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PSME449 Introduction to Suicidology and Suicide Prevention

A broad introduction to the complex issue of suicide and approaches to suicide prevention for a range of students and professional groups.

As a community, suicide affects us all. Building your knowledge and understanding of this phenomenon will enable you to develop a greater appreciation of the complexities and contemporary issues within suicidology.

This distance-taught paper, the only one of its kind in New Zealand, is ideal for people studying or working in areas such as mental health, social services, policy, research, education, justice and more.

Paper title Introduction to Suicidology and Suicide Prevention
Paper code PSME449
Subject Psychological Medicine
EFTS 0.2500
Points 30 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2019
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $2,801.50
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $9,869.50

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PSME 429
Limited to
Limited to: PGCertHealSc, PGDipHealSc, MHealSc

This is not a clinical skills paper and will not equip you with specific skills in suicide prevention such as the assessment or treatment of suicidal behaviour.

The paper may be taken as a stand-alone paper or it can be combined with other papers as part of a postgraduate qualification in Health Science.

Teaching staff

Sarah McKenzie, Tess Soulie and Sunny Collings will be leading the paper with input from nationwide experts in the field.


A variety of general texts and journals relevant to the paper will be available via the library.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the phenomena of suicide and suicidal behaviours as they relate to individuals, communities and populations.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of theoretical, historical, cultural and social frameworks as they relate to suicide and suicidal behaviours.
  3. Describe and be familiar with research approaches relating to suicide, and their strengths and limitations from a range of perspectives.
  4. Have an appreciation of the nature of politics, discourses and contemporary issues within suicide prevention.


For more information on this paper and further details on how to apply, please email


Enrolments for this paper require departmental permission. View more information about departmental permission.

Teaching Arrangements

Online course with two 2 day compulsory on-campus block courses. First block course – 24th and 25th July 2019, second block course – 21st and 22nd August 2019

Teaching will be led by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Suicide and Mental Health Research Group and include multiple perspectives.

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Not offered in 2019

Teaching method
This paper is taught through Distance Learning
Learning management system