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Finding Aid for the Edwin S. Shneidman papers, 1933-2007
385  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Edwin S. Shneidman (1918-2009), Psychologist and Professor of Thanatology, was a leader in suicide research, or suicidology as he called it. His interest in the nature of suicide and the suicidal mental state began in the late 1940s, and he dedicated his life to understanding and prevention of suicide. Shneidman's theory of suicide was based on his idea of psychological pain he termed "psychache." His theories are vastly influential in today's suicide research and prevention. Shneidman founded the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center in 1955, developed a national suicide prevention center program with the NIMH in the 1960s, and authored 20 books and hundreds of articles. In 1987 Shneidman received the American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contributions to Public Service. The collection contains research files on suicide, restricted patient information, correspondence, related audio-visual materials, and a small collection of Herman Melville ephemera.
Background
Edwin S. Shneidman (1918-2009), Psychologist and Professor of Thanatology, was a leader in suicide research, or suicidology as he called it. His interest in the nature of suicide and the suicidal mental state began in 1949. He found hundreds of suicide notes in the Los Angeles County Coroner's office while researching two cases. The rest of his life was dedicated to the understanding and prevention of suicide. Shneidman held appointments at Harvard, the National Institutes of Mental Health, the Center for Advanced Studies of Behavioral Science at Stanford, and at UCLA. His theory of suicide was based on the notion that there is a threshold of mental/emotional pain upon which some individuals come to feel that cessation of life is the one and only solution. Shneidman termed this pain "psychache," and could be researched without resorting to biological or genetic causation. Shneidman concluded that most suicidal individuals, while in the fatal suicidal state, are ambivalent about dying and can be saved. His theories are vastly influential in today's suicide research and prevention.
Extent
37 boxes (37 linear ft.)
Restrictions
Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
Availability
Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.