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July 1961

On the Communication of Suicidal IdeasII. Some Medical Considerations

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1961;5(1):12-29. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1961.01710130014003

He does not know that on a damask drum he beats.—Seami, Aya no Tsuzumi (The Damask Drum)

I. Introduction  Suicidal behavior has been the subject of an ever-increasing body of literature, but the element of communication of suicidal ideas or intent to others before the act is accomplished has received relatively little investigation. There has been a growing awareness that those individuals who do talk about suicide are certainly not immune to carrying out their thoughts. But it seems that not too much attention has been directed toward investigating the phenomenon of communication of suicidal ideas per se.If there were differences discernible between the communicator and noncommunicator this could conceivably be of some value in the prediction of suicidal behavior and thereby aid in the prevention of needless loss of life from self-destruction.In order to investigate the possibility that there might be some observable

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