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Dr Anne-Laura van Harmelen awarded grant for suicide prevention research

Lucy Cavendish Fellow Dr Anne-Laura Van Harmelen has been awarded a grant of £550,000 by mental health charity MQ to research suicide prevention amongst young people.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally. More young people die by suicide than from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, AIDS, birth defects, respiratory infections and diseases, and interpersonal violence. In addition to suicide deaths, 16% of high school students report seriously considering suicide each year, and 8% make one or more suicide attempts. Despite these alarming statistics, little is known about factors that make youth vulnerable to suicide. Anne-Laura aims to identify these factors, with the help of a team of researchers from across the world (Drs Lianne Schmaal, Hilary Blumberg, Randy Auerbach, Mario Alvarez and Nick Allen).

Her research project is called ‘Help Overcome and Prevent the Emergence of Suicide’ (HOPES). It aims to develop a model to predict who is at risk of suicide by analysing data on suicidal behaviour and traits in young people from across the world to identify specific, universal risk-factors. The project is expected to lead to improvements in clinical care and suicide prevention.

Commenting, MQ Chief Executive, Cynthia Joyce said:

“The combined potential impact of our Brighter Futures programme is profound. Depression and suicide are currently among the least understood – and most devastating –  issues in young people’s mental health. 

Together, these projects are designed to transform our understanding of how mental illness develops, how we can identify which young people are most at risk, and how we can create badly needed better treatments for young people worldwide."

Anne-Laura said:

“I am very excited to begin this project and feel grateful in both MQ and the team for their trust in me.”

Full press release can be read here.

Expert Q&A with Anne Laura Here

Posted on 19/10/2017

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