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The predicaments of people whose suicide was captured on film
Background: Although suicide is commonly linked with mental disorder, the notion that suicide may occur in response to predicaments has been the subject of much recent study and attention. A predicament in this context refers to an uncomfortable situation from which escape is difficult. We aimed to examine the predicaments of people whose suicide was captured on film and displayed on the public record.
Methods: The authors’ extensive private library and the web were explored for examples of suicide on film. The authors viewed the films and associated records, and extracted and listed details of the suicides.
Results: Six individual cases and two groups (totalling 2200 plus individuals) were identified. The individual cases were Thich Quang Duc (1963), Christine Chubbuck (1974), Budd Dwyer (1987), Daniel Victor Jones (1998), Michael Marin (2012) and Jordon Romero (2012). The two groups were the Japanese Kamikaze pilots of 1944/1995, and those who jumped from the burning “Twin Towers” on September 11, 2001. One of the six individuals has evidence of a mental disorder, and all (individual and group cases) were in potent social/environmental predicaments.
Conclusion: Both psychological autopsies and our clinical experience suggest that suicide is often associated with mental disorder. Nevertheless, social/environmental predicaments may lead to suicide. This study suggests that individuals whose suicide is captured on film are often seeking public exposure of their fatal act.
Publication titleMalaysian Journal of Medical Science
Department/SchoolTasmanian School of Medicine
PublisherUniversiti Sains Malaysia, School of Medical Sciences
Place of publicationMalaysia
Rights statementCopyright 2013 Penerbit Universiti Sains Malaysia