2nd Global Conference: Suicide, Self-harm and Assisted Dying (September 2014: Oxford, United Kingdom)

full name / name of organization: 
Dr. Rob Fisher/ Inter-Disciplinary.Net

2nd Global Conference: Suicide, Self-harm and Assisted Dying

Wednesday 24th September โ€“ Friday 26th September 2014
Mansfield College, Oxford, United Kingdom

Call for Presentations:
This conference brings together discussion of research and practice in three complex areas โ€“ 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. 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 proposals on any of the topics of Suicide, Self-Harm or Assisted Dying from the fields of medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, counseling, psychotherapy, philosophy, ethics, psychology, sociology, history, cultural studies, history, law, creative writing, music, art and literature. We also welcome practitioners, not necessarily to submit formal presentations, but to attend and share their experiences of working within the field of care, counseling and coping with all of the above.

The Steering Group particularly welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. Papers and presentations will also be considered on any related theme.

In order to support and encourage inter-disciplinarity engagement, it is our intention to create the possibility of starting dialogues between the parallel events running during this conference. Delegates are welcome to attend up to two sessions in each of the concurrent conferences. We also propose to produce cross-over sessions between these groups โ€“ and we welcome proposals which deal with the relationship between Gender and Love and Suicide, Self Harm and assisted Dying and Digital Memory.

What to Send:
300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 4th April 2014. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 11th July 2014. Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word or RTF formats with the following information and in this order:

a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: SSA2 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.

Organising Chair
Diana Medlicott: diana@inter-disciplinary.net
Rob Fisher: ssa2@inter-disciplinary.net

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. All proposals accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English and will be eligible for publication in an ISBN eBook. Selected proposals may be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume(s). All publications from the conference will require editors, to be chosen from interested delegates from the conference.

Inter-Disciplinary.Net believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract for presentation.

For further details of the conference, please visit:

Please note: Inter-Disciplinary.Net is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence.