The first major study of suicidal motivations has found that “many motivations believed to play important roles in suicide are relatively uncommon”:
For example, suicide attempts were rarely the result of impulsivity, a cry for help, or an effort to solve a financial or practical problem. Of all motivations for suicide, the two found to be universal in all participants were hopelessness and overwhelming emotional pain. The study also finds that suicide attempts influenced by social factors — such as efforts to elicit help or influence others — generally exhibited a less pronounced intent to die, and were carried out with a greater chance of rescue. In contrast, suicide attempts motivated by internal factors — such as hopelessness and unbearable pain — were performed with the greatest desire to die.
Recently, Stephen Fry revealed that he attempted suicide last year:
‘You may say, “How can anybody who’s got it all be so stupid as to want to end it all?” That’s the point, there is no “why?” That’s not the right question. There is no reason. If there was reason for it, you could reason someone out of it. … Sometimes it’s the expression I imagine on my mother and father’s face – both of whom are alive and happy – that stops me. But there are other occasions when I can’t stop myself, or at least I feel I can’t.’