Ground-breaking research to examine suicide risk in men
Written By SPFL Trust Media Centre
The SPFL Trust’s partner SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) has today revealed that it is to launch a “ground-breaking” PhD scholarship with the University of Glasgow.
Working with the university’s Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab it is expected to 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 our understanding of suicide risk, there are many gaps in our knowledge and, in particular, our ability to reach the most vulnerable men is limited.
Using a new theoretical model of suicidal behaviour developed by Professor O’Connor, this three year research programme, led by O’Connor will give us a deeper understanding of suicide risk in men.
Scotland Stoke City midfielder Charlie Adam tragically lost his dad, Charlie Snr to suicide in 2012. Now a SAMH supporter, he welcomed the research.
“It was a real blow to me losing my Dad,” he said. “It knocked me big time.
“It’s great that this research will look to understand suicide risk in men. It’s a subject that’s close to my heart.”
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.
The charity has a long history of action on suicide prevention including its award-winning Two Too Many campaign which brought the issue of suicide to mainstream TV.
Presently, the SPFL Trust work with SAMH on the delivery of a major pilot project, The Changing Room, which is taking place at Hibernian over a two-year period. The project is funded by Movember UK.
SAMH chief executive Billy Watson explains that the key part of the research to try and understand why some ultimately chose suicide, while others think about it but do not.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Professor Rory O’Connor, Director of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab explained that there is still limited understanding about the “factors” which lead to suicide. Understanding these could be a game-changer.
“We are incredibly excited to be working with SAMH on this ground-breaking research into male suicide in Scotland,” he said.
“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.”
Professor O’Connor has developed the Integrated Motivational-Volitional model of suicidal behaviour (IMV), a theoretical model of suicidal behaviour.
This tri-partite model maps the final common pathway to suicide and it identifies the factors which are associated with the development of suicidal thoughts and those that determine whether someone acts on such thoughts, i.e., attempts suicide. This model is now recognised as one of the predominant frameworks to understand suicide risk.
“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,” O’Connor explains of the three key areas this work will look at.
“Crucially, we will work with those who are at risk to guide us as we move forward with the research in the next three years.”
The closing date for interested applicants for the PhD scholarship is 15th June 2018: click here for details.
Pictured above: Stoke City & Scotland midfielder Charlie Adam has lent his support to the project. Charlie’s dad died by suicide in 2012.