Critical Suicidology: Transforming Suicide Research and Prevention for the 21st Century

Critical Suicidology: Transforming Suicide Research and Prevention for the 21st Century

  • academic
  • health

Globally, suicides account for a significant number of premature deaths every year. Traditional approaches to research and prevention are not working for everyone, but why is this? And what can be done about it? In Critical Suicidology, a team of international scholars, practitioners, and people directly affected by suicide argue that mainstream research models obscure the social, political, and historical contexts that contribute to human suffering. Combining personal experience with theoretical insights, this rich volume challenges the current orthodoxy governing suicide prevention in the West. Going beyond critique, it proposes alternative approaches that are creative, socially just, and culturally responsive.

This book is a must-read for practitioners, policy makers, and researchers working in mental health services and related disciplines and for anyone who wants to make suicide prevention not simply a goal but an achievement.


Jonathan Morris, editor

Jonathan Morris is a sessional instructor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, Canada. Morris’s research has focused on using poststructural and narrative ideas in an up-close analysis of youth suicide-prevention practice. More recently, in his work focused on social policy and mental health, he has infused narrative practices into policy making spaces in an effort to call attention to the dominant discursive frames that underpin current policy directions.

Michael J. Kral, editor

Michael J. Kral is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at Wayne State University, Detroit, a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and a fellow of the American Psychological Association. Kral has co-edited three books. He researches in the area of Indigenous suicide and suicide prevention, youth resilience, culture change, and kinship, and theory and method in psychology and allied disciplines.

Ian Walsh, editor

Ian Marsh is a senior lecturer and researcher at Canterbury Christ Church University in England, the academic lead for the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Group, and a volunteer for the Samaritans. He is also the author of Suicide: Foucault, History and Truth. For many years, Marsh has facilitated suicide awareness and prevention training in a number of settings, including prisons, schools, and mental health units.

Jennifer White, editor

Jennifer White is the director and an associate professor in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria, Canada. She co-edited (with Alan Pence) the book Child and Youth Care: Critical Perspectives on Pedagogy, Practice, and Policy. She has written numerous articles, reports, and practice guidelines for practitioners on the topic of youth suicide prevention. In 2004, she received the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention Service Award in recognition for her leadership and contributions to the practice of youth suicide prevention.


  • This powerful book presents a convincing and rigorous critique of the limitations of the dominant biomedical paradigm. By bringing together scholars, practitioners, and those who have been affected by suicide, it offers new ways to think about suicide that do not pathologize distress or inequality. Quite simply, it encourages people to live. - Elizabeth McDermott, senior lecturer, Faculty of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: UBC Press



rights available: World, excl. English

Additional Information

number of pages: 298

publication date: 12/02/2015

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book