Tuesday, June 05, 2012

SCHOLARSHIP: PhD Understanding LGBT suicide and suicidal risk

Understanding LGBT suicide and suicidal risk

Population based studies have established a consensus that LGBT people are at greater risk of suicidal distress and mental health problems as a result of prejudice, discrimination and social stigma.

Nevertheless, understanding of the relationship between transgender, sexuality and suicide is patchy underpinned by wide ranging concerns about methodological weaknesses, competing theoretical frameworks and the risk of re-pathologisation of those who take up non-normative identities. We are offering the opportunity for a doctoral student to develop an innovative project that relates to understandings of non-normative gender and sexuality and suicide and that will have an impact on local and national policy and/or practice. It is likely that this project will focus on either 1) analysis of the relationship between expressions of suicidal distress and completed suicide; 2) analysis of how changing policy and laws related to LGBT lives have impacted on queer subjectivities and suicidal distress; or 3) development of a participatory action research project on suicide and evaluation of its transformative impact for local LGBT people. It is expected that the project will be informed by feminist, queer and affect theories and show significant methodological innovation.
You will be supervised by Dr Katherine Johnson and Dr Hannah Frith. Katherine Johnson has published widely on issues of self, identity and embodiment in relationship to transgender, sexuality and mental health. Her recent forthcoming publications consider the role of shame in constructions of queer subjectivity and suicide, and promote the idea of ‘affective activism’ as a sociopolitical practice for reconfiguring gender and sexuality relations ‘after identity’. She has well-established research links with a local LGBT mental health charity, MindOut, and the project might expand on these.  Hannah Frith works in the field of social, critical and feminist psychology with an interest in sexuality, disability, health and appearance. Both supervisors are also recognized for their work on qualitative research and the use of participatory visual methods.
Johnson, K. (2007) Researching suicidal distress with LGBT communities in the UK: Methodological and ethical reflections on a community-university knowledge exchange project, The Australian Community Psychologists, Vol. 19 (1): 112-123.
Johnson , K. (2011) Visualising mental health with an LGBT community group: Method, process, theory. In P.Reavey (Ed), Visual methods in psychology: using and interpreting images in qualitative research. Hove and New York: Psychology Press, Routledge.
Walker, C., Johnson, K. & Cunningham, L. (eds) (2012) Community Psychology and the socio-economics of mental distress: International perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Contact the Doctoral College on +44 (0)1273 641107 or by email.

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