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Suicide prevention by education and the moulding of attitudes 

Suicide prevention by education and the moulding of attitudes
Suicide prevention by education and the moulding of attitudes

David Titelman

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date: 05 July 2022

In this chapter the challenge of influencing the attitudes to suicide prevention in key individuals or gatekeepers, such as clinicians, school personnel, social planners, and researchers in mental health and suicide prevention, is addressed. Based on experiences from several training programmes, the importance of a psychological perspective on suicidality is seen as relevant, even in population-based research and prevention. One focus in the discussion is on the distinction between having an immediate impact on conscious attitudes and the more difficult challenge of influencing less conscious, individual and cultural ambivalent attitudes to suicide prevention. In light of the universal stigma of and taboo against the topic of suicide, the ability of prevention specialists to withhold judgement and reflect on their own emotional responses to self-destructiveness is considered as an aspect of a scientific attitude. In addition, an anthropological elucidation of mental ill-health and suicide is called for as a supplement to the biopsychosocial, stress–vulnerability paradigm in suicide-preventive training programmes.

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