Oxford University Centre for Suicide Research

The Centre for Suicide Research (CSR) at Oxford University was established in 1998. It continues a line of research on self-harm and suicide that began in the early 1970s. Evidence produced at the CSR has been central to national policy on treatment and prevention of self-harm and suicide and support of people bereaved by suicide. The CSR also leads the Multicentre Study of Self-harm in England http://cebmh.warne.ox.ac.uk/csr/mcm/

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

The CSR produces evidence-based reports on a wide range of topics relevant to suicide prevention and treatment of people who have self-harmed. With regard to self-harm these include systematic reviews of attitudes of clinical staff to self-harm patients, experiences of self-harm patients of services, psychiatric disorders in self-harm patients and effectiveness of treatments for self-harm patients.

We have had a particular focus on reduction of access to means for suicide. This includes producing evidence that has influenced national policies in relation to pack sizes of paracetamol and the withdrawal of co-proxamol, both of which initiatives we have evaluated over several years. With international colleagues we are also investigating the impact of safer storage of pesticides in reducing use of these for suicide in Sri Lanka.

With regard to support of people bereaved by suicide, together with an advisory group we developed Help is at Hand. We hope to participate in the updating of this resource. We have developed a Healthtalkonline website for parents and carers of young people who have self-harmed http://healthtalkonline.org/peoples-experiences/mental-health/self-harm-parents-experiences/topics and will be developing related guides for parents and carers and for clinicians working with self-harm patients.

We have developed training for police in assessment and management of people at risk of suicide. We hope this training may be rolled out nationally. We have also developed a clinical guide for clinicians assessing risk of suicide in people with depression: http://cebmh.warne.ox.ac.uk/csr/clinicalguide/index.html
We collaborate closely with research colleagues in other centres elsewhere in the UK and abroad. One example is through the Multicentre Study of Self-harm in England. Another is through the organisation of the Annual British Isles Research Workshop on Self-harm and Suicide. We make our research data readily available through published reports and our website http://cebmh.warne.ox.ac.uk/csr/.

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What are your current priorities?

Further develop the evidence base on self-harm in England

– We plan to extend knowledge of the epidemiology and outcome of self-harm in England across the age span, include in relation to risk of suicide. We also plan to assess the economic costs of self-harm and preventative initiatives

To update the evidence on interventions for self-harm patients that will help guide clinical services.

– We will finalise a large-scale update of our Cochrane Review and disseminate the findings.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

Guides for parents and carers of young people who have self-harmed

We plan to develop and pilot these resources, with the help of advisory groups

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