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Project Title

Adapting Digital Social Prescribing for Suicide Bereavement Support

Research Focus:

Chronic Illness and Palliative care


Funder & Dates

Medical Research Council, Proximity to Discovery Funding

Principal Investigator or Primary Supervisor (if PhD project)

Dr Karen Galway

Co-Investigators or additional supervisors

Dr Sharon Mallon, Lecturer (Mental Health) Open University, Dr Paul Best, Lecturer in

Social Work, QUB, Dr Olinda Santin, Lecturer in Health Sciences, QUB


Research Fellow(s) or PhD Student

Dr Trisha Forbes PDRA

Name & Institution of Collaborators

Dr Alexandra Pitman (University College London)

Prof Gerry Leavey (Ulster University)

Name of External Partner Organisations

Elemental Software

Description of Project



When a person dies by suicide, friends and relatives experience a complex and potentially devastating period of grief and adjustment, involving high risk of developing mental health problems including suicidal ideation.  Research indicates that supporting people in this situation is difficult for a variety of reasons including identification of needs, help seeking complexities and access to appropriate care. 


Researchers based in the Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation at Queen’s University Belfast and the Open University have teamed up with a leading software company, Elemental Software who provide digital solutions for social prescribing. We will use a co-production model of engagement to consult with support providers and people bereaved by suicide, in order to explore the potential of digital social prescribing to improve support for people bereaved by suicide.  Social prescribing is a way of connecting resources, people, programmes, partners and strategies, so that we can support those in need.  It embraces an holistic approach, providing options that are not usually available through the traditional medical and psychological models of support.


The seed funding will be used to explore this issue and seek further funding to test a system that could help connect people to services after a suicide bereavement.


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Any other relevant information

Funding granted from the MRC Proximity to Discovery Award