There are many theories hypothesizing the underlying explanations for self-harm and suicidal ideation, however, it is sometimes difficult to recognize individuals experiencing these behaviors. Possible reasons not to disclose could be not recognizing the need for assistance or the negative stereotypes surrounding self-injury. Alternatively, their attempts to disclose could be neglected or undetected, or they lack someone to which they can disclose information regarding their condition. Conceivably even more difficult than discovering at-risk individuals is properly adhering to their needs and preventing them from further ideas or actions.
According to Armiento, Hamza and Willoughby (2014) individuals who experience nonsuicidal self-injury and are at-risk of severe self-injury or suicidal thoughts were more likely to disclose they injure themselves. This suggests that people who cause severe harm to themselves or consider killing themselves are most likely to disclose their self-injury because it is key in relieving these individuals of self-harm or suicidal thoughts. It also suggests that individuals may not feel the need for assistance until they realize the possible outcome of death.
The study also implies that interpersonal relationship promotes disclosure more than formal sources. It is important to recognize and respond appropriately with support to these behaviors before they escalate. Xue (2015) determined that support from friends cannot substitute for support from relatives. The study showed that friends and relatives both offer support in many ways, however, the participants showed that they preferred using more intimate or deep strategies with relatives. Parents were consistently shown to give the most support, followed by close friends, siblings, and then all other relatives or acquaintances.
Participants mentioned relatives and friends equally as whom they sought support from, however, their strategy or desperation depended on the relationship. Individuals preferred deep strategies with relatives because of the elasticity kinship has. There were some friendships that displayed the same unconditional support as relatives but friendships typically require routine maintenance that kinship does not. According to Specher and Treger (2015) turn-taking reciprocal disclosure supports greater degrees of attraction. This suggests that friendships are most successful when disclosing in a tit-for-tat fashion instead of sequentially.
Without disclosure of both persons in the friendship, a connection will have trouble bonding on a personal level. Disclosing something that might jeopardize the friendship is likely why deep strategies are not used as often, and may be why individuals struggle to disclose. Chatard, Selibegovic, Pyszczynski and Jaafari (2017) determined that dysphoric students were more susceptible to suicidal thoughts after a failure whereas nondysphoric students were more susceptible to death-related thoughts. Students with dysphoria likely had trouble maintaining personal relationships, thus possibly lacking someone to disclose this burden to.
Participants with dysphoria showed a higher risk of suicidal thoughts after failure because of guilt or shame which increase the likelihood of self-punitive thoughts. Accessing and assessing these at-risk people and accommodating their needs to disclose the pressure of their failures before an event could prevent future suicide ideation. Velkoff, Forrest, Dodd and Smith (2015) conducted a study to determine the relationship between sexual minority females and the Interpersonal-Psychological Theory of Suicide (Joiner, 2005).
This theory was supported by proving failed belongingness and perceived burdensome coordinated with lifetime suicide attempts. It was shown that stressors derived from females in the sexual minority moderate, not enhance, suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Thus, suicide ideation is not dependent on sexual preference. Instead, failed belongingness and perceived burdensome proved to determine future suicidal thoughts. Providing an individual with an appropriate relationship to disclose fixes both issues.
When determining suicide rate, gender, age, sexual orientation, mental stability, suicide ideation, self-confidence, willingness to disclose and presence of appropriate consoler might have significant impact. I am proposing to expand upon the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide that claims suicide risk depends on belongingness, burdensomeness and previous suicide attempts. Suicide ideation can be accounted to many factors but outside of acquired capability, the other main factors are belongingness and burdensome which can be attributed to relationship quality.
This suggests that suicidal individuals that have not acted upon their thoughts may be prevented from future instances through a close interpersonal relationship to disclose. Determining the source of suicide ideation is not simple, as many variables must be considered. However, providing an at-risk individual with a qualified and trustworthy interpersonal relationship that promotes disclosure could prevent suicidal thoughts from pertaining. I propose that providing needing individuals with an appropriate relationship will greatly reduce suicide rate, no matter causality of initial suicidal thoughts.
I am curious to see the dynamics of gender on willingness to disclose, homosexual males as opposed to homosexual females, and mental stability with presence of appropriate consoler. I predict that males will have lower willingness to disclose, and sexual minority stressors will have more impact on their suicide ideation. I predict females will have lower mental stability and higher acquired capability. Thus, suicidal males will be more impacted by the implementation of a strong interpersonal relationship. Methods
The subjects needed for this experiment will include all ages, genders and sexual orientations to determine their impact on each other and suicide rates. To account for differences among suicidal ideation, a sample size of 1,000 participants would be beneficial. Since it is difficult to discover individuals who experience suicidal thoughts, I will promote it to university students as an interpersonal relationship study. To gain more diversity and age, I would promote it to hospitals and mental institutions. It would help determine mental well-being, as well as physical health, as a factor on suicide rate.
Participants should first be assessed on their previous suicidal thoughts or behaviors because those are the highest indicators of future suicidal thoughts. It will be important to note participants experiencing suicidal ideation without action because they should benefit most by disclosing. Mental stability and self-confidence will be measured among participants to determine any ties between dysphoria and suicide rate. Subjects will be asked about any other potential causes of suicidal thoughts to gain a better understanding of their perspective.
After learning the underlying reasons of suicide, subjects will be asked how they cope if suicidal thoughts are prominent. Their reasons for suicidal ideation is essential to understanding their perspective on their situation and how to manage their stressors. Students with relationship stressors such as willingness to disclose and the availability of trusted consoler should be separated from students who attribute their suicide ideation to other things. Participants who attribute suicide ideation to something outside of personal relationships, will then be offered multiple personal options to relieve their stress.
Most of these options will provide answers specific to their perceived problems, however, more subtle solutions regarding their interpersonal relationships will be implemented. They will be asked about their openness and willingness to disclose in relation to their perceived support from a person they trust. Participants will also be assessed on their openness to certain individuals. Some participants may enjoy disclosing to a professional to keep their privacy and others may prefer a personal approach.
If the subject prefers a professional, their willingness to disclose and availability of a consoler likely are not present. After gathering information regarding their suicidal ideation, personal diagnosis of suicidal tendencies and treatments will be discussed with participants. Subjects will receive feedback on their situation, including diagnosis of inability to disclose being the main indicator for their suicidal thoughts. These individuals will then be provided with a qualified and trusted individual to promote disclosure through turn based reciprocity.