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Death by Suicide

Sociology courses often look at the phenomena of death by suicide. Suicide is a common research paper topic but be very careful of writing a paper just on the incidence of suicide. A student will want to focus their research to a much narrower view of death by suicide. For example, a research paper on death by suicide and its effects on survivors is a much better topic and better suited for academic examination.

Teaching plan for Death by Suicide

Death by Suicide

An even more effective way to organize your research paper is to create a teaching plan or a program for education. According to the National Institute of Mental Health an individual suffering from depression may be continually sad, feel worthless, hopeless, or have thoughts of death by suicide. How does it affect the normal grieving process? Create a teaching plan in your essay to assist survivors to go through the process and why. The main key is to stay focus and not allow the research to get too broad. Include in the essay who is more likely to commit suicide.  Is there a family history?  Do particular life styles have an increase in suicidal attempts? Be sure to quote statistics in the research paper.

Death by suicide occurs too often in America. Other ideas for a research paper on death by suicide is to look at international suicide rates and the statistics behind who commits suicide in other countries. Does America have a higher suicide rate? If so, why? As a country with an extensive mental health system, why does death by suicide occur so much?

Death by Suicide Statistics:

U.S. Death by Suicide Statistics (2004)
Breakdown by Gender
Young, Old Age Groups

All Ages Combined
Number of
Rate of
Elderly Suicide
Youth Suicide






















Plea for Help Suicide Attempt

Some instances of death by suicide are considered cases of a plea for help suicide attempt gone too far. On some views, almost all such attempts are at least a subconscious plea for help. Supporting this view is the fact that most attempts are unsuccessful. A plausible explanation for this fact is that although the person does in fact harm themselves, he or she chooses a method unlikely to be unsuccessful or does not carry through to a degree likely to result in death. Common examples are a person who takes an overdose of pills that is enough to cause a loss of consciousness but not enough to cause death, or a person who cuts himself but not deeply enough to cause a critical loss of blood. Such people may consciously believe they wish to die, but their actions suggest that may not be their genuine desire. Unfortunately teen suicide is far too often an attempt for help for those suffering from adolescent depression. Such individuals may in fact die, even if they did not really intend to, if they miscalculate the severity of the action or mistakenly suppose help will arrive in time to save them.

The clearest examples of cases that do not fall into the former category involve martyrs and suicide. Martyrdom may or may not involve taking one’s own life, but it may still be considered suicide since martyrdom requires that a person willingly choose to die. The self-immolation of Buddhist monks in war protests is considered martyrdom, as are historical examples of people killed for refusing to denounce their religious faith. It might be argued that the latter are not cases of suicide since, all else being equal, the person in question would prefer to live – they are just unwilling to denounce their faith to do so. But a parallel could be drawn to terminally ill people who take own lives. All else being equal, they too would prefer to live. They would just prefer death by suicide over living in pain for only a short while longer.


Popular Textbooks for classes on suicide:


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