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Myths about Suicide [Hardcover]

Thomas Joiner


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Book Description

7 May 2010
Around the world, more than a million people die by suicide each year. Yet many of us know very little about a tragedy that may strike our own loved ones - and much of what we think we know is wrong. This clear and powerful book dismantles myth after myth to bring compassionate and accurate understanding of a massive international killer. Drawing on a fascinating array of clinical cases, media reports, literary works, and scientific studies, Thomas Joiner demolishes both moralistic and psychotherapeutic cliches. He shows that suicide is not easy, cowardly, vengeful, or selfish. It is not a manifestation of 'suppressed rage' or a side effect of medication. Threats of suicide, far from being idle, are often followed by serious attempts. People who are prevented once from killing themselves will not necessarily try again. The risk for suicide, Joiner argues, is partly genetic and is influenced by often agonizing mental disorders. Vulnerability to suicide may be anticipated and treated. Most important, suicide can be prevented. An eminent expert whose own father's death by suicide changed his life, Joiner is relentless in his pursuit of the truth about suicide and deeply sympathetic to such tragic waste of life and the pain it causes those left behind.

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Review

Myths about Suicide seeks to debunk the myriad ways that suicide is stigmatized by ignorance, disgust, contempt, and callousness. -- Peter Monaghan Chronicle of Higher Education 20100425 In this very readable book, Joiner's wide ranging knowledge of the subject leads to deeply penetrating thoughts on the psychology of suicide. He attacks myths from multiple perspectives, drawing on materials from biblical times to the present, scientific research studies and clinical case studies, animal studies, literature, popular culture, and film. The book also advances Joiner's own theory of suicide: people who kill themselves feel that they are a burden to their socially significant others and feel alienated from society. Whether readers are beginning students or advanced researchers, they will find an abundance of stimulating thought and data here. -- W. Feigelman Choice 20101101

About the Author

Thomas Joiner is Distinguished Research Professor and Bright-Burton Professor of Psychology at Florida State University and author of Why People Die by Suicide.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The anti-myths about suicide. 25 Mar 2010
By Ennio Ammendola - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Dr. Joiner has given us another opportunity for deep reflections on the myths related to suicide. If you are sincerely interested in the theory of Dr. Joiner and want to appreciate this book even more, then I suggest reading first his previous book (Why People Die by Suicide, 2007.) There are many myths related to suicide and the merit of Dr. Joiner is not only "to collect" them in one book, but mostly "to explain" why these myths are still perceived as "the truth" and "to present" the "anti-myths" by supporting them with reliable research. In addition, Dr. Joiner builds his counterarguments using his theory and what strikes the readers' attention is the "simplicity" with which he explains his view. His writing is simple and direct; he is able to connect myths, false beliefs, research and antimyths as my grandmother was able to mix together all the ingredients for the perfect Sunday sauce......it looked simple but almost impossible to replicate. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in accurate information about suicide delivered to you by one of the best suicidologist in the world.

PS: I am Italian so I can certify that Bellagio is located in Italy and "not only" in Las Vegas (see pag.281.) If you still do not believe me visit [...].
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Insight! 6 Dec 2010
By siansays - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The title of this book caught my eye and my curiosity. What an excellent read. The research is extremely well documented! My major in college was psychology, but, one does not have to be well versed to understand this book. The "layman" can understand just as well as any psychologist. And for those in the psychiatric field, I highly recommend this book.

I have been affected by suicide myself. After many attempts, my best friend ended her life six years ago. There were many times over the course of the book where I found myself a) nodding my head in understanding and b) surprised by what I discovered.

There are so many myths, so many misunderstandings regarding suicide. And, so many assumptions. The prevailing stigma attached to mental disease is so disheartening. One thing that I want anyone reading this review to know : the person who 'left you behind' did not, I repeat did not, do this to punish you in any way.

For those who are considering this book as a way to better understand what happened, I urge you to purchase this. Bear in mind that this book is about suicide itself; it is not a guide to specifically help those who were left behind. Though the knowledge you gain from it might do just that. For myself,
I found it to be very soothing as well as extremely informative.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillant Readable Insightful Work.. 3 May 2010
By T. Lord - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Thomas Joiner should be commended for his research and study. Most other books frankly leave much to be desired. Please read his first book "Why People Die" before reading his new work. I'm not a sociologist or psych professional but a business professional. I've had over a dozen friends effect "self-deliverence" stemming from "econo-cide" or "divorce-cide" in the past 3 years. All were brillant smart caring and loving people who simply couldn't cope. Dr. Joiner's thesis of connectedness and belonging to a context greater than self is spot on and desreves great praise., especially in today's times where the concept of self-fulfillment has greater context than respondsibility to family, friends and work.

Suicide clearly is not viewed correctly by the media. They will write on auto accidents as a "natural cause of death", but have no manifest to research why mostly males choose to end pain and suffering for the sake of reasons only that respective individual takes with him to eternity.

Dr. Joiner's rearch offers the most clear, brillant and insightful thoughts regarding self-deliverance.

With the most viscious economic climate since the depression and a surge in divorce of long-term marriages, I hope Dr. Joiner's next book tackles these two alarming trends. The cause/effect relationship is there in living color.

Dr. Joiner's work on perception/reality is fascinating in every realm especially in a society like today where intellectual and emotional honesty seems to have been discarded.

For those who have lost a family member or friend due to self-deliverance, you have my honest condolonces. But also please consider what caused their decision.

Dr. Joiner's two works offer the most insightful, well researched and easily read insight into the mind and thought process of those that seek to transition from human existence.

I highly recommend both these excellent titles.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reality check 11 Mar 2012
By Dr. Gabriella Kadar - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I heard Dr. Joiner interviewed on CBC 'Ideas' hosted by Paul Kennedy. One of my colleagues, a woman who was a best friend for many, many years committed suicide in 2011. Literally and figuratively, her death broke my heart. When I heard Dr. Joiner's interview I ordered a copy of this book and his other book "Why People Commit Suicide". This book arrived first.

Definitely I understand why people commit suicide. I think Dr. Joiner has made an extensive and comprehensive review of the subject. What a painful 'think' it all is. I have to admit, there were times I needed a break from the book. But I finished reading it. As a person deeply and profoundly affected by the loss of someone I believed was as constant as the North Star, Dr. Joiner's work helped with the intellectual understanding.

Probably this book is a 'must read' for healthcare professionals of any type. We all have patients who experience the terrible loss through suicide of a loved one. We must have the courage to learn and to understand and be able to be supportive of those whose lives have been irrevocably changed by suicide.

Dr. Thomas Szasz maintains that a person has the right to choose to end their life. But I'm not sure he has a grasp on the truly terrible effect this has on those left behind.

Thank you, Dr. Joiner. You have done an exceptional job on explaining so people can understand. Intellectual comprehension is at least a great place to start. The emotional fallout is something else again.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Myths about suicide 19 Nov 2012
By Barbara Rubel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a must have for any survivor of suicide. After my father killed himself while I was pregnant with triplets I searched for answers and even wrote a book to help families in the aftermath. I wish Joiner's book was around when I needed it in those first few months when I could not grasp why my father ended his own life. At least the 221,454 survivors in the U.S. have this book to help them cope with this sudden and traumatic death as well as look at the myths that simply do not make any sense at all. As a bereavement counselor and survivor I realize the significance of books for those bereaved by suicide and also recommend other books by Joiner as he has a good handle on survivor issues.But I Didn't Say Goodbye: Helping Children and Families After a Suicide
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