J Korean Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry.  2021 Jan;32(1):3-9. 10.5765/jkacap.200033.

A Multifactorial Interpretation of a Teenager’s Suicide: Based on Krystal’s Death in Casual Vacancy

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Yeoju Soonyoung Hospital, Yeoju, Korea


It is hard to accumulate research data on adolescents’ suicide, because friends and family of the suicide completers might be reluctant to share the experience. To overcome the lack of information on adolescent suicide victims, the authors examined the risk and protective factors for adolescents’ suicide from a character in a novel.
Krystal, an adolescent female in the novel The Casual Vacancy by Joanne Rowling, failed to overcome her unfortunate circumstances and committed suicide. The authors analysed Krystal’s case based on the guideline for patients with suicidal behaviours to address the complicated situation of her death.
Krystal grew up in a poor and dangerous environment. Despite the environmental hardships, she developed ego maturation with affectionate help from Mr Fairbrother, an assistant coach of the Girls’ Rowing Team and a parish councillor. The sudden passing away of Mr Fairbrother brought on a crisis of identity for Krystal. In addition, a villainous character raped her and her brother drowned to death, which brought her great sorrow. She felt helpless and committed suicide.
In spite of many risk factors for suicide, Krystal was able to keep her life with a few protective factors, a younger brother in the home, and a sense of responsibility for the family. After the loss of her brother, however, she collapsed in a moment. Krystal’s suicide might not only be a personal choice but a breakdown of the social protection system for the youth.


Suicide; Psychological autopsy; The Casual Vacancy; Adolescent; Protective factor; Literacy; Postvention
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