|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Social psychology Stress Mental disorder Ethical dilemma Social issue|
Suicide is a social and ethical issue that is surrounded by several controversial questions. Some of questions seek to understand whether suicide is moral, permissible, justifiable, and wrong among others. Despite these questions, many people perceive suicide to be morally incorrect while others view it to be morally correct. Emile Durkheim philosophies indicated that suicide is determined by the intensity of unification as well as regulation within society (Moore 151). Apart from Durkheim, other philosophers who have discussed the ethical perspective of suicide include Immanuel Kant and Aristotle. The religious scholars such as Saint Augustine also discussed the moral perspective of suicide. Suicide is a major healthcare concern in America as the rates of suicides continue to increase significantly in recent years despite some measures being taken to help prevent it. The focus of this paper is to discuss the reasons why suicide is ethically wrong as well as investigate ways suicide is a growing issue in America presently. Suicide is ethically wrong because most religious groups and philosophers do not permit suicide because of its negative impacts on individuals and society. High firearm ownership and availability, lack of proper training of mental healthcare professionals, relationship issues, and mental illness are some of the ways through which suicide rates have risen in America.
Philosophical and Religious Perspective Towards Ethics Of Suicide
To support the claim that suicide is ethically wrong, it is important to consider suicide from theological as well as Kantian perspective. To begin with, the theological framework indicates that suicide is ethically wrong because it brings to an end the life of a person who is a creation of God. Theists believe that God is the giver and owner of a person's life and no human being is allowed to end their life as that would contravene God's authority on humans. For instance, Christianity and Judaism consider suicide unethical because they strongly believe that God owns their lives and that every person is responsible for the choices they make with their lives. Theist also views that God has the right and authority to the end of human life, hence suicide is unethical. The theological framework considers the act of killing oneself morally wrong because it goes against the fifth commandment in the Bible, which prohibits any form of killing thus making suicide ethically wrong. Furthermore, the Catholic share the same perceptions towards the deliberate killing of oneself. For instance, Saint Augustine of hippo compares suicide to committing a homicide (The Conversation). Moreover, committing suicide is ethically wrong because it is an abhorrent and damnable sin (Augustine 28).
Christian forbade suicide based on the justifications against killing oneself that were highlighted by Saint Augustine and Saint Aquinas (Amundsen 72). One of the reasons that Aquinas thought suicide was ethically incorrect was because it goes against the principle of natural self-love, which is essential in the preservation of human beings. Secondly, he argued that the act of killing oneself causes pain to the society from which the person comes from. Notably, when an individual commits suicide, they cause grief to their mothers, fathers, siblings, children, spouses, members of the extended family as well as friends. The grief deprives these individuals their happiness as they mourn the person who has committed suicide thus making the act of ending one's life ethically wrong. When one commits suicide, they leave all their responsibility (providing and taking care of their children and spouse) to their parents, spouses, extended family as well as members of the community. This creates a burden to these family members and the community, which make the act suicide sinful and ethically wrong.
In Islamic teachings, committing suicide is unethical because those who do it will be punished by hellfire (The Conversation). The hadiths view this as a way of continuing the pain such persons caused themselves (The Conversation). Moreover, in Hinduism, suicide is considered ethically wrong because it leads to the killing of the soul, which hinders it from attaining liberation (The Conversation). Buddhists also perceive the act of killing oneself as the ethically incorrect because it leads to more pain and afflictions rather than relieving it. In addition, suicide contravenes the Buddhists moral principle of abstaining from ending one's life thus making the act ethically wrong (The Conversation).
Additionally, Kant perceives the act of committing suicide is ethically wrong because it subverts a person's personhood. Kant considered that when an individual ends their life, it contravenes the moral law since it interferes with the respect of the person and that of other people. Kantian standpoint towards suicide is also based on the responsibilities individuals have towards themselves and other people. Notably, Kant indicates that the act of ending one's life does not match with one's dignity. This implies that suicide taints the value of your life. Notably, the Kantian perspective against suicide was derived from the universalization principle (Brassington 571). This argument is motivated primarily by his willingness to avoid evil. This implies that Kant opposed suicide because he perceived it to cause more sufferings to the individuals than the gains it causes. Furthermore, Kant views that individuals should be motivated to continue with their life by their self-love, which is perceived as the law of nature (Brassington 571). Kant indicates that when an individual's commit suicide; they use their self-love to glorify death which contravenes the law of nature.
According to Cholbi, Kant perceived that humans are rational agents whose life had a higher value to the world compared to animals like oyster and hence individuals have a moral responsibility of taking care of themselves and not end their lives (159). Kant indicated that suicide is ethically wrong because it goes against the primary principle of taking care of themselves as animal beings (159). Furthermore, Kant indicated that suicide reduces the dignity and the value of humans by making humans look like a means to an end (Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies). In addition, he regards suicide to be morally wrong because it goes against the divine will of God with human life (Cholbi 159). God has the sole right to determine the duration of people's existence and hence no individual should kill himself or herself as this will result in premature death which goes against the divine will of God. In addition, Kant equates humans to property owned by God and hence, they do not have the liberty of killing themselves because God has not instructed them to do so.
Aristotle talked about suicide when discussing courage, he indicated that individuals who terminate their lives as a means of avoiding pain and sufferings or other unpleasant situations are cowards. He viewed the act of committing suicide as an act driven by cowardice hence it is ethically wrong. In addition, Aristotle equated suicide to crime since it was illegitimate. He highlighted that suicide contradicts the interests of a country. In Aristotle view on virtues, he indicated that humans require certain merits in life such as good health in order for them to live happily (Van and Liezl 3). He argues that one cannot enjoy such happiness without life and hence he considers the act of suicide morally wrong because it prevents individuals from accomplishing happiness in life (Van and Liezl 3). In addition, killing oneself does not improve or lower their moral virtue. Aristotle highlights that it is morally right to remain alive regardless of the miseries and hardships that one may experience in life provided they have the ability to dominate things that correspond with nature. Aristotle concludes that individuals have a responsibility of remaining alive for their sake as well as for the sake of others. Hence, he finds no reason that can justify suicide thus showing that suicide is ethically incorrect.
Ways Suicide Is a Growing Medical Issue In America
According to the Center for Diseases Control (CDC) reports, acts of people killing themselves in America have been growing significantly for the last two decades by close to 25 percent (Carey). The growth of suicide cases is occurring within different ages and ethnic factions in America (Clarke 3). Research has indicated that suicide occupies the tenth position as one of the reasons united states is experiencing a large number of deaths (Hogan, Michael and Julie 1084). According to CDC reports, close to 45000 people aged between ten years and over died through killing themselves in 2016 (BBC News). Several suicide prevention measures have been adopted to curb the rise of suicide in America. Notably, most of the suicide prevention initiatives are geared towards identifying as well as offering healthcare mentally ill individuals. Despite the efforts to combat mental illness, which is suspected to be the greatest trigger for suicide, the rate of suicide acts keeps rising (CDC).
High firearm ownership and availability is one of the ways through which suicide cases have risen in America (Clarke 49). Research indicates gun ownership and accessibility is one of the ways that many people, who are mentally fit, use to kill themselves in America (Siegel and Emily 1316). Notably, a majority of the people who end their lives using firearms are of male gender (Siegel and Emily 1316). According to Curtin, Sally, Margaret and Holly (4), 55.4 percent of men in the US committed suicides that were gun-related in 2014. Many men are less likely to seek professional help than women to resolve their problems in order to prevent them from committing suicide (Carey). Another way suicide rates have increased in America is through the rising cases of mental illnesses such as depression (Twenge, Jean et al. 3). The research indicates that many people have notable symptoms of psychiatric disorders despite them not being formally diagnosed with mental illness (CDC).
Dysfunctional relationships are also another way through which the rate of suicide has risen in America. According to CDC reports, approximately 42 percent of cases of people taking their lives is linked to relationship issues. Notably, relationships have significant effects on people's spiritual, psychological as well as emotional wellbeing (Center for Supportive Relationships). People consider their personal relationships important as they invest their emotions, time and resources to ensure they are functional. Hence, when these relationships fail to work as expected, this may affect the individual psychologically, emotionally and spiritually which may result in depression (Twenge, Jean et al. 3). This mental illness may trigger the individual to lose hope and commit suicide as a way of ending their emotional and psychological sufferings.
Additionally, the rise in suicide cases in America are contributed by lack of proper methods of training psychological health professionals charged with the responsibility of helping Americans deal with their mental problems to prevent suicides (Hogan, Michael and Julie 1086). Research indicates that several states have not invested in suicide aversion training programs for mental health practitioners as only ten states have adopted these programs in the US (BBC News). According to Hogan et al. (1086), mental healthcare practitioners ought to undergo intensive training in order to boost their confidence, competence as well as their caring attitude in order to offer maximum care to individuals contemplating suicide.
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