Suicide, Society and Crisis. Julie Gottlieb’s Wellcome Trust Seed Funded project
Dr Julie Gottlieb’s Seed Award in Humanities and Social Science will begin in late 2017 supported by The Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation which supports researchers in their efforts to take on big problems, and to spark debates.
The project is entitled ‘Suicide, Society and Crisis’ and will focus on links between suicide and socio-political crisis.
About the project
For over 150 years, instances and rates of suicide have been a hugely symbolic resource for making statements about society. The key goal of this project is to investigate the links between suicide and political and social crisis, at macro and micro levels. Do suicide rates increase in times of socio-political crisis, and, if so, why? How do psychiatrists, pathologists, jurists, coroners, politicians, and the public understand suicide epidemics as symptomatic of instability?
These questions will be brought to bear on a case study of the suicide epidemic triggered by war fear during the Munich Crisis (1938-39), and documented in the Wellcome collections, Coroners records and Press representation. Together with key collaborators in the medical humanities and the crossdisciplinary field of suicidology, in two conferences we will test psychological, psychiatric, sociological and historical theories about how internalisation of dramatic socio-political change effects incidents, methods, and attitudes towards suicide. Our preliminary findings will be disseminated through journal articles, History & Policy, and blogs, offering historical insight into recent suicide epidemics connected to PTSD and veterans of the Iraq Wars, the increase in suicides during the 2008 Financial Crisis, mental health in refugee communities, up to the psychological fallout of Brexit.