Research from the UK

Interesting to see the ranking of problems

  1. Physical health 36%
  2. Family problems 34%
  3. Illicit drug use 29%
  4. Bereavement 28%
  5. Exam pressure 27%
  6. Excessive drinking 26%
  7. Social isolation 25%
  8. Bullying 22%
  9. Child abuse/neglect 15%
  10. Suicide of family/friend 13%

Is it possible to draw any conclusions? Is there a deadly combination? Is this just a UK thing?

I’m surprised to see physical health so high (acne and asthma), but I’m content that family problem is in second place, as I have always stated that it appears to be one of the most important factors.

Exam pressure is significant, but bullying is relatively low. Of course, I’m chuffed that drug use and drinking features, as Carol Todd said that it wasn’t worth worrying about.

Amanda Todd would have had the family problems, drug use, drinking, possible social isolation (though that seems to be part of the myth), and the bullying. However, I think that Amanda’s case is so extreme as to be unique – there’s no other story quite like Amanda’s.

Of 145 cases, 8 had experienced cyberbullying, which kind of undermines all the hullabaloo about it. Face to face bullying seems to be more prevalent.

Of course, I still find it staggering that the male suicides are 70% of the total. That’s 7 boys for every 3 girls. More than double the amount of girls. However, what is more staggering is that in virtually every media piece, one would think it’s girls that are dropping like flies. It’s extraordinary how suicide reporting nearly always seeks to water down the male problems, usually ending up with the ‘Oh it’s not so serious because more girls attempt suicide and that’s what is bad’. Seriously – try it out for yourselves when doing research.

Note the quote from the Guardian article – ‘ leading to a ‘final straw’ factor such as an exam or relationship breakdown’. It looks like Amanda’s final straw was a relationship breakdown.

I’m not sure that any real conclusions can be drawn from the information because we don’t know the combinations involved and as usual, statistics can be misleading. For instance, if family problems are only present in 34% of suicides, that means that being in a non-problematical family is twice as dangerous.

Anyways. It makes for an interesting read, and it’s encouraging that academics are at last trying to look at the entirety of the suicide problem. Having said that, I would have liked to have seen if there was any effect of poverty/low income in the family.

Additional information.

Having looked more closely, it would appear that there are no clear indicators.

The only standout figure is the 70% male number. This is a figure which carries on through the entire suicide rates for all ages and is, really, the only figure that can’t be argued away.

The LGBT aspect is unclear. If the lowest estimate of 1.5% of people being gay is taken, then the 3% problem rate shown in the statistics shows a disproportionate amount. Taking a more accepted rate of from 6% to 10%, then it doesn’t represent a huge factor.

The self-harm aspect is surely obvious.

What about the rest? No single factor stands out. For every story that shows a history of problems, there’s another one that comes out of nowhere.

There is a conclusion that it is all a cumulative thing. That’s not exactly rocket science, but it in no way covers the whole situation.

Is any of this relevant to the Amanda Todd story? If we take the myth version, then it’s straightforward – a mistake, a horrendous trail of events and circumstances, a tragic conclusion. However, in our hearts we know there was much, much more to it and without the whole truth being put out there nothing will be learned. I’ll say it again – the Amanda Todd story is unique. None of the factors affecting Amanda’s development were unique – taken on their own, each event is not unheard of, though, of course, the webcam activity put a modern spin on it. What is unique about Amanda is the whole story. My own conclusion is that perhaps there was nothing that could have saved her except for major intervention along the lines of 24-hour rehab, but hindsight is always too late.

Some time ago, I left a comment on a thread about suicide saying that the issue is so complex that we will never really understand it. A person tracked me down (I’m still not sure how) and sent me an email.


Are you the Philip Rose who commented on the Guardian article about Robin William’s suicide? If you’re the one, just wanted to say how much I appreciated your words describing the whole suicide and it being such a complex thing.

My dad committed suicide almost 10 years ago and it’s almost impossible to explain to someone who has NO idea how difficult it is to explain why he did it. Part of me(when I was a kid) knew he was going to do it, but thought it was all over and he was 61 and was all alright and then he did it. He was happy and just fine, but but but…So as you and the article said there is no real explanation and it is much more complex than how it is perceived.

If you are that Philip Rose, thank you. If not, thank you again for your time.


Well, at least one person appreciates me.
In the meantime, I have decided to add links to a couple of charities at the top of this blog. I deleted a list of contact numbers because most people can use search engines.
If you want to donate, my strong advice is to donate to charities with a proven record and a long history. In England, my preference is for the Samaritans and ChildLine.


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