a 50% predictor of future mental illness.
The nature vs. nurture debate is dead. The majority of research scientists have undoubtedly confirmed that the outcome of ones life is comprised about 50/50 when decided between genetics and environment. There are many people whose parents or siblings suffer from mental illness, that do not develop the disease and live happy and normal lives. These individuals, are generally people who have been shown adequate amounts of love and compassion throughout their lives and rarely go through a severe trauma, and when they do, they have a multiple members of family and/or friends to support them, and as you will see; this is key to a healthy mindset.
However, certainly not everyone is so fortunate.
Even our earliest predecessors brains are, were, and always have been wired to be social creatures. This is why humans thrive in numbers and more solitary lifestyles have, on average, a lower life expectancy than heavily social ones. We are psychologically linked in so many ways just by our biology alone. We are even born with special receptors in the brain called "mirror neurons," that are specifically meant for reading people by instincts, body language, and facial expressions. Mirror neurons are what allow us to feel other peoples pain so we will be motivated instinctively not only to to help this person, but alsoteaching us to avoid that same situation that caused their pain, to subconsciously attempt to ensure our own survival. This is just one of the many ways that our brains protect us. For example, I don't have to touch the fire to know that it hurts... I just have to see you touch the fire to know that it hurts, protecting me from getting burnt. Without these special neurons, it would be impossible to learn from our fellow man's mistakes and would be unlikely that our species even survived, nevertheless evolved into what we have become. We would not have these tiny structures, if they served no purpose as they would take up unnecessary space and energy for such an intricate biological machine that keeps us alive and able to procreate.
I believe that loneliness is the real silent assailant responsible for suicidal tendencies.
Because of our unique brain chemistry, isolating one's self for long periods of time is never good for a stable emotional state and
9 times out of 10, people begin to learn this coping style as a defense mechanism because so many people, in their particular life, have treated them exceptionally poorly or as if they didn't exist at all.
Our brains simply don't process such emotions as abandonment (physical or emotional) very well because from an evolutionary standpoint, we weren't meant for that. Just like wolves, sheep, geese, and all other creatures that naturally come together to form groups, we are basically just pack animals.
I truly believe that emotional abuse and/or neglect (friends, spouses, family) takes even more lives than physical abuse does, we just notice the physical more because it's far easier to blame someone for something that you can actually see them doing. Because there's visible physical evidence of their callousness, especially when talking about outward violence, we will instinctively identify that person as a threat and usually at least try to take the appropriate measures to get our loved one away from danger. But emotional abuse is very easily and often concealed, so friends or family don't even know that something is very wrong, and the blame falls on the victims "crazy" which causes even more isolation and the cycle sometimes continues until it's too late.
It's just easier to blame the victim because they can no longer explain to anyone what happend to them,
let alone the PEOPLE who catalyzed that death.