Please see below for information about SBRL news

Entrapment and suicidal behaviour

posted by Karen Wetherall   [ updated ]

Professor Rory O'Connor (SBRL) and Professor Gwendolyn Portzky (Ghent University) have contributed an article to a special issue on suicide published in Current Opinion in Psychology.  

The article is available to read in full here.  

The article summarises the latest research into the relationship between entrapment and suicide risk, interpreted within the context of the Integrated Motivational-Volitional Model of Suicidal Behaviour.  As well as identifying the clinical implications, they also highlight the key directions for future research.    

On 13 Reasons Why: Acknowledging those working in suicide prevention

posted May 30, 2017, 9:15 AM by Karen Wetherall

A new blog by SBRL member Katerina Kavalidou on the recent TV programme 13 Reasons Why, and importance of recognising the often distressing work of those who work on suicide helplines.

Blog on the role of empathy in suicide prevention

posted May 30, 2017, 9:11 AM by Karen Wetherall

SBRL member Tiago Zortea recently wrote a blog on the role of empathy in suicide prevention, read it here:

Rory O'Connor elected to Executive Committee of IASP as Vice President

posted May 18, 2017, 8:45 AM by Karen Wetherall   [ updated May 18, 2017, 8:49 AM ]

Congratulations to SBRL's Rory O'Connor who has been elected as one of the Vice Presidents of the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

On his election, Rory commented: "I am delighted to be joining the Board of IASP and I look forward to working with my international colleagues in the years ahead as we continue to work for suicide prevention across the world."

"The timing is good as I finish my term as President and Past President of the International Academy of Suicide Research at the end of 2017 - and I look forward to re-directing my efforts to IASP."

Comment on the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why

posted May 2, 2017, 8:25 AM by Karen Wetherall   [ updated May 9, 2017, 6:35 AM ]

I have been asked a lot recently what I thought about 13 Reasons Why, the Netflix series.  I was reluctant to comment directly until I had a chance to watch it in full.  I now have, having taken advantage of the bank holiday weekend to watch all 13 episodes, pretty much back-to-back, over the past four days.  The series revolves around the suicide of Hannah, a teenage girl, and the 13 reasons why she took her own life.

Needless to say, I did not come to the series blind; I had read many of the reviews; which are mixed, to say the least (with concern growing daily and Netflix adding an extra warning following widespread concern from mental health charities). The potential triggering and copycat effects of the irresponsible reporting of suicide and self-harm are real, especially for those who are already vulnerable. 

I tried to keep an open mind, to view the series through the eyes of a teenager (a tricky task given that my teenage years are but a distant memory) as well as a suicide researcher and someone who has been directly affected by suicide.  My daughter, who is 12, has not watched the series but she mentioned it to me, saying that her peers are talking about it and many of them have watched it.  So, no matter what, the series is out there now, and it isn’t going away.  Arguably, the widespread media attention may make even more people watch it.

I watched the final three episodes last night; they were intense and emotional.  As many others have said, the final episode is truly awful in its depiction of Hannah’s suicide.  Whereas there were breaches of the media suicide reporting guidelines sporadically in the earlier episodes, the actual coverage of Hannah’s suicide is unacceptable, being graphic and gratuitous - and is contrary to all of the guidelines about not providing a detailed depiction of method of death.  I don’t agree with the producers’ justification for it being so graphic.  More generally, the portrayal of Hannah’s suicide as inevitable, that suicide is the only option is also unhelpful and incorrect.  Many viewers may also be left with the message that suicide is driven by vengeful motives, that help-seeking gets you nowhere and that the aftermath of suicide can be somewhat glamorous.   Such portrayals add to the myths and stigma around suicide.

Having said that, the series was engaging, as each episode unfolded, you could see the cumulative effect of Hannah’s life events impacting upon Hannah’s wellbeing and sense of self.  The risk with this narrative, though, is that a vulnerable young person may over-identify with Hannah and think of suicide as an option for them also. 

The series deals with really important issues: including objectification, sexual assault, social disconnection, thwarted love, shame and social perfectionism.  These are all issues we need to discuss more openly.  Therefore, we need to be careful that we do not shut down the discussion around 13 Reasons Why; inadvertently the backlash could be misinterpreted by vulnerable young people as “it is not okay to talk about suicide”.  It is likely that millions of young people have watched the series already – and countless more will do so in the weeks ahead.  Hopefully, the series can be used as a starting point to discuss these difficult issues in a safe and supportive environment (e.g., watching the series with a parent/adult). Also, if you are an adult who is worried about a young person, although it is scary to do so, it is important to ask them how they are, and whether they are suicidal.  It could save their life. There is really good practical guidance about asking about suicide here.   

I’d really encourage anyone affected by 13 Reasons Why to reach out, to speak to a trusted adult; this could be a friend, a family member, a teacher or a counsellor.  There are also helplines, many of which can be accessed for free and 24 hours a day (see Useful Helplines below).

No matter what you are going through, there is help out there; suicide is not the solution.  

Professor Rory O'Connor, Director, Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory 

Update (3rd May 2017)

Here's a great 2 pager from Headspace in Australia on 'How to talk to young people about 13 Reasons Why

Update (9th May 2017)

Rory was also interviewed by Harper's Bazaar about 13 Reasons Why. The article can be found online at Harper's Bazaar UK and Elle UK

Useful Helplines

Samaritans  116 123 (UK and ROI)

Childline 0800 1111 (UK)

Breathing Space 0800 83 85 87

Lifeline (N Ireland) 0808 808 8000

Young Minds 

NHS 24  111

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (USA) 1 800 273 8255


Conference Prize for Laura McDermott

posted Feb 7, 2017, 7:11 AM by Karen Wetherall   [ updated Feb 7, 2017, 7:23 AM ]

Many congratulations to Laura McDermott (and Deborah McQuaid, Adele Dickson & Rory O'Connor) for winning the Conference Poster Prize at the recent British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology Annual Conference in Liverpool #dcpconf

This study, an in-depth qualitative study, was conducted as part of Laura's doctoral training in clinical psychology.  Although a poster cannot do justice to the richness of the interviews, as summarised below, this interpretative phenomenological analysis of the lived experience of suicidal behaviour highlights 3 overarching themes which provide key insights into the suicidal process.  

Keep posted for the findings in full as the study is currently being written up for publication.

Research Job Opportunity to work at SBRL

posted Jan 23, 2017, 1:53 AM by Glasgow Wellbeing

Research Job Opportunity to work with us on an exciting new project entitled 'Safety planning intervention with follow-up telephone contact (SAFETEL) to reduce suicidal behaviour: a development and exploratory study'. 

Rory O’Connor profiled in November’s Lancet Psychiatry

posted Oct 27, 2016, 4:20 AM by Karen Wetherall   [ updated Oct 27, 2016, 5:44 AM ]

In November’s Lancet Psychiatry, Rory O’Connor talks about his research into the suicidal mind as well as how his own personal experiences have influenced his thinking and his career. You can read the article here.

Date for Early Career Researchers' Forum 2017

posted Oct 7, 2016, 8:06 AM by SBRL Glasgow

We are pleased to announce the date for the next ECR Forum - 8th and 9th June 2017.

More details will follow soon: Early Career Researchers' (ECR) Forum 2017

Rory O'Connor interviewed by MQ Research about new research

posted Sep 12, 2016, 10:38 AM by rory o'c

To coincide with World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September, MQ Research, the mental health research charity held a Q&A with Rory O'Connor.

Click here for the Q&A

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