FSU Professor's New Book Tackles Suicide

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Fifteen years ago, FSU psychology professor Thomas Joiner lost his father to suicide. He's since been on a personal quest to understand why.

"When someone is in a suicide crises they're thinking differently than other people, and what's on their mind is a kind of selflessness," says Joiner.

In a new book, "Why People Die By Suicide," Joiner suggests most people who commit suicide rehearse the act before carrying it through.

"People do it in all sorts of ways. They can certainly practice it by doing self injury to themselves, and in other ways too. If you are living a lifestyle where you are always getting hurt in accidents, that would be another way," adds Joiner, who says people have a natural instinct for self preservation.

And with suicide, victims work their way through pain and suffering, making the act of suicide easier to carry out.

"You hear from teens a lot, ‘I want to kill myself.’ When you hear this, it is definitely a warning sign," says Tallahassee resident Barbara Lonchar.

Joiner hopes his research stimulates further work on social behavior, but says the ultimate goal is to have fewer deaths by suicide.

If you or someone you know is in a crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, or 1-800-273-8255.


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