February 14, 1920


JAMA. 1920;74(7):462-463. doi:10.1001/jama.1920.02620070030014

It is a curious but well substantiated fact, commented on some time ago in The Journal,3 that there are fashions in suicide just as there are in almost every other human activity. Indeed, the fashion changes not only with regard to the methods employed for terminating existence, but also in the whole attitude of peoples toward suicide. In the days of the ancients, suicide was not regarded as a crime. The Stoic school of philosophy taught that every person had the right to decide whether or not to continue in this life.

In the United States alone about 10,000 persons annually terminate their existence by self destruction. This large number of deaths naturally brings up the question of the prevention of suicide, which in turn leads to a consideration of its causes. Since self destruction is no longer countenanced by public opinion, the number of suicides has decreased considerably,

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