1st Global Conference
Suicide, Self-Harm and Assisted Death
Monday 4th November 2013 – Wednesday 6th November 2013
Call for Presentations
This conference brings together discussion of research and practice in three complex areas – Suicide, Self-Harm and Assisted Dying.
Over one million people worldwide die from suicide each year. The incidence of completed suicide is very much higher in males than females, for all age groups and in most societies where recording occurs. A notable exception is China where female suicides equal or exceed male rates.
Risk factors highlighted in research into suicide have included poverty, abuse, gender, age, masculinity, sexuality, mental illness, situational trauma, substance misuse, homelessness, unemployment and other adverse life events. Completed suicides leave in their wake a long-lasting trail of guilt, shame and pain.
Self-harm is a direct and deliberate physically damaging form of bodily harm which may or may not be intentionally life-threatening. It is often repetitive in nature and usually socially unacceptable.
Self-harm is a risk factor in subsequent attempted suicide. Patients who deliberately harm themselves have a risk of suicide some 100 times greater than that of the general population. However it may occur as an event or pattern of behaviour with no relation to suicidal intent. The UK is estimated to have one of the highest rates of deliberate self-harm in Europe, at 400 per 100,000 population (Self-poisoning and self-injury in adults, Clinical Medicine, 2002). It is hard, however, to arrive at definitive rates since self-harm is often practised secretly. Like suicide, it carries considerable stigma.
Assisted dying or assisted suicide describes the set of actions by which an individual helps another person voluntarily to bring about his or her own death. This is a separate issue from euthanasia, which is not a topic within the remit of this Call for Papers. Assistance may include the provision of means, such as drugs, or other actions. There is currently intense public debate globally about a person’s right to achieve death in this way, with complex legal, religious, cultural, ethical and practical issues involved. Assisted suicide is legal in several jurisdictions, including Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands and some American states.
Societal responses to suicide have ranged right across the spectrum, from encouragement or acceptance to outright criminalisation of the act. Suicide, assisting suicide and attempting suicide have historically been considered crimes in many societies, often because of prevailing religious doctrines, and yet some cultures and sub-cultures have advocated suicide. Currently there are on-line sites that encourage or facilitate it. There is a wide range of counselling and other therapeutic interventions and treatments associated with suicidal and self-harming states of mind, and these therapeutic approaches are also used to help deal with the painful aftermath of a completed suicide. Art and music therapies have been used to help sufferers deal with suicidal states of mind. Suicide and self-destruction have been fertile grounds for literature and art, producing a rich and poignant body of creative work.
In England and Wales, to focus on one jurisdiction only, suicide itself was decriminalised as recently as 1961. Assisting suicide, however, remains a crime. There is pressure to change the law following some test cases, so as to permit assisted dying. This presents modern medicine, law and ethics with particular complexities since it runs counter to several core principles in those bodies of knowledge and practice.
We welcome abstracts on any of the topics of Suicide, Self-Harm or Assisted Dying from the fields of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, counselling, psychotherapy, philosophy, ethics, psychology, sociology, history, cultural studies, history, law, creative writing, music, art and literature.
The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers and presentations will also be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts or presentation proposals should be submitted by Friday 14th June 2013. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper, if appropriate, should be submitted by Friday 13th September 2013.
What to Send:
300 word abstracts or presentation proposals should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract.
E-mails should be entitled: SSA1 Abstract Submission.
Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend.
NDiana Medlicott: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Fisher: email@example.com
The conference is part of the Probing the Boundaries programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
For further details of the conference, please visit:
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