Suicide prevention research is crucial in reducing suicide deaths, and their impact. There a range of research centres conducting suicide prevention research in Australia.
University of Melbourne School of Population and Global Health
The Melbourne School of Population and Global Health was established in 2001 as Australia's first School of Population Health, a landmark in the development of inter-collegiate study and research.
The Melbourne School of Population and Global Health is divided into seven centres which includes the Centre for Mental Health led by Professor Jane Pirkis. The Centre for Mental Health aims to improve mental health and mitigate the impact of mental illness at a population level. It does this through high quality, collaborative, interdisciplinary research, academic teaching, professional and community education, and mental health system development. The Centre contributes to evidence-informed mental health policy and practice in Australia and internationally through the work of its four units:
- Global and Cultural Mental Health
- Mental Health Policy and Practice
- Population Mental Health
- Recovery and Social Justice
The Centre’s four units are involved in active and productive collaborations within the University and beyond. These relationships range from not-for-profit agencies like Mind Australia through to international NGOs such as the World Health Organization, and enable us to translate our research into policy and practice.
The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP)
The Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) was appointed as the National Centre of Excellence in 2008. Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health, the aim of the National Centre of Excellence is to provide advice around evidence-based best practices and evaluation in suicide prevention, to support Australian Commonwealth Departments, non-government agencies, academics and community groups in their respective initiatives in the field of suicide prevention.
AISRAP research areas include:
- Developing effective data surveillance systems for suicide and attempted suicide in Queensland
- Undertaking primary research and systematic reviews on suicidal behaviour and disseminate the findings
- Evaluating best practice for interventions to reduce suicidal behaviour at the individual, community, and population levels
- Providing strategic and policy oriented advice to government, communities, organisations, and other interested parties AISRP is located at Griffith University, Mt Gravatt campus, Brisbane.
Centre of Best Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project (ATSISPEP) was established to evaluate the effectiveness of existing suicide prevention services and programs. The Centre of Best practice, as part of University of Western Australia’s School of Indigenous Studies priotirtises research in:
- Formal evaluation
There is a need to formally evaluate the many different suicide prevention programs already operating in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. These programs are a resource for shaping suicide prevention activities into the future except for the lack of their formal evaluation. Such evaluations should be culturally appropriate and should be complemented by an international review of what works in suicide among Indigenous peoples in settler countries.
- Systematic approaches
There is a need for a systematic approach to building the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander wellbeing workforce and to improving specific skills in suicide prevention and supporting social and emotional wellbeing. The approach needs to be cross-sectoral, encompassing workforces in early childhood, education, health care, child protection therapeutic services, police, juvenile justice and other sectors. It requires culturally appropriate resources, tools and principles as well as access to training.
- Increasing the evidence base
There is a need to develop an evidence base of what works to ensure funding is effectively targeted. The Australian Government should be confident that funding allocated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention services and programs will build community resilience and reduce suicide. In particular, this applies to the $17.8m allocated in 2013 for the implementation of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy over four years that is yet to be distributed.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project is being undertaken by the University of Western Australia’s School of Indigenous Studies in collaboration with the Telethon Kids Institute and The Healing Foundation.
Orygen Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health
Orygen’s suicide prevention research program comprises a number of discrete projects that together seek to examine the efficacy, safety and acceptability of interventions specifically designed for at-risk young people. It also has a strong focus on informing and evaluating national, and state-based, suicide prevention policy.
Key questions the suicide prevention research program aims to determine:
- The types of interventions (including new media-based interventions) are effective at reducing suicide risk among young people?
- Safety and acceptability of engaging at-risk young people via the internet and social media.
Collaborating partners of the suicide prevention research program include:
The University of Melbourne, headspace School Support, the Lifeline Foundation, String Theory Health, Community Works, The WHO Western Pacific Regional Office and the Young and Well CRC.
Centre for Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP)
The Centre of Research Excellence in Suicide Prevention (CRESP) aims to generate new research to increase the knowledge base around effective prevention and treatment in suicide prevention. The Centre has four research streams focusing on better delivery of interventions, better knowledge of causes and risks, improved help-seeking, and improved prioritising of funds.
CRESP research streams include:
- Better delivery of interventions
This stream involves testing the effectiveness of interventions delivered to risk groups using the latest developments in e-health technology. E-health interventions can reach high-risk groups through smart phones, tablets or computers.
- Better knowledge of causes and risks
This stream investigates new models of suicide causation using advances in our understanding of the psychology of suicide behaviours; new models to identify social patterns of suicide through geospatial mapping; and investigations of gene-environment interactions (GxE) using new phenotypes.
- Improved help seeking
This stream investigates the effectiveness of potentially useful methods of increasing help-seeking, building on developments in mental health help-seeking. Self-screening, suicide literacy, and lowering stigma will be investigated as potential methods of increasing the rate at which individuals will seek help.
- Improved prioritising of suicide funds
This stream aims to develop guidelines to assist policy makers in determining priorities for funding suicide prevention programs. It involves modelling the effectiveness of particular interventions, their costs and impacts.
- Data surveillance, screening and reporting
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
- Children or young people
- Older persons
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people
- LGBTI People
- Lived experience
- People with an increased risk of suicide
- People who have attempted suicide
- People bereaved by suicide
- People experiencing mental illness
- Regional and remote communities
- Farming communities
- Emergency services
The University of Sydney Brain and Mind Centre
The University of Sydney Brain and Mind Centre strives to produce high-impact research: engaging communities, working with government and industry, and improving the lives of those living with conditions of the brain and mind.
The Brain and Mind Centre is a global leader in research and treatment. The Centre focuses on conditions that affect child development, youth mental health and brain ageing. The Centre aims to understand individual circumstances and to develop solutions that improve the quality of life for both patients and their loved ones.
The Brain and Mind Centre's Early- Career Research Development Initiative invests in early-career researchers in brain and mind sciences to foster personal and professional success.