Here is a video of a recent suicide attempt by a man driving a car.
My next journal article in the field of suicidology address this very kind of suicide attempt. I examine the 7 types of suicide decisions for the thinking behind different motives people have for suicide. One of the decisions is
2. If things get too bad I will kill myself and others.
In this article I look at suicide and homicide. Whilst on the surface appearing quite disparate psychologically there is significant similarities between the two phenomena. In this way suicide is seen as simply the homicide of self. Both involve killing a person, for some to transition across both is understandable from a psychological perspective.
This comes from from the article
Another field of study has been epidemiological studies of homicide-suicide. These are people who commit homicide and shortly afterwards commit suicide. It is widely believed that such homicide-suicide has more in common with suicide than homicide, Saleva, Putkonen, Kiviruusu and Lonnqvist (2007), Milroy (1995) and Rosenbaum (1990). In essence homicide-suicide is seen as a subtype of suicide. The individual is already considering a suicide attempt and by murdering another first, they back themselves further into corner. If they do this, things have suddenly and dramatically changed such that their life will never be the same again. If they do not kill self and are caught they know they will spend a very long time in prison or may even receive the death penalty. If they are not caught they know they will be pursued with great vigour for a long period of time and so a normal life is no longer possible for them. A type of blurring of the lines between homicide and suicide. A person who is already feeling suicidal makes their life much much worse by committing a homicide which in turn furthers drives their suicidality. The aggressive urges against self and others become intertwined. (end quote)
As you can imagine and see from the video this got very wide press coverage. Indeed they report the man who made the suicide attempt in his car had suffered significant financial problems and was living in a caravan park. It is reported he wrote recently in his facebook, “All went to s…. up here”. “Long story lost $$$$ any way of living down Busselton now starting over again a very bad year so far”.
This fits with the suicide decision I reported above. Things had got very bad for him and he decided to suicide but he has also made a homicidal decision.
This however does create a problem for the press coverage. Reporting suicides can result in a copy cat effect. In high profile suicides there can be a spike in suicides after the reporting of them. Others who are suicidal and have made a similar suicide decision as the one reported above could now be encouraged to do a similar type of suicide attempt. Encouraged to drive in a more reckless fashion which opens more possibility of a suicidal/ homicidal outcome.