Skip to content

Kathy McKay

I am an experienced qualitative researcher whose research has focused on how people survive and live well after trauma or other life-changing circumstances using sociological, community-embedded, and lived experience methodologies. In Australia, this research was primarily embedded in suicide prevention work, particularly with women and people living in remote Aboriginal communities.

My PhD explored how women with and without histories of self-harm and suicide attempt perceived and spoke about their bodies. Both before my PhD submission and in the years since, I worked on studies exploring the experiences of people who have attempted suicide, who are bereaved, who remain suicidal and ambiguous about survival, some of whom fit into more than one of these categories. My work has identified considerable unmet support needs among marginalised groups, with direct implications for policy and practice.

Alongside my primary research activities, I am an experienced lecturer in qualitative methodologies, human rights, and mental healthcare pathways, and have supervised several successful PhD and Honours students. I have been employed by the University of Liverpool and based at the Tavistock R&D Unit since I moved to the UK in May 2017.

At present, I work on the qualitative components of the Personalised Programmes for Children (PPC) Study, the PSC Wellbeing Study, and the Longitudinal Outcomes of Gender Identity (LOGiC) in Children Study. These projects have continued to strengthen my interest in understanding how to translate lived experiences into more appropriate support within the healthcare system.