Certain aspects of self-destructive behavior can be understood as an appeal for help in an intolerable situation made to one or more potential rescuers.3 Often the response of the person who receives such a communication is crucial for life or death. When the responses are inadequate, what are the reasons?
The concept "suicide" comprises such a wide variety of complex social-psychological phenomena that most investigators have limited themselves to special aspects.
For example, Stengel emphasized the social effects of suicidal behavior.11 Ordinarily suicide threats or attempts have a powerful social effect, tending automatically to induce or "release" rescuing activity from the environment. Indeed much of the rationale of a Suicide Prevention Center5 is provided by observations which indicate that potentially self-destructive persons are ambivalent about death. They communicate their suicidal preoccupation. Then others can give aid.
In a classical
LITMAN RE. Immobilization Response to Suicidal Behavior. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(3):282-285. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720270054006