Suicide and self-harm are major problems in the UK, with approximately 6000 suicides per year and well over 200,000 episodes of self-harm (intentional self-poisoning or self-injury).

Highest rates of suicide are in men in middle and late middle age, while self-harm is more common in females that males and is particularly common in young people, many in their teens.

The work of the Centre for Suicide Research is aimed at increasing knowledge directly relevant to prevention of suicide and self-harm. The research programme includes epidemiological studies and investigation of the full range of the causes of suicidal behaviour.

We are especially interested in identification of effective methods of treating people after suicide attempts and development of suicide prevention initiatives. We are also concerned with improving care for bereaved relatives and other people affected by suicide.

Current projects include leading studies of self-harm at multiple hospital sites in England, a collaborative NIHR-funded programme grant on studies relevant to prevention of self-harm and suicide, qualitative research on the effect of a young person’s self-harm on their parents, and identification of use of new methods of suicide.

We also produce research-based practical resources on topics related to self-harm and suicide such as a guide for local authorities on how to respond to suicide clusters, help for people bereaved by suicide, assessment of suicide risk in people with depression and guidance for parents and carers who have discovered a young person’s self-harm.

Professor Keith Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford

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Page last reviewed: 21 September, 2021