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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Consistent definitions of suicide and the full spectrum of suicidal phenomena are critical for suicide prevention and the advancement of knowledge across disciplines. Historically, the absences of conceptual clarity, uniform nomenclature, and standardized assessment methods have blended definitional boundaries between suicidal and nonsuicidal self-injurious behavior and suicidal ideation. The range of suicidal behavior was restricted to suicide and suicide attempts, and it did not include or distinguish between these and other types of suicidal behavior now known to be related to suicide. The most significant advancement in the classification of suicide includes partial or “nonzero” intent to die as both a sufficient and necessary criterion, which may be stated or inferred from the self-injury lethality or surrounding circumstances. These key developments should inform the adoption of an internationally accepted diagnostic system for naming and classifying suicidal behavior and ideation, which in turn should guide medical, legal, and scientific communication.

Keywords: suicide, nomenclature, classification, suicidal behavior, suicidal ideation, self-injurious behavior, nonsuicidal self-injurious behavior, diagnostic systems

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