Research Students

Current PhD Students

Kate Deuter

The experience of attempted suicide by older people: Within and between the meaning of protection

The past decade has seen significant contributions to the literature on late life suicidal behaviour. Much of the research reported is devoted to understanding risk factors for suicide in the elderly population; relatively less attention has been paid to examining factors that might be protective against the decision of an elderly person to end their life. This qualitative PhD study aims to explore the meanings that older people attribute to protective factors in relation to their experience of attempted suicide. The central objective related to this aim is to understand the nature and scope of protective factors that give older suicide survivors reasons and experiences to live following a non-fatal suicide attempt.

Supervisors: Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr David Evans, Dr Katrina Jaworski
Contact: Kate.Deuter@unisa.edu.au

Associate Professor Mary Anne Kenny

The Mental Health Consequences of the Fast Track Assessment of Protection Claims: The perspectives of legal professionals and asylum seekers

In December 2014 the Australian government introduced a new “Fast Track Assessment” procedure to manage protection claims made by a group of asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat between August 2012 and December 2013. This research will look at the nature, scope and mental health consequences of legal processing attendant upon asylum seekers applying for protection within the new legal framework. It will examine the impact of the process as perceived by people who are providing asylum seekers with legal support, examining the response to vulnerable people and how they negotiate mental health concerns. The research will also consider the intersection between human rights, mental health and law for those asylum seekers that are impacted upon by this process.

Supervisors: Professor Nicholas Procter, Professor Carol Grech
Contact: mary.kenny@mymail.unisa.edu.au

Dr Conrad Newman

Psychological autopsy and the public sector mental health response to men who die by suicide in South Australia

At least six people per day die of suicide in Australia - five of these are men. This research will examine a unique dataset of recorded dialogues from 15 men aged 18 – 65 years who contacted the South Australian Public Sector Mental Health Triage Service seeking help and subsequently ended their life by suicide. The chain of care for these men from the time of contact with MHT until their death by suicide will be examined to determine what protective action (or lack thereof) was provided to them by public sector mental health services. This research will introduce the “voice” of the decedent and clinicians (through the use of MHT recordings) into the field of suicidology for the first time. This has the potential to inform clinical practice, service provision and policy.

Supervisors: Professor Nicholas Procter, Professor Carol Grech
Contact: conrad.newman@mymail.unisa.edu.au

Chris Patterson

The use of situation awareness by mental health nurses to inform the involuntary admission decision: An ethnographic study

The function of admitting a person to a mental health facility as an involuntary patient is a central component of contemporary mental health legislation and practice in Australia. The admission is commonly based on the decision of a legally recognised health professional, such as an accredited mental health nurse. The decision to admit an individual as an involuntary patient has a direct impact on the person’s health, autonomy and liberty and ultimately their human rights. Knowing the major determinants of the decision-making process is essential to being able to understand future decisions. By identifying how health practitioners identify, use and make meaning of the factors and elements relevant to making a decision, an understanding of the practice can be formed. Considering that such a complexity of factors is used to inform a decision of importance, a framework that enables the investigation of the decision-making process is important. This study posits that the concept of ‘situation awareness’ provides a suitable framework to understand how health practitioners make a decision.

Supervisors: Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr Luisa Toffoli
Contact: christopher.patterson@mymail.unisa.edu.au

Areas of study and research

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