It was with great uncertainty that I embarked on this PhD journey, so in the first instance I must thank Victoria University for creating the possibility and for their constant support on this uncertain journey. My original supervisors, Anne Graham and Dr. Delwyn Goodrick, both from the Psychology department, boldly encouraged and guided me through those early months, including supporting the transition into Social Sciences where my work was more at home.
With this transition, Professor Ron Adams took over as my Principal Supervisor and very soon I had a Candidature Proposal, an upgrade from a Masters to a PhD, a scholarship and, most of all, a belief that I had a project that was both worthwhile and possible. Along with his skill, experience and creativity as a supervisor, I acknowledge now in particular Ron’s courage for taking on such a challenging and sensitive project.
As phenomenology emerged in my research, another dimension appeared in the mostly spiritual conversations I had been enjoying with Dr. Mark Stevenson. Eventually these conversations were formalised and Mark joined my research project as Co-Supervisor, giving it an extra dimension at a critical time.
I hope that I might meet one day Professor Edwin S. Shneidman, the distinguished pioneer of suicidology. Of all the suicidologists whose work I have studied during my research, Prof Shneidman’s vision for the discipline still shines like a beacon that has inspired my own research.
There are many others who have been part of this journey, especially the family and friends who were there for me during the dark years before this research commenced. More recently, new friends and colleagues in the mental health community, especially my fellow consumer-survivors – who I acknowledge more fully in Thinking About Suicide – have inspired, challenged and comforted me though this work.
Needless to say, the responsibility for any arguments, errors, points of view or opinions expressed in this thesis rests entirely with me.