Glasgow academic elected world lead on suicide prevention

Professor Rory O’Connor from the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing has been elected President of the International Academy of Suicide Research.

Rory O'ConnorProf O’Connor is the first UK-based holder of this prestigious post which he will hold for the next two years.

The University of Glasgow’s Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory, which Prof O’Connor leads, is Scotland’s leading research group looking at suicide and self-harm. Its primary aim is to conduct high quality and innovative research and promote collaboration between suicide and self-harm researchers and experts working in the social, psychological and biomedical sciences.

Although suicide rates have started to rise recently in England, in Scotland rates have dropped by 18% in the past 10 years. 

One million people are estimated to die every year by suicide across the world, which equates to one every 40 seconds. It is estimated that more people die by suicide each year than by murder and war combined.

Prof O’Connor said: “It is an honour to be elected President of the International Academy of Suicide Research. This is testament to Glasgow’s strength in this area of research and the impact that our work here is having on the field of suicide research.

“There are still so many gaps in our knowledge about the psychological journey of those people who die by suicide or who self-harm. Compared to other major causes of death like heart disease or stroke, research into suicide is chronically under-funded.  Funding for such research is an urgent priority if we are to develop effective treatments to combat suicide and self-harm in the future.”

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First published: 14 January 2014

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