Discursive of Tunbridge Wells

Podcast: Zero Suicide (an idea whose time has not, and should not, come)


Podcast: Zero Suicide (an idea whose time has not, and should not, come)

This week John McGowan discusses whether trying to eliminate suicide entirely is a possibility or even a helpful aim.

This week’s podcast is recording of a public lecture given in our new base in Tunbridge Wells. In this talk (delivered in December 2017) our Academic Director John McGowan considers the ‘Zero Suicide’ initiative and the strengths and weaknesses of assertive suicide prevention approaches. As well as the talk, the recording features a range of contributions from the audience.


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As well as that you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook by searching for @CCCUApppsy. You can follow John on Twitter @drjohnmcgowan

Links to things talked about on this show:

The original DOH Suicide Prevention Strategy from 2012.

The updating of the Department of Health’s Suicide Prevention Strategy.

The British Psychological Society Suicide Prevention guidance.


Some resources on the Zero Suicide initiative in the USA and in the UK.

A recent paper from the British Journal of Psychiatry Bulletin considering the degree to which suicides can be predicted.

Two research projects by recent graduates from our training scheme. Both look at health staff working with the risk of suicide:

Crowley, Sarah (2015) Recognising and responding to suicide risk in a community mental health setting. D.Clin.Psych. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.

Nalletamby, Lucie (2015) The discursive construction of ‘suicide’ and the effects for clinical practice. D.Clin.Psych. thesis, Canterbury Christ Church University.


*Please note that John said that the vast majority of people who are counted as suicides in national statistics have never been in contact with mental health services. This was based on figures from the National Confidential Enquiry into Suicide and Homicide 2017 which suggest that approaching 3/4 of all recorded suicides occurred with people who had not been in touch with mental health services. However, the methodology used  to establish contact with mental health services in this study only goes back 12 months. The number of people who had been in touch with services outside this time period is harder to establish. Thanks to Dan Beale Cocks for pointing this out.


If you need to talk about difficult or suicidal feelings you  can contact The Samaritans here.


Please note The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the contributors employing organisations.


Producer: John McGowan

Assistant Producer: Saul McGowan

Music: http://www.bensound.com/


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