• Thinking About Suicide: Contemplating and comprehending the urge to die

Thinking About Suicide: Contemplating and comprehending the urge to die

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ISBN 978 1 906254 28 5 (2010)
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The literature of suicidology has studiously ignored the voice of those who actually experience suicidal feelings. David Webb suggests this is no accidental oversight but a very deliberate and systematic exclusion of this critically important first-person knowledge. The only thing that is banished with even more vigour from suicidology is mention of the spiritual wisdom that set the author free of his persistent urge to die.

Webb rejects the dominant medical model that claims suicide is caused by some notional mental illness. Thinking About Suicide calls for the broad community conversation on suicide that is required to bring it out of the closet as a public health issue.

Foreword: Valerie Walkerdine

Preface: Let’s Talk About Suicide

1. My Suicidal Career and Other Myths
2. What is it Like to be Suicidal?
3. The Drug Addiction Detour
4. The ‘Mental Illness’ Circus
Interlude: Who Am I?
5. Spiritual Self-Enquiry
6. The Willingness to Surrender
7. This Is Enough

Further Reading


… lucid, clear, and compelling … Mr Webb rightly refers to, and competently critiques, our existing mental health ‘circus’ as it relates to suicide … clearly original and significant as a scholarly contribution to our knowledge of the topic. David Jobes, Professor of Psychology, The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

I have never before read anything relating to suicide that speaks of suicidal feelings as being worthy of respect. The possibility that I may actually be able to honour these feelings is a totally new concept, one which has proven to be a catalyst for change and personal growth. Josephine Williams, suicide-attempt survivor, Australia.  

The first line of this book's preface says: 'If you've picked up this book because you are currently thinking about suicide for yourself then you are the first and most precious audience that I seek'. You won't be surprised to know then that David is himself a survivor of suicide attemps, motivated like so many by wanting to pass on what he's learned through his own experiences... If like me you've ever felt so bad about yourself that you thought the only solution was to take your life, then this book is ultimately a very liberating read, if at times a hard one. If you work with people who have suicidal feelings, then I think it's essential reading. Terry Simpson, reviewed in 'Your Voice' No. 73, Autumn 2014.


David Webb

In 2006 David Webb completed the world’s first PhD on suicide by someone who has attempted it. Prior to his PhD David worked in the computer industry as a software developer and university lecturer. He has been a board member of the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry and currently works part-time as a research/policy officer with the Australia Federation of Disability Organisations. You can visit his website at www.thinkingaboutsuicide.org

An excellent interview with David Webb on Australia's 'All in the Mind' is available for download if you follow this link: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/allinthemind/stories/2010/3080264.htm

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David Webb