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February 24, 1969

Suicidal Behaviors: Diagnosis and Management

Author Affiliations

Fairfield Hills Hospital Newtown, Conn

JAMA. 1969;207(8):1520. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03150210104025

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


One suicide every 24 minutes! 20,000 suicides annually in the U.S.! Suicide the tenth leading cause of death, and fourth among teenagers! Many more Americans die by suicide than in Vietnam war!

Startling headlines these, but true. They illustrate the magnitude of the problem and the need for books like this. Its 48 authors, from various professional ranks, have contributed a worthwhile, multidisciplinary study which encompasses philosophical and cultural considerations, diagnostic awareness, statistical analyses, biochemical hypotheses, clinical management and treatment, and community preventive aspects.

"En garde" is the keynote in prevention. Preliminary signposts may loom large. Several authors emphasize the concept that very few people decide suddenly and precipitously to commit suicide. The common pattern consists of a series of attempts with increasing lethality; the suicide rate stands 35 times higher in those who have made previous abortive attempts than in those with negative histories. Presuicidal communications of some sort