One is the owner of their own life, is taking their own life away counted as a crime? Read the article to know everything you need to know about the law of the U.S. regarding suicide.
Suicide is death caused by intentionally harming oneself to die. A suicide attempt occurs when someone does harm to themselves to end their life but dependently dies or does not die as a result of their actions.
Many factors can either enhance or decrease the likelihood of suicide. Suicide is linked t various types of injury and violence. People who have suffered violence, such as child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence, have an increased chance of suicide.
Table of Contents
- 1 Suicide is a serious public health problem
- 2 Do certain groups of people have higher rates of suicide?
- 3 Suicide has a far-reaching impact
- 4 Suicide in the U.S.
- 5 What are the warning signs of suicide?
- 6 Common causes of suicide
- 7 Methods of suicide
- 8 How can I protect myself from suicide?
- 9 Prevention and control
- 10 Conclusion
Suicide is a serious public health problem
Suicide rates rose by 30 between 2000 and 2018, then fell in 2019 and 2020. Suicide is the third highest cause of death in the United States, accounting for 45,979 fatalities in 2020. This equates to approximately one death every eleven minutes, other than this, several other people are contemplating or attempting suicide. An estimated 1.2 million American individuals seriously considered suicide in 2020, 3.2 million planned suicide attempts, and 1.2 million attempted suicide.
Suicide strikes people of all ages. Suicide has been one of the top nine primary causes of death for individuals aged 10-64 in 2020. Suicide was the second-highest cause of mortality for those
individuals who are aged 10-18 and 25-34.
Do certain groups of people have higher rates of suicide?
Men are more likely to die by suicide than women, but women are more likely to attempt suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This may be due to the fact that women are more prone to attempt suicide by poisoning, including overdose on prescribed or illicit prescription medicines, whereas men are more likely to attempt suicide by very lethal means, such as firearms or suffocation (e.g., hanging). Recent CDC data, however, indicate that women may be turning to more deadly techniques as their preferred method of suicide shifts.
Additionally, according to CDC data, suicide rates differ by age, gender, race, and ethnicity. Men who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native have the greatest suicide rates, followed by non-Hispanic White men.
Despite being lower than that of older adolescents and adults, the suicide death rate among preteens and younger teens has risen over time. For children aged 10 to 14, suicide is currently the second-leading cause of mortality. According to a study, Black children under the age of 12 had a greater suicide death rate than White children.
From 2018 to 2019, the total suicide rate somewhat fell after rising consistently for many years. The CDC website has more information regarding this discovery. Researchers are looking into whether this decline affected people of different races, ethnicities, genders, and ages and whether it will last in the future.
Suicide has a far-reaching impact
Suicide and suicide attempts have substantial, emotional, physical, and financial consequences. Suicide attempters who live may sustain catastrophic injuries that have long-term consequences on their health. They may also suffer from anxiety leading to depression and other mental health issues. The good news is that more than 90% of people who try suicide and survive, never commit suicide again.
Suicide and suicide attempts have a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of friends, loved ones, coworkers, and the community as a whole. When someone commits suicide, their surviving family and friends may experience shock, anger, guilt, symptoms of melancholy or anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts.
Suicide has a high financial impact on society. Suicide and non-fatal self-harm cost the United States roughly $490 billion in medical expenditures, lost wages, statistical life value, and quality of life costs.
Suicide in the U.S.
In the United States, suicide is no longer considered a crime; nevertheless, several states have attempted suicide listed as a felony in their penal statutes. On the other hand, assisted suicide, which occurs when one person assists another in committing suicide, is illegal in all fifty states, with physician-assisted suicide being an exemption in some.
In the United States, some issues are governed by federal law while others are governed by state law. The information on legislation to prevent suicide will be covered at the federal level first, and then those states with legislation will be covered.
Historically, the act of suicide was considered a crime in many places, but these laws were rarely upheld. 18 American states had no legislation against suicide by the late 1960s. By the late 1980s, 30 of the 50 states did not have any laws prohibiting suicide or suicide attempts, but every state had laws making it a crime to assist, counsel, or urge someone else to commit suicide. Only two states still classified suicide as a felony at the beginning of the 1990s, and they have since done so.
According to Blackstone’s commentary, suicide is still regarded as a “common law felony” in some states of the United States. Suicide is a common-law offense that can prevent the relatives of the deceased suicidal person from recovering damages in a lawsuit unless it can be demonstrated that the suicidal person was “of unsound mind.” That is, the victim’s involuntary act must have been established for the family to get monetary damages from the court. This can happen if the deceased’s family brings a lawsuit against the caregiver (often jail or hospital) for negligence in failing to give the patient the proper treatment.
Some legal experts in America view the matter as one of personal liberty. “The idea of the government making decisions about how you end your life, forcing you,” said Nadine Strosser, a former president of the ACLU, “could be considered cruel and unusual punishment in some circumstances, and Justice Stevens raised the analogy in a very interesting opinion in a right-to-die.
In some states, physician-aided suicide is permitted. Under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act, it is permitted for those who are terminally ill. When the Washington Death With Dignity Act, a statute based on the Oregon act, was passed in 2009, it became lawful in Washington state. A request must be made verbally and in writing, approved by two different doctors, and then the patient must wait 15 days before making it again. The patient must also be in good mental health. A deadly dosage of a drug may be prescribed by a doctor, but not given.
In California, medical facilities have the authority or legal obligation to admit anyone they suspect of being suicidal for assessment and treatment. Over the past few years, the State of California has introduced several suicide-related measures, most of which concern young people. Assembly Bill 2246, which was passed in 2016, mandated that school districts develop a suicide prevention plan that takes into account the requirements of their most at-risk students in grades 7 through 12. The Bill has undergone two amendments since then. First, AB 2639, which mandated that school districts revise their policy once every five years, was passed in 2018. After that, AB 1767 was approved in 2019. Due to this change, districts that serve students in kindergarten through sixth grade will also need to adopt a policy on suicide prevention.
Finally, the governor approved AB 984 in 2019. This bill enables taxpayers to donate their excess tax payments to a dedicated fund for suicide prevention. This fund’s objectives include funding crisis centers and giving grants.
The legality of suicide is a contentious issue in Maryland. A Maryland man was found guilty of attempting suicide in 2018. While suicide was considered “a grave public wrong” in New York State in 1917, attempting suicide was a felony that carried a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
Congress enacted the Garreth Lee Smith Memorial Act in 2004. (GLSMA). The GLSMA made federal financing for community-based juvenile and young adult suicide prevention initiatives available for the first time to states, tribes, and institutions around the country. The goals for many of these programs were based on the National Suicide Prevention Strategy, which was created in 2001. These goals included expanding community-based prevention and lowering stigma, among other things.
The National Suicide Hotline Designation Act went into effect in October 2020. According to this rule, there was to be a change from a 10-digit hotline number to a standard 3-digit hotline number that should be well-known and easily remembered by everyone. Additionally, the House passed the Suicide Prevention Act in May 2021, and the Senate is currently debating it. This Act will establish a grant program to expand self-harm and suicide prevention programs across the nation and authorize a pilot program to step up self-harm surveillance.
What are the warning signs of suicide?
There are several warning indicators that someone may be at immediate risk of trying to commit suicide.
- expressing a desire to end one’s life or commit suicide
- talking about having no purpose in life, feeling empty, or hopeless.
- expressing the idea of being stuck or thinking there are no solutions
- having excruciating bodily or emotional anguish
- expressing concerns about burdening others
- withdrawal from friends and relatives
- transferring significant possessions
- farewells to family and friends
- arranging things, such as by creating a will
- taking grave risks, such as driving too quickly, that could result in death
- discussing or considering death frequently
Other grave red flags that someone may be considering suicide include:
- exhibiting significant mood fluctuations, abruptly switching from being very depressed to being quite calm or joyful
- Making a plan or seeking ways to commit suicide, such as checking online for fatal means, storing drugs, or purchasing a gun
- expressing feelings of extreme remorse or shame
- consuming more alcohol or drugs
- being tense or upset
- altering one’s eating or sleeping schedule
- displaying wrath or discussing pursuing retribution
Common causes of suicide
Struggling to cope with specific issues in your life can lead to suicidal ideation. Among these difficulties are:
- problems with mental health
- bullying or prejudice of any kind, including racism
- various sorts of abuse, such as domestic, sexual, or physical abuse
- bereavement, including the suicide of a loved one, the termination of a relationship, long-term bodily pain or disease
- adjusting to a major change, such as retirement or redundancy financial issues
- housing issues, such as homelessness, solitude, loneliness, being in prison, and feeling inadequate or a failure
- substance misuse or addiction
- pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal depression are all possibilities.
- uncertainty about your sexual or gender identity
- other forms of trauma include societal pressure, such as forced marriage.
Methods of suicide
Pesticide self-poisoning is thought to account for approximately 20% of global suicides, most of which occur in rural agricultural areas of low- and middle-income countries. Hanging and weapons are two more popular methods of suicide.
Knowledge of the most commonly used suicide techniques is important for developing successful prevention efforts, such as restricting access to means of suicide. Euthanasia, is a practice of ending the life of a patient, this act is also illegal in over 50 states of the united states.
How can I protect myself from suicide?
Nobody can guarantee they won’t ever consider taking their own life. There are two significant things you can do to lessen suicide. The first is to establish relationships with others. The second is to get assistance for mental health issues.
Build connections with other people
A key component of preventing suicide is feeling connected to people.
- How to establish connections is as follows:
- Spend some time with friends and family.
- Attend religious or cultural events.
- Participate in your neighborhood. For instance, enroll in classes at your local community college or center.
- Assist others. Consider assisting a charity or other organization.
Get help early for mental health problems
Suicide is frequently accompanied by mental health issues. By seeking treatment for mental health issues as soon as possible, you can help safeguard yourself.
Here are some typical indications of mental health issues:
- feeling that nothing brings you joy any longer.
- having been depressed or despondent for a long time.
- having the impression that you are unable to handle life’s events.
- having severe anxiety or fear for several weeks.
- seeing unusual behaviors or weird thoughts that persist. Some people can hear voices that others do not.
- snoozing more or less than usual.
- eating more or less than normal.
- utilizing drink or drugs more frequently than usual.
- a prolonged absence from a job or study.
- avoiding friends and family.
- being “drained” or often feeling sick.
If you observe these symptoms, consult your doctor. Your doctor can determine what might be the problem.
Prevention and control
Suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play that can save lives and create healthy and strong individuals, families, and communities. To prevent suicide and suicide attempts, a variety of strategies can be implemented at the population, sub-population, and individual levels. LIVE LIFE, the WHO’s approach to suicide prevention, and several other organizations recommend the following key effective evidence-based interventions: limit access to suicide means (e.g. pesticides, firearms, certain medications);
- interact with the media for responsible suicide reporting
- foster socio-emotional life skills in adolescents; and identity, assess, and manage
- follow-up with anyone who is affected by suicidal behaviors early.
These must be combined with the core pillars of situation analysis, multisectoral collaboration, awareness-raising, capacity building, finance, surveillance and monitoring, and evaluation.
Suicide prevention programs necessitate coordination and collaboration across numerous sectors of society, including education, labor, agriculture, business, justice, law, defense, politics, and the media. These efforts must be comprehensive and interconnected, as no one technique can have an impact on a complicated subject like suicide.
Suicide among adolescents is a huge public mental health issue. Adolescents, in particular, are a particularly vulnerable demographic for mental health issues. Suicide is still the biggest cause of death among young people globally, accounting for a significant number of early deaths as well as a great amount of unnecessary suffering and societal loss.
Individual efforts to forecast and prevent suicide tend to fail since each suicide is the consequence of a complex dynamic and unique interplay of several contributing elements. On the other hand, our understanding of risk variables is rapidly expanding.
Mental disorders, prior suicide attempts, personality characteristics, genetic loading, and family processes, in combination with triggering psychosocial stressors, exposure to inspiring models, and the availability of means of committing suicide, are all important risk factors for youth suicide. The only way ahead is to lower these risk factors as much as possible while strengthening protective variables through coordinated and multi-sector (primary, secondary, and tertiary) preventative activities.