It Takes a Village to Prevent a Suicide

Queensland Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Conference 2008
Every Life Matters
Cairns Convention Centre
23-25 July 2008

Hosted by the Dr Edward Koch Foundation and the FNQ Suicide Prevention Taskforce

Presenter: David Webb

Title: “It Takes a Village to Prevent a Suicide”


Suicide is best understood as a crisis of the self.  Thinking about suicide in this way, first of all correlates more closely to the lived experience of struggling with suicidal feelings, which is an important but much neglected aspect of suicide research and suicide prevention programs.  It also invites important, though similarly overlooked, questions such as, “Who or what is the self that is in crisis?”  The Integral Model developed by American philosopher Ken Wilber offers a comprehensive, holistic framework for identifying the key elements contributing to our sense of self, which is useful for highlighting the strengths and weaknesses in our current efforts to comprehend and respond effectively to suicidal feelings.  This presentation uses the Integral Model to focus on the importance of community and culture in the formation of our sense of self, for all of us.  The importance of community and culture for suicide prevention will then be discussed, both for interventions with the actively suicidal and for minimising the likelihood of suicidal feelings arising in the first place.