Suicide Research


October 2013

On 10 September 2013 SANE held a one day conference at Toynbee Hall in Central London to share the findings of the five-year programme of qualitative suicide research and to discuss how they can be best used to prevent suicide and suicidal distress.

Around 100 people attended the conference, including healthcare professionals, people working and volunteering in the third sector, researchers, and people who have been personally affected by suicide.

SANE's Research Team presented on the findings from our two projects 'The Experience of Suicidal Feelings' and 'A New Focus for Suicide Prevention'. There were also presentations from our project advisors Lee Gunn, Clara Humpston, Dr Christabel Owen and Professor Matthew Ratcliffe.

A 'Q&A' session with a SANE services co-ordinator and a SANE services volunteer looked at the relevance of the research findings for the way in which SANE works to provide emotional support for people who are suicidal, and those caring for them.

In the final session conference delegates were able to give feedback on the day, and on the design and content of the web resource that we are developing, based on the research.

You can download the presentations below:

Outi Benson

Introduction and Background

The Feeling of Being Suicidal

The Process of Suicide as a Process of Exhaustion

Zoë Boden

A Lack of Trust

Susanne Gibson

A Lack of Worth

Clara Humpston

Battling with the Life Instinct

Matthew Ratcliffe

The World of Depression

Lee Gunn

On Trying to Help a Loved One

September 2013





On 10 September 2013 we will be gathering at Toynbee Hall in Central London to share the findings of SANE’s five-year programme of qualitative suicide research and to discuss how they can be best used to prevent suicide and suicidal distress.

As well as presentations from SANE's psychosocial research team, guest speakers include Professor Matthew Ratcliffe (Department of Philosophy, Durham University) and Dr Christabel Owens (University of Exeter Medical School).

The event is intended for anyone with a professional or personal interest in suicide prevention, including:

  • Front line health and emergency service staff
  • Researchers
  • Third sector employees and volunteers
  • Policy makers and health care management
  • Members of the public involved in or who would like to be involved in suicide prevention

During the day there will be presentations on:

  • The experience of being suicidal: “What is it like to feel suicidal?"
  • The process of becoming suicidal, as it is experienced by suicidal people and their ‘significant others’
  • The work of prevention

Following the presentations there will be a practical session when delegates will have the opportunity to explore and give feedback on the resources we have created based on the research.

Registration is now open and places will be allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis. The registration fee is £70 (£30 concessionary if you are self-funded or work for a charity), and includes lunch and refreshments. The event is open to everyone and the fee can be waived for those who would otherwise be unable to attend - please email or telephone for further details.

Please contact us on / 020 7422 5537 for further information or complete and return the registration form to SANE RESEARCH CONFERENCE, SANE, FREEPOST WD528, London E1 1BR. Alternatively, you can register and pay online.

Download the Conference Programme and Travel Directions

SANE's suicide research programme is supported by the BIG Lottery Research Programme and the James Wentworth-Stanley Memorial Fund

February 2013

Our report 'Talking about suicide: confidentiality and anonymity in suicide research' has now been published in February's edition of Nursing Ethics. As well as being of general interest, we hope it will help other researchers think through the ethical issues involved in doing qualitative suicide research, and encourage more of this important work.

We've also written a paper on our findings from The Experience of Suicidal Feelings, to be included in a special addition of the Journal of Consciouness Studies.

January 2013

In January we met with our Advisory Group and presented on the main themes emerging from our suicide prevention research, and on the findings from our focus group with SANE Services, held in September. We also welcomed new advisory group member, London-based Psychiatrist Dominic Dougall.

October 2012

‘Talking about suicide: confidentiality and anonymity in qualitative research’ has been published online in the journal Nursing Ethics, and will appear in the hard copy of the journal shortly. The paper looks at some of the ethical issues involved in undertaking qualitative suicide research, and our experience of negotiating NHS ethics approval for The Experience of Suicidal Feelings.

September 2012

September was a busy month! New researcher Zoë Boden joined the research team.

A group of SANE services staff and volunteers met to discuss the ways in which our research, and that of our colleagues at Durham University might be used to inform the training of volunteers and their work on the helpline and email services.

We gave a presentation on the ethics of suicide research at a conference for medical sociologists at the University of Leicester, and at the end of the month, the team travelled to Durham to give a paper on ‘Suicidal Exhaustion’.

July 2012

Our fundraising department sent an update on the progress of the research to 12,000 of SANE’s supporters.

In this report we quoted one of our participants: “I hope that the answers I give to this questionnaire will help people to try to understand better this often misunderstood illness, so that hopefully people may be able to do something to avoid feeling suicidal, or at least to do something about it.”

Read the research update

June 2012

We held one of our regular advisory group meetings and talked about what we need to do to achieve our aim of communicating our research results to a wide audience.

April 2012

We were able to take part in one of the British Science Museum’s LATES events, which was dedicated to mental health. We produced a poster based on our study data, which provoked some very interesting discussions with visitors to the museum.

March 2012

The team gave a presentation at the University of Osnabruck, Germany, on our analysis of the results of The Experience of Suicidal Feelings.  We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to visit this beautiful town and talk to researchers and clinicians from all over the world.

January 2012

We began the year by continuing with the interviews for both projects. We were also busy with various writing projects, including developing our initial analysis of the results of The Experience of Suicidal Feelings.

Read older research news