The last psychological step towards attempted suicide is always set in conditions of emotional turmoil, an emotional crisis. Essential in crisis is the absence of any positive outlook towards the future. People completing suicide do not expect any improvement of their situation in the near or distant future. People attempting suicide without fatal outcome indicate that their future is hopeless, but they still seem to have a faint hope, however ambiguous this may be, that the future might improve. In this way attempted suicide may be conceived as a self-invented form of crisis intervention. Studies into the cognitive functioning of suicide attempters indeed show a global and stable form of negative anticipations and absence of positive anticipations towards the future, probably as a consequence of disturbances in their autobiographical memory, i.e. an overgeneral memory.(33,) Whenever these anticipations remain overgenerally negative after an attempt, it is likely that hopelessness will increase and that this behaviour will occur again. (34>

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