A community psychology approach to suicide research in Brighton
Johnson, K., Jones, Helen and Walker, Carl (2010) A community psychology approach to suicide research in Brighton In: British Psychological Society Annual Conference, 14-16 April 2010, Stratford-upon-Avon.
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Purpose: This paper uses two examples of participatory suicide research with stakeholders in Brighton to highlight the way that community psychology values and methodologies have been used to address the psychosocial needs of community residents. Background: Community university partnership, and particularly community psychology, has grown in recent years at Brighton University and the university has become an exemplar of good practice in the field. Although the south-east of England has one of the lowest suicide rates in the UK, Brighton and Hove City PCT has the second highest suicide rate in the country. Our community-oriented suicide research programme has allowed a nuanced approach to the lived experiences of service users in Brighton. Methods: This paper will be delivered by representatives from both the university and Brighton and Hove Mind. Two recent suicide research projects are compared and contrasted to highlight the different ways that community partnership can allow both the transfer of knowledge and an orientation toward participation and social change. Project one used participatory action research with two local LGBT groups at risk of suicide-related behaviours. Focus groups allowed an understanding of survival strategies, identity formation and suicidal distress of the LGBT community. Project two involved a multidisciplinary collaboration between services users, council representatives and community organisations to administer and evaluate a local public suicide awareness campaign. Conclusions: This paper uses both outcome and process narratives to explore the importance of community psychology in suicide research. We explore the negotiations, challenges and limitations of such an approach in generating social change and knowledge transfer.
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