Ever wondered why some people get overwhelmed and preoccupied with suicidal ideations? Is it possible to predict and identify suicidal tendencies? Are suicide and impulsiveness related? What should you do if someone tells you that they are considering suicide? Well, a suicidologist has answers to many such questions.
A suicidologist is a professional who is an expert in the field of suicidology- the scientific study of suicidal behaviour, its causes and prevention. There are multiple different disciplines involved with suicidology, the two chief fields being sociology and psychology. A suicidologist has a defined set of ethical standards and they transmit, share and use their comprehension of the suicidal phenomena for the common good.
Unlike other professions such as psychology, cardiology and criminology etc. neither an advanced degree nor specific training is mandatory to be a suicidologist. However, one is expected to have core knowledge, skills and competency to deal with the vulnerability and responsibility that come along with the profession.
Here are some of the responsibilities of a Suicidologist:
To understand the study of suicidology and suicide as a human phenomenon.
To research on the scientific study of suicidal behaviour, suicide prevention and the causes of suicide. To promote training and research in Suicidology.
To work with a growing pool of activists, scholars, providers, and people with lived experiences.
To compile, evaluate, develop and disseminate valid information about suicidal behaviours to the public.
To foster suicide prevention, intervention and postvention to the public.
To support those whose life has been affected by self-harm or suicide.
To look at risk and seek opportunities for change in society.
To actively work towards reducing and preventing the number of suicide attempts.
To be a Suicidologist, one needs to be an adept professional with the right attitude and skill set. Provided below are the minimum educational qualifications, skills and work experience that candidates need to have in order to be a successful Suicidologist.
Since separate undergraduate or postgraduate suicidology courses are not available in India, aspirants can go for an undergraduate and a postgraduate degree in Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. To dig deeper in the study of suicidology, an individual can also pursue a short-term course in suicide prevention.
Certificate Course in Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training ECHO
M.Phil in Counselling Psychology
Diploma in Clinical Psychiatry
PG Diploma in Psychological Counselling
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Here are some of the job roles that Suicidologists can consider in order to fulfil their purpose of promoting suicide awareness and prevention methods.
Industrial or Organizational Psychologist
After finishing the educational qualification and while researching on Suicidology, candidates can either choose to work individually or with a firm. Here are some of the employment sectors or industries that offer job opportunities to students after completing education in Suicidology.
Work with Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), campaigns, and social causes for suicidal prevention.
Work in the educational sector as a counsellor or psychologist and ensure that the mental health of staff and students is top-notch.
Work in rehabilitation centres as counsellors and mental health experts.
Work in government agencies and universities as research psychologists.
Work in suicide prevention centres and as experts in suicide prevention hotlines and call centres.
Work as a freelancer and provide individual counselling to clients and NGOs.
With the increase in the number of mental illnesses and suicides, a Suicidologist is required in many different arenas. Provided below are the top recruiters for Suicidologist:
Schools, Colleges and Universities
Hospital and Clinics
Outpatient Care Centers
Individual and Family Services
Suicide Prevention Resource Centers
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals
A suicidologist or an expert with an interest to promote suicide awareness and prevention can extract an average salary of around INR 4,04,743 per annum. Given below is the pay scale that skillful individuals may encounter during their career as suicidologists.
Starting Annual Salary (INR)
Mid-Level Annual Salary (INR)
Senior-Level Annual Salary (INR)
Note: The above-mentioned figure is an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company.
Here are some books and study materials that provide a clear understanding of suicidology and help candidates become successful Suicidologists:
Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind by Edwin S. Shneidman
Suicidology: A Comprehensive Biopsychosocial Perspective by Ronald W. Maris
Evidence-Based Practice in Suicidology: A Source Book by Maurizio Pompili and Roberto Tatarelli
Critical Suicidology: Transforming Suicide Research and Prevention for the 21st Century by Jennifer White (Editor), Ian Marsh (Editor), Michael J. Kral (Editor), Jonathan Morris (Editor)
Comprehending Suicide Landmarks in 20th-Century Suicidology by Edwin S. Shneidman
Comprehensive Textbook of Suicidology by Alan Berman and Ronald W. Maris
A suicidologist saves life by preventing suicide and spreads awareness about the same. It is an extremely satisfying and rewarding job.
With the right potential and skills, a Suicidologist can extract high salaries.
Candidates can work independently as well as with a recruiter as per his/her convenience.
After a point, the job may get emotionally and physically exhausting.
A suicidologist may have to work during odd hours which may create a disbalance between the professional and personal life.
Candidates need to prove their mettle time and again to be successful in this field.