Suicide and self-harm are major public health concerns with complex aetiologies which encompass a multifaceted array of risk and protective factors.
Indeed, Northern Ireland now has the highest suicide rate in the UK.
Recent approaches to understanding suicide risk have conceptualised suicide as a behaviour, such that an individual makes a decision to take their own life.
Therefore an appreciation of the psychology of the suicidal mind is central to suicide prevention.
Another key challenge is that our understanding of the factors that determine behavioural enaction (i.e., which individuals with suicidal thoughts will act on these thoughts) is limited.
Although a comprehensive understanding of these determinants of suicidality requires an appreciation of biological, psychological and social perspectives, the focus in this presentation is primarily on the psychological determinants of self-harm and suicide.
To address these issues, Professor O'Connor will describe the Integrated Motivational–Volitional (IMV) Model of Suicidal Behaviour (O’Connor, 2011; O’Connor & Kirtley, 2018) which derives from health, social and clinical psychological theory.
This tripartite model maps the relationship between background factors and trigger events, and the development of suicidal ideation/intent through to suicidal behaviour.
Professor O'Connor will also present a selection of clinical, experimental and intervention studies to illustrate how psychological factors increase suicide risk and what can be done to ameliorate such risk.