Suicide: Clinical and systematic aspects of the self-responsibility dimension

Gadi Lubin*, Tali Vishne, Moshe Kotler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Suicide is a tragic, extreme, and unusual act which evokes powerful emotions. Doctors, psychologists, social workers, lawyers and Renaissance men are trying to research factors leading to suicide. They believe that finding the critical factors may reduce the incidence of suicide. The causative factors leading to suicide are complicated and diverse. A society's moral stance on the issue of suicide influences an individual's inclination to implement the act itself. There is a wide variety of viewpoints between different societies. Societies, with a supportive view, that treat suicide as a noble act, have a high incidence of suicide. Those with a condemning view, that may even deem suicide as a criminal act, have a lower suicide rate. Society's view of suicide is linked to the question of responsibility for the act itself. The responsibility is composed of moral, public and legal obligations. The question is: should most of the responsibility be the deceased's or society's medical and paramedical personnel, who might be held responsible for not recognizing the warning signs and not preventing the act itself. We wish to contend that a professional, cultural, public and legal approach that preserves an individual's responsibility for one's own decisions - even one of self-destruction - will prevent a moral judgment and criticism of the deceased. The aforementioned may decrease the incidence of suicide seen with a neutral approach that foregoes the deceased's individual responsibility. The second section of the article deals with the legal aspects of the act of suicide as expressed in the legislation for the treatment of the mentally ill. The assumption is that the law reflects the viewpoint of a society, thereby influencing the tendencies and processes within. Therefore, a change or amendment to the law may influence the attitude towards it, and the prevalence of the phenomenon in the long run.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-367
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Law
  • Medical history
  • Responsibility
  • Ruling
  • Suicide


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