The deserving and the undeserving suicidal

Kate Swaffer has produced what I believe is a seminal post which so eloquently situates where we are at and where we still need to go in dementia care. The must read entitled ‘let us live better with dementia’ can be found at . In it she broaches the topic of how people with dementia can arrive at thoughts of suicide. I was recently engaged in a conversation on that very subject with a friend living with dementia. It also reminded me of an earlier blog of my own which highlights the phenomenon of what I called the deserving and the undeserving suicidal. So here it is again.


I remember some early classes on sociology in health care as a student nurse and our lecturer spoke about the deserving and the undeserving poor – We see this in the strivers v scivers debate currently prevalent as elections approach.  When leafing through a Sunday paper last year, I was upset to find a further divide showing its ugly head. On one page there was the article about the Afghan veteran soldier who had taken his own life, having struggled to cope back home. He had posted a you tube message before his suicide. The article focussed on how awful the lack of support is for our boys once back home – that this was unnecessary; that we should strive (there’s that word) to ensure that we provide better mental health support; that we cannot let this happen; that if this particular soldier had had that support we could have perhaps helped him through…

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