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Evaluation of male suicide prevention initiatives in the UK

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Wednesday, January 29, 2020
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Suicide is a global public health concern, representing the second leading cause of death for people aged 15–29 worldwide (WHO, 2014). Although prevalence of suicidal ideation and behaviour is higher in females, the rate of suicide is significantly higher in males (Beautrais, 2002; Henderson et al., 2005). A recent scoping review of the international literature related to evaluation of male suicide prevention initiatives identified only 22 relevant articles and only three of these were from the UK (Struszczyk, 2019), indicating the paucity of research and evidence in this important area.

The scoping review identified that factors expressed by men as important to them in supporting suicide prevention included support from a trusted and respected individual, preferably in an informal setting, and reframing help-seeking as masculine. Factors identified as important to disrupting the pathway of progress to suicide also included establishing connectedness with others through sharing experiences with other suicide survivors. The review recommended that further research into men’s perceptions and views of suicide and suicide prevention as well as those of their close friends and family was needed as few of the studies included qualitative research methods.

Although under-researched, there are a growing number of non-NHS based initiatives within the UK aimed at supporting mental health in men and in preventing suicide, for example Andy’s Mans Club. Andy’s Man Club is a national charity providing a network of free drop-ins aimed at helping men open up about their mental health problems and reducing stigma. The approach taken appears to address many of the factors identified as important in the scoping view.

The aims of the research would be to identify and evaluate initiatives aimed at addressing men’s mental health including those specifically targeting suicide prevention. A mixed methods approach including qualitative and quantitative research methods would be used.

Specific objectives would be developed with the student but may focus on:

1. Identifying intervention(s) and initiatives focussing on men’s mental health, particularly suicide prevention, delivered in non-NHS settings in the UK through:
a. review of academically published and grey literature, and
b. survey of stakeholders within primary and secondary health care, social care, charities and other relevant sources.
2. Selection of one or more case studies for in-depth assessment.
3. Evaluation of the acceptability of the intervention to service users and providers and exploration of perceptions about benefits and challenges of engaging with the service(s).
4. Quantitative evaluation where possible of uptake and engagement as well as diversity of the population with access to the service(s).

Queries about this project can be directed to Professor Cindy Cooper or Dr Jessica Wright . Cindy’s staff webpage is available here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/scharr/sections/dts/ctru/staff/cindylcooper.

Funding Notes

PLEASE NOTE: This project is also open to other schemes within the University of Sheffield, which are currently being advertised.

These studentships will be 42 months in duration, and include home fee and stipend at UKRI rate.

Candidates must have a first or upper second class honors degree or significant research experience. As this research may involve observations and qualitative work within men's mental health initiatives, the project may be more appropriate for males.


Interested candidates should in the first instance contact Prof Cindy Cooper ([email protected])

How to apply:
Please complete a University Postgraduate Research Application form available here: www.shef.ac.uk/postgraduate/research/apply

Please clearly state the prospective main supervisor in the respective box and select 'School of Health and Related Research' as the department.

Deadline for applications is 5pm on Wednesday 29th January 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. Interviews are scheduled to be held on Tuesday 25th February 2020.

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