New PhD scholarship to understand male suicide risk launched in Glasgow

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) and the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab (University of Glasgow) have today announced a PhD scholarship which will deliver ground-breaking research focusing specifically on men to understand suicide risk.  

Suicide is the leading cause of death in young and middle-aged men in most Western countries including the UK.  Last year in Scotland, an average of two people died by suicide everyday; that’s 728 deaths with 75 percent of these being men.

Although there have been many advances in understanding of suicide risk, there are many gaps in knowledge and, in particular, the ability to reach the most vulnerable men is limited*.

Using a new theoretical model of suicidal behaviour developed by Professor Rory O’Connor, Director of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab, this three year research programme will provide a deeper understanding of suicide risk in men.

Believed to be the most in-depth study of its kind in UK/Scotland, this research is fully funded by SAMH, one of the largest providers of suicide prevention interventions and training in Scotland.

Billy Watson, Chief Executive at SAMH said: “Over the course of the last year SAMH and the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab have partnered together to create this research that will enhance our understanding of suicide. 

“We know men are particularly at risk, especially men in their middle-years. We need a deeper understanding of why some risk factors contribute to men completing suicide, compared with those, who, with the same risks factors don’t.

“We know that suicide devastates and we hope that this research will provide a greater understanding to enhance our future work on suicide prevention.”

Professor Rory O’Connor, Director of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab said: “We are incredibly excited to be working with SAMH on this ground-breaking research into male suicide in Scotland.  Despite the stark reality that suicide is the leading cause of death in men under 50, we still do not fully understand the complex set of factors that account for this harrowing reality.  Suicide devastates families up and down the country every day; we need to do more to prevent these tragedies”. 

“Over the next 3 years, we are planning a series of studies to understand suicide risk in men.  To do so, we aim to investigate the clinical, psychological and social factors that increase suicide risk, including the challenges and expectations on men and what can be done to tackle this major public health concern. Crucially, we will work with those who are risk to guide us as we move forward with the research in the next 3 years.”

The closing date for interested applicants for the PhD scholarship is 15th June 2018. 

Samaritans is a 24-hour helpline offering emotional support for anyone feeling down, distressed or struggling to cope. Call them on 116 123 or email: [email protected]

*Hawton K, Saunders KE, O’Connor RC. Self-harm and suicide in adolescents. Lancet 2012; 379(9834): 2373-82.