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Suicide and Self-Harm Research North West is a collaboration between The University of Central Lancashire, Liverpool John Moores University, The University of Manchester, the Manchester Self-Harm Project, the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust and the NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs).
Our mission statement
Suicide and Self-Harm Research North West, or SSHaRe NoW, was launched in June 2017 with the aim of bringing together a wide range of stakeholders with a shared interested in suicide and self-harm research, from across the north west of England. We hope to encourage and support links and collaboration between researchers, clinicians, health services, third sector organisations, service users, and the public, by raising awareness of high quality suicide and self-harm research and initiatives in the local area. We also want to create a positive collaborative space where we can share knowledge, expertise, and experience of all kinds, to help identify and develop key areas of research that may help improve services and reduce suicide and self-harm in the future.
Our aims for the next five years are to develop a shared set of priorities concerning research around suicide and self-harm in the North West, and particularly to:
- Provide an environment for researchers to share knowledge on the work they are involved in;
- Create an opportunity for building on previous study findings;
- Have the space to hold meetings to discuss ideas for future research;
- Coproduce funding/grant applications;
- Promote the benefits of how public and patients may be involved in research;
- Enable the promotion of interactive materials developed for local initiatives to a wider audience.
The Founders of SSHaRe NoW
Dr Pooja Saini
Dr Pooja Saini joined Liverpool John Moores University, School of Natural Sciences and Psychology as a Lecturer in Psychology in January 2018. Dr Saini qualified in Psychology from University of Leicester in 2001, MSc in Addictive Behaviour at The University of Liverpool in 2003 and PhD in 2015 at The University of Manchester on the role of primary care in suicide prevention.
Pooja's research is focused at an individual-level, community-level and whole systems approach on risk management and decision-making processes for individuals, professionals, and service providers within forensic, clinical and non-clinical settings. The main research interests are in suicide and self-harm prevention particularly in young people, cancer prevention in Black and Asian Ethnic Minority Groups, reduction of health inequalities and coproduction.
A key activity is public engagement and she aims to incorporate this in all aspects of my teaching and research. Dr Saini collaborates with key mental health charities (e.g., JWSMF, PAPYRUS, YASP, Samaritans, YPAS), Public Health Departments and is a member of the Suicide Prevention Operational Group and Support after Suicide Task Group which aims to integrate suicide prevention and postvention initiatives in Cheshire and Merseyside across mental health charities, NHS trusts, public health departments, transport networks, and local councillors.
Dr Peter Taylor
Dr Peter Taylor currently works as a clinical lecturer at the University of Manchester. He completed both his PhD and clinical training at the University, before working for three years at the University of Liverpool as a lecturer in clinical psychology. He returned to work at Manchester in September 2016.
Dr Taylors research focuses on the psychosocial mechanisms underlying suicide and self-harm. This work includes investigations of the affective processes surrounding self-harm and suicide (specific mood states like shame and emotional instability more generally), traits related to risk of self-harm (e.g., impulsivity), and the process by which individuals negotiate help-seeking in relation to their self-harm.
A second research interest concerns psychological interventions for psychosis. This has included work concerning Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) for people with experiences of psychosis.
Dr Kathryn Gardner
Dr Kathryn Gardner completed her PhD in Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire in 2008, and since then has been a Lecturer and now Senior Lecturer within the School of Psychology.
Kathryn’s research focuses mainly on self-harm (e.g., functions and management of, associated processes and outcomes), and personality disorder (e.g., emotion dysregulation, social cognition, service user and therapist experiences of therapy). Given Kathryn’s research expertise and passion for mental health research, in 2015 Kathryn worked with colleagues and stakeholders (students, experts-by-experience and carers) to develop UCLan’s MSc Applied Clinical Psychology which saw its first intake of students in September 2016.
Kathryn continues to work as the Programme Director/Course Leader for this MSc, alongside a team of HCPC Registered Clinical Psychologists, expert academics in specialist fields, clinicians across a wide range of specialities, and experts-by-experience.
Dr Caroline Clements
Dr Caroline Clements has worked in suicide and self-harm research for over 10 years, based at the Centre for Mental Health and Safety at The University of Manchester. After studying for a BSc and MRes in Psychology, Caroline took up a research post at the Centre for Suicide Prevention in 2006. She is currently Project Manager of The Manchester Self-Harm Project, and a coinvestigator on The Multicentre Study of Self-Harm in England. She completed her PhD at The University of Manchester in 2017 which examined suicide and self-harm in people with bipolar disorder.
Carolines research interests are broadly in the epidemiology, psychology, and prevention of suicide and self-harm. She has specific interests in suicidal behaviour in people with psychiatric diagnoses, self-harm in high risk groups such as those experiencing homelessness and men in midlife, as well as self-harm in children and young people, and the impact of social media and the internet on suicidal behaviour.
Caroline is also passionate about raising awareness of self-harm to reduce stigma and improve care received by people who self-harm. She is regularly invited to present work on self-harm at national and international conferences, as well as at local suicide prevention groups and other organisations. Caroline recently helped develop and launch an online learning resource about the management of self-harm aimed at staff in emergency departments, and has had input into clinician and patient resources being developed by Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Jennifer Chopra
Jennifer completed my BSc in Psychology with First Class Honours at Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland in 2008. Following this, she was funded by the ESRC to undertake a MSc in Psychological Research Methods, and a PhD within the Psychology Department at the University of Stirling. Jennifer's postgraduate work was supervised by Professor Rory O'Connor and Professor Ronan O'Carroll. On completion of her PhD in 2012, she gained a Research Fellow position at the University of Hertfordshire, before joining Liverpool John Moores in 2014 as a Lecturer in Forensic Psychology.
Jennifer's postgraduate work focused on the relationship between intimate partner abuse and suicide risk. It specifically aimed to investigate the roles of a range of factors in increasing or decreasing suicidality in victims and survivors of intimate partner abuse.
Jennifer's research in the area of intimate partner abuse aims to look at the full spectrum of abusive behaviours, including coercive control, and she is particularly interested in the long term impact of partner abuse. In addition, Jennifer researches stalking, domestic homicides, suicide risk and prevention.
Jennifer has a number of current projects, including a review of domestic homicides in the UK, a study looking at the role of digital/online abuse in domestic abuse, a one year evaluation of a suicide crisis centre for men in Liverpool, and a Delphi study into suicide and self harm research priorities.
Cameron Latham is an Expert-by-Experience (EBE) with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. He has had many years of experience of self-injury during the course of his recovery and is passionate about utilising this lived experience to give an alternative perspective on self-injury.
His initial background is in Physics (BSc.(Hons) University of Liverpool, Physics for New Technology) and Archaeological Geophysics (MSc, University of Liverpool). He was worked on many varied archaeological sites, in particular, the Wroxeter-Hinterland Project. His career then took him into many major companies as a Project/Programme Manager.
After a failed initial suicide attempt, he has spent the last 15 years recovering, during which he became actively involved in delivery of the KUF Training Programme, developed for the Department of Health and Ministry of Justice. In 2011, he co-presented to panel in London for the 2011 Nursing Times Awards, which was subsequently won by Dr. Gary Lamph.
As second author on a research paper "Evaluating the impact of a nationally recognised training programme that aims to raise the awareness and challenge attitudes of personality disorder in multi-agency partners" in The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Cameron started to become more involved in academic research again.
Cameron is now Managing Director of a growing service-user led business, delivering mental-health training to a wide number of clients across the UK, with an ethos based around solely employing people with lived experience delivering training based upon knowledge gleaned during recovery as to how to improve outcomes in working with people with poor mental health (in particular Personality Disorder).
Cameron is also involved in teaching at the University of Manchester and the supervision of various pieces of research, in addition to providing a lived-experience component to research proposals and design.
He works closely with his partner Jessica, is a Trustee of Wigan Family Welfare and now runs three mental health drop-in cafes (Three Little Birds) with volunteer facilitators.
In his spare time he plays guitar in a band, and teaches guitar at a local community centre.
The Third Annual Conference
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic our third annual conference went online as a webinar onon 17th June 2020 between 14:00 and 16:00
The aim of this webinar was to provide an opportunity to learn more about ongoing work or research around self-harm and suicide in local communities, and to ask questions about self-harm in the community.
Our Conference on Friday 8th March 2019
Embedding research into suicide and self-harm initiatives in the North West
Friday 8th March, 930am to 4:30pm
Liverpool John Moore's Univeristy
James Parsons Lower Lecture Theatre
Talks on suicide and self-harm research and prevention, with a focus on patient and public involvement.
Keynote Speaker: Professor Ellen Townsend
Self-Harm Research Group, the University of Nottingham
Jane Boland - centre Manager, James Place Non-Clinical Suicidal Crisis Service for Men; previously suicide prevention Lead, Mersey Care.
Dr Rajan Nathan - Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist/Director of Research, Development & Clinical Effectiveness, The Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Trust.
Cameron Latham - Expert by experience.
Dr Pooja Saini - Senior Lecturer and Suicide/Self-Harm Researcher
Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
Informal workship and networking hosted by the Founders of SSHaRe NoW: Dr Pooja Saini, Dr Peter Taylor, Dr Kathryn Gardner, Dr Caroline Clements, Dr Jennifer McLaughlin and Cameron Latham.
SSHaRE NoW – Delphi Study
As part of the ongoing work of the Suicide & Self-Harm Research North West group (SSHaRE NoW - led by researchers from Liverpool, Manchester and UCLAN) we are carrying out a Delphi exercise to find consensus of research priorities in the North West.
The methodology known as a Delphi Study is named after the ancient Greek temple at Delphi dedicated to Apollo, the god of divine inspirations. Originally proposed based on people's conjecture, judgment, and inspiration Delphi Studies gradually took the academic form for the scientific study of experts' opinions.
This Delphi Study being conducted by the Suicide and Self-Harm Research North West (SSHaRE NoW) group is taking opinions of a potential 148 people identified to have expertise in the field of suicide and self-harm service provision in the North West of England. These experts include clinicians, academic researchers, local authority workers, 3rd/voluntary sector workers, carers, students, experts by experience and others.
The reasons for conducting this study in the North West of England
The rates of suicide and self-harm in the North West of England are higher than other parts of the country, and there are isolated groups or individuals who have expertise around understanding and preventing self-harm and suicide. There are also a large number of 3rd sector and voluntary organisations in the North West conducting innovative work with those who struggle with self-harm and suicide (e.g., James’ Place, Life Rooms, Liverpool Light, Papyrus, No secrets, MIND, CaLM, AMPARO, Hub of Hope).
Success in understanding and effectively tackling self-harm and suicide will rely on the various groups and organisations working effectively together.
Our methodology so far
In June 2017 we held the first SSHaRE NoW conference where we held thirty minute discussions relating to suicide and self-harm in the following populations:
- Children and Young People
- Self-harm and Suicidal Ideation in the community
- Crisis Intervention Services.
The discussions explored the main issues within these populations, and looked at the gaps in our understanding, what we could do differently, and how we should begin designing future work.
The seven facilitators then reviewed the outcomes and conducted an analysis on the themes that emerged from all of the discussion tables. From this they designed an online template questionnaire for which they obtained ethical approval from LJMU Research Ethics Committee.
To be eligible for inclusion in the study, participants met one of the following criteria:
- Conducts research in the area of suicide and self-harm;
- Experience of working in a 3rd sector organisation that supports or helps individuals struggling with suicide or self-harm (including services set-up for carers);
- Experience of working as a clinician within the NHS supporting or helping individuals with difficulties around suicide or self-harm; or
- Personal experience of difficulties associated with suicide and self-harm.
The of the participants identified, 21% were clinicians, 33% were academics or researchers, 7% worked for local authorities, 9 percent worked in the 3rd or voluntary sectors, 2% were carers, 5% were students and a further 23% did not fall into any single category. Of the initial cohort 19% had a history of self-harm.
Engagement of participants
148 potential participants were sent an email outlining the study and inviting them to take part. The email included a participant information sheet, information about the study, a link to an online survey, and a consent box to tick before taking part. We required the informed consent of participants in order to complete the 2nd and 3rd round of the Delphi exercise.
After each round participants were informed of the ranking of each research priority and asked to repeat the process.
Of the 148 potential participants 30% engaged in round one of whom 74% were female and 19% had a history of self-harm. Of these 50% engaged in round two of whom again 74% were female but the proportion with a history of self-harm increased to 30%.
Round 3 is ongoing.
The results so far
The first and second rounds of the study are now complete, and from these rounds we have been able to identify the top 3 priorities in working with some key populations:
- 59% of participants in round two thought it is important to understand the role of trauma and difficult life events and how they impact risk of suicide and/or self-harm in offender populations.
- 55% of participants in round two thought it is important to explore the training and support for people working with offenders (e.g. level of training within particular settings, or training needs, supervision, debriefing), and to identify any areas for improvement.
- 50% of participants in round two thought it is important to understand the barriers to accessing health/mental health services for offenders who self-harm or attempt suicide, as well as understanding what might help offenders to access these services.
Children and Young People
- 73% of participants in round two thought it is important to understand different ways to build resilience in children and young people, to help reduce self-harm and suicide.
- 68% of participants in round two thought it is important to evaluate different interventions (e.g. talking therapies, support groups, mobile/computer applications) for children and young people who self-harm to find out what is most effective.
- 64% of participants in round two thought it is important to understand the positive and negative impact of social media on self-harm and suicide, and how social media might be used to help children and young people in distress.
Crisis Intervention Services
- 77% of participants in round two thought it is important to evaluate existing services to find out what works well, what services or interventions are having the greatest impact, and if they are cost effective.
- 68% of participants in round two thought it is important to understand how health care and other support services work together and interact to support people who are at risk for self-harm and suicide.
- 59% of participants in round two thought it is important to understand the relationship between lack of staff/resources/ funding in health care services and the level of demand for people who self-harm.
Self-harm and Suicidal Ideation in the Community
- 77% of participants in round two thought it is important that training is provided to professionals who might be in contact with people who self-harm (e.g. GPs, nurses, teachers, and staff at community centres).
- 64% of participants in round two thought more research is needed on the effectiveness of postvention services in reducing self-harm, suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, blame and grief intensity.
- 59% of participants in round two thought it is important to understand the functions and mechanisms behind self-harm (e.g. what causes people to self-harm), and to ensure that mental health services understand these causes.
What next for the SSHaRE NoW Delphi exercise?
The third round of collecting opinions for the study is now underway; we will share the results on this SSHaRE NoW webpage and in our newsletter and will feed the specific results back to the relevant research groups once the study is complete. The full study will be written up for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.