Suicide, society and crisis     


  • Dr Julie Gottlieb

    University of Sheffield

Project summary

This project will investigate the links between suicide and political and social crisis. We will investigate whether suicide rates increase in times of socio-political crisis and how suicide epidemics are understood as symptoms of instability.

These questions will be brought to bear on a case study of the suicide epidemic triggered by the fear of war in 1938-9 during the Munich Crisis. Together with key collaborators in the medical humanities and the cross-disciplinary field of suicidology, we will test psychological, psychiatric, sociological and historical theories about how internalisation of dramatic socio-political change affects incidents, methods and attitudes towards suicide. 

Our preliminary findings will offer historical insight into recent suicide epidemics connected to post-traumatic stress disorder among veterans of the Iraq wars, the increase in suicides during the 2008 financial crisis, mental health in refugee communities, and the psychological fallout of Brexit.