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Open Access Special Issue

Understanding the phenomenon of suicide

  • Leah Shelef1

1Department of Military Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 9190401 Jerusalem, Israel

DOI: 10.31083/jomh.2021.098 Vol.17,Issue 4,September 2021 pp.1-3

Submitted: 22 February 2021 Accepted: 01 March 2021

Published: 30 September 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Leah Shelef E-mail:

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Background and objective: Suicidality and suicidal behavior have long been studied extensively, as they are considered the main cause of premature death throughout the world. Death by suicide seems to have always been part of human behavior. The earliest known report of a suicide was written 4000 years ago on papyrus. Still, despite the rich literature on the topic, prevention or prediction of suicide are still hard and sometimes impossible. To date, there is still no theoretical model that encompasses all possibilities of the phenomenon.

Material and methods: This study aim was to present studies of Professor Israel Orbach who was one of the pioneers in the research of suicide and a leading theoretician in the field of suicide.

Results: Studies point to numerous variables involved in suicidal behavior and in the suicidal act that the interaction between those variables promotes a destructive process that leads the individual to act in a self-harming manner. The research of mental pain and the inability to moderate it are the main contributions to the field of suicide, alongside with dissociation process which by its presence, increases the probability of suicidal behavior.

Conclusion: Numerous theories and models attempt to describe the process leading to the act of suicide, but the unknown is still larger. The fact that in most cultures suicide and suicidal behavior are still considered taboo, something to hide and be ashamed of, is a tragedy for the suicidal individual as well as his or her family, and other close people, as it impedes identification, treatment and prevention. It may be even more of a tragedy and harder to comprehend and accept, when the suicidal person is an otherwise healthy adolescent who has his whole life ahead of him or her. Therefore, any bit of new information and knowledge added to the field of suicidality is another layer in the understanding of the process, mechanism and dynamics of this subject and contributes to the improvement of prevention, treatment, and to assistance to those in distress and maybe help in stopping suicide from becoming a pandemic.


Mental pain; Suicidal behavior; Suicide; Dissociation process; Israel Orbach

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Leah Shelef. Understanding the phenomenon of suicide. Journal of Men's Health. 2021. 17(4);1-3.


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