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September 2, 1893

The Epidemic of Suicide.

JAMA. 1893;XXI(10):353. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420620029013

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To the Editor:  —Epidemics of suicide are reported from London, Paris, Chicago and other large cities. On one day within the past week eight cases of attempted suicide with six fatal results occurred in Chicago.Can we account for these melancholy facts, and furnish any promising remedy? It won't do to say that all these people are crazy. Some of them are far above the average in intelligence and thrift, have made deliberate preparations, and have acted and written with that calm contemplation and philosophical reasoning that discredit the theory of insanity.Was Socrates insane? He courted death with utter indifference. Was Demosthenes insane when he preferred death to defeat? The past few days have furnished numerous instances in which insanity will not satisfactorily account for suicide.The stringency in the money market will account for a certain proportion of suicidal deaths in the present epi demic, but not for

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