Suicidology: what it is, characteristics and objectives of this science

While the issue of suicide in our society has always been considered a taboo subject, it is increasingly treated with greater transparency.

Indeed, to date, all the factors influencing this behavior are studied in depth, and it’s done by suicide. Below we will see in detail what this knowledge field consists of.

    What is suicidology

    Suicide is the science that studies all these suicidal behaviorsBut he doesn’t stay here, but tries to develop a series of guidelines to prevent them. He achieves these goals by drinking from two major branches of science, which are psychology and sociology.

    suicidology it not only focuses on suicide, but is also responsible for studying other self-injurious behaviors that they do not necessarily have to derive in the death, and also of the own suicidal idea and of the parasuicidios.

    Suicide in Spain

    In Spain, this discipline is reported by the Spanish Society of Suicidology, born in 2015. Its aim is to bring together all groups of healthcare professionals and other fields that in one way or another may be linked to potentially suicidal people, to establish and comply with a set of guidelines aimed at to reduce the prevalence of this phenomenon.

    They are also trying to make the issue of suicide visible, as it has traditionally been omitted from most media and even within society itself, which they believe makes it much more difficult.

    Every year, the Spanish Society of Suicidology organizes congresses and days dedicated to putting in contact with experts in suicidal behavior and thus obtaining improved protocols for the prevention of such acts.

    What do we mean by suicide?

    Known as suicide in act of an individual involving voluntary suicide. This can be done in a multitude of ways, but the most common are hanging, using poisons, and using firearms.

    There are risk factors that make a person more likely to kill themselves. For example, certain mental disorders, harassment of any kind, unsurpassed duels, loss of employment, alcoholism and the use of other substances, among others.

    Suicidal behavior in the story

    This phenomenon has occurred throughout human history, but its perception has not always been the same. In ancient Greece, suicide could even be seen well if it was practiced as a way to avoid dishonor. In Rome, it was initially legal, but then banned, for purely economic reasons. (The death of the slaves caused them losses).

    But what marked its stigma in Western society was the arrival of the Church, which came to regard it as a sin, as the sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” also meant not to kill oneself.

    However, with the Renaissance, another turning point was experienced in the perception of suicide, defending it in a certain way. And already with the Enlightenment, authors like David Hume decreed that by not affecting anyone other than the individual himself, and in a way being for his benefit, suicide could not be a crime. .

    In the 19th century, the center of the religious question definitely shifted to mental health of the suicidal individual, to speak of sin to begin to speak of madness. Finally, in the middle of the 20th century, suicide ceased to be included in the penal codes of many European countries.


    The numbers surrounding this phenomenon, around the world, are grim. About a million people around the world decide to kill themselves, and in fact they do. This is intentional willful death every 2 minutes.

    The epidemiology of suicide in Spain shows us that each year around 3,500 citizens commit suicide, Being the vast majority of men (3 men for each woman). In terms of age, the highest suicide rates are observed among men between 40 and 59 years old. Of note is the concern about the increase in data recorded in 2019, almost 10% more than the previous year.

    suicidal thoughts

    Generally, before reaching the act of suicide, a series of self-destructive thoughts pass through the mind of the individual. These ideas can arise on a wide spectrum, from the mere imagination of “what would happen if …”, to the development of a detailed plan that inexorably results in the deprivation of one’s life.

    We speak of a series of phases during suicidal ideation:

    • Ideational: understands the first thoughts on the idea of ​​suicide.
    • Struggle: These ideas gain strength and generate anxiety in the individual, who doubts the decision to be made.
    • Relaxation: after deciding to commit suicide, the person stops feeling this anxiety.

    But faced with this system of phases too suicidal behavior can occur suddenly, for example with an extremely high spike in stress (Coupled with another set of factors, of course).

    When the individual is at a stage of suicidal ideation, they usually exhibit a number of symptoms that should sound like a “red alert” to everyone around them, especially to healthcare professionals. inclourien anhedonia, anxiety-depressive symptoms, loss of sleep and / or appetite and difficulty concentrating, among others.


      Parasicide is self-injurious behavior in which the individual voluntarily comes to the brink of deathKnowing that this is unlikely to be achieved, with the intention of getting the attention of those around you. The main difference, in this case, is that the person doesn’t really want to die.

      Likewise, it is very serious behavior that all possible mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that the person receives appropriate treatment and the cessation of these behaviors, by solving the problems that cause them.


      This is a different type of suicide in which the person kills (or at least attempts) other people just before they kill themselves, or at the same time.

      The typology and the underlying motivations that lead to it are very varied. We can find cases of people who provide the means to kill an prevented loved one, others who kill people in their immediate environment and even cases of suicide attacks, whether by shooting, explosives, vehicles, etc.

      self-destructive behavior

      These would be all of those behaviors that are intended to harm willful self-harm, but not necessarily lead to death, as most of them are usually much more subtle.

      These behaviors can be classified into two types.

      Direct self-injurious behaviors

      They are meant to cause immediate damage, And are practiced through all kinds of physical violence (trauma, incisions with sharp objects, burns, etc.). The most extreme expression of this behavior would actually be suicide.

      Indirect self-injurious behaviors

      however, such actions seek (consciously or unconsciously) long-term harm. These include drug addiction (alcohol, drugs, etc.), unsafe sex (without adequate protection), playing dangerous sports, uncontrolled gambling or eating disorders.

      Suicide note

      This is a key element because, while it obviously does not serve to prevent the death of this particular individual, it does. he provides us with a lot of information about the causes that led him to make such a fatal decisionSo that experts can work with very valuable data to create more effective anti-suicide protocols, which allow them to save the lives of others who find themselves in situations similar.

      The suicide note is an item used by one in six people who decide to commit suicide, even if, according to studies, it seems to be a strongly cultural factor, because in some societies the figure increases to one in two.

      The goals they seek in writing these lines before death are varied in nature. Some seek to alleviate the suffering of their loved ones, while others seek to dig deeper into the matter, making them feel responsible for this decision and even indicate what they want to do with their bodies. Others use it more pragmatically to explain the reasons that led them to this. Some take the opportunity to express what they have never dared and which tormented them.

      But there are also reasons why they don’t write that suicide note. Some just focus on the more practical preparations for the suicide act and don’t stop to think about the writing. Others claim to show that the death was accidental or even that they were murdered.

      In some cases, the decision is sudden (even if she has been ruminating for a while) and the grade is not appropriate. In some cases, the person simply has nothing to say or, more dramatically, no one to say. Finally, there are those who don’t know how to express their message, or who just don’t want to.

      there is a way out

      Before concluding, it is important to clarify that there are always people ready to help anyone who is having a hard time. Suicide should never be the solution. If you need help, feel free to call Hope’s phone number (717 00 37 17), any day and anytime. On the other side of the line, you’ll find a professional ready to lend a hand.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Maris, RW, Berman, AL, Silverman. (2000). Complete manual on suicide. New York. The Guilford Press.
      • Silverman, MM (2006). The language of suicide. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior: Vol. 36, no. 5, pages 519-532.
      • Chávez-Hernández, AM, Leenaars, AA (2010). Edwin S Shneidman and Modern Suicidology. Mexico. Spirit of Health vol.33 # 4

      Leave a Comment