Suicide by middle-aged men

Hiker admiring the viewMiddle-aged men have the highest suicide rate in the UK but are often not in contact with services. This study will combine multiple sources of information to examine factors related to suicide in this hard-to-reach group, including barriers to accessing services. More specifically, the objectives of the study are:

  • to examine the characteristics of middle-aged men who die by suicide;
  • to determine how frequently suicide is preceded by factors that are more often associated with suicide by men than by women (eg masculinities, socio-economic position, social disconnectedness, reluctance to seek help for both mental and physical health);
  • to examine the role of support services;
  • to make recommendations to strengthen suicide prevention for middle-aged men.

The study is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) and a report will be published in 2020.

Substance misuse services in the UK: a feasibility study

Group therapy sessionThis one-year pilot study commenced in April 2018 and will be investigating the feasibility of establishing an investigation into the frequency and nature of contact with substance misuse services prior to suicide.

More specifically, the objectives of this pilot study are to find out:

  • who provides alcohol and drug treatment services in the UK;
  • whether we can map these service providers across the UK;
  • whether we can identify the rate of contact with substance misuse services prior to suicide;
  • whether we can use the NCISH’s existing methodology in identifying patient suicides to examine contact with substance misuse services prior to suicide.

The study is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).

Reducing suicides: Quality improvement and patient safety

We are working with experts in Quality Improvement at the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) to support 16 Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) to strengthen their local suicide prevention quality improvement plans. This is part of a nationally recognised suicide reduction priority across Department of Health, NHS England, and an overall Mental Health Five Year Forward View recommendation to reduce the suicide rate by 10% by 2020/21.

Together with NCCMH, we are working with Quality Improvement teams in each STP to:

  • review their services against established guidelines and recommendations, and improve the quality of care they offer, using bespoke data provided from the NCISH database, benchmarked against the national average;
  • provide expert knowledge of suicide prevention in three priority areas – mental health secondary care, services for self-harm, and middle-aged men;
  • identify and help STPs adopt and embed national evidence including NCISH “10 ways to improve patient safety” into local quality improvement plans;
  • advise on local data collection and suicide prevention plans.

The study is commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP).

In May 2019, NCISH were winners of a 2019 Making a Difference award for social responsibility.

Video iconClick here for a video explaining our work on suicide prevention.


Blog iconRead a blog on our work with NCCMH to help local areas improve suicide prevention plans, by the NCISH project manager, Dr Pauline Turnbull.

Download iconDownload a summary of how we help local areas improve suicide prevention plans.

Current collaborations and associated projects

We work collaboratively with national and international academic and health colleagues in the area of suicide prevention research. Our ongoing projects are listed below.

Suicide Information Database Cymru (SID-Cymru) and NCISH database linkage study
This collaboration between the NCISH and SID-Cymru (hosted with the Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) Database) will link routinely collected data about all individuals in Wales who died by suicide between 2001 and 2015 with clinical data collected by the NCISH on patients in contact with mental health services within 12 months of their death.
Evaluation of the Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust Zero Suicide initiative
A two-year project working with Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust to evaluate their Zero Suicide initiative.

Video iconWatch a video of Professor Louis Appleby talking about the Zero Suicide initiative

The impact of suicide in the UK
A survey-based study being conducted in collaboration with the Support after Suicide Partnership (SASP) to better understand the impact of suicide on people’s lives, including the support received.

Safety in marginalised groups
One of four research themes being undertaken by the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre in collaboration with NCISH, to further explore suicide and self-harm by primary care patients.

All our research projects

More information on our research projects can be found within the University’s Research Explorer.