Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group

Established in partnership with government and non-government sectors, the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group is leading numerous initiatives aimed at improving the lives of people in mental distress and at risk of suicide. The strategic purpose of the group is to demonstrate through research and practical example how much consumers, clinicians, policy makers and academic faculty can achieve working together in partnership.

The group's work is inspired by the real world problems of people living with mental distress, the needs of their carers, and the next generation of health professionals willing and able to support recovery with dignity. You can follow the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group on Twitter at @MHResearchUniSA.

New Initiatives

Professional Certificates in Older Persons’ Mental Health

We are pleased to announce the recent development of two professional certificate courses titled Comprehensive Care of Older People and Older People's Mental Health. Developed in partnership with the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network and funded by the Hospital Research Foundation, the certificate courses are designed to provide ongoing professional education of nursing and health professionals working with older persons in South Australia. Each certificate will be designed to enable practitioners from across the state to develop and apply evidence based practice in care of the older person with complex physical and mental health needs, including the behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia. Enrolment of commencing students will commence in 2019.

MATES in Construction PhD Scholarship

Suicide death rates among construction industry workers are higher than general rates in the Australian community. For the first time, the University of South Australia’s Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group in partnership with MATES in Construction Australia, will provide a $36,000 per annum scholarship for a full-time PhD candidate to undertake mixed-methods research into the nature, extent, drivers and contributors of suicidal ideation amongst the Australian construction industry workers.

The successful applicant will be accommodated within the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group at UniSA and will have as their principal supervisor Professor Nicholas Procter, an acknowledged expert nationally and internationally on suicide prevention and self-harm across a range of practice settings. Applicants should have a first class honours degree or Masters by Research with quality research outputs since graduation. The scholarship will be awarded based on a competitive ranking process and be open to suitably qualified graduates in a health related discipline. Applications close 5.00pm Monday November 19, 2018.

For further information, please visit the MATES in Construction PhD Scholarship website.

Awards

National Educational Publishing Award 

We are pleased to announce that the textbook Mental Health: A Person-centred Approach 2e (Cambridge University Press), edited by Prof Nicholas Procter et al, was awarded the Best Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning Resource – Blended Learning at the National Educational Publishing Awards on 20 September 2018.

The book is core reading in several schools of nursing across Australia.

Find out more about Mental Health: A Person-centred Approach 2e at the Cambridge University Press website.

 

In the Media

SA Mental Health Commission Guest Blog

As part of the SA Mental Health Commission’s observance of World Mental Health Week (7-13 October 2018), Professor Nicholas Procter wrote a guest blog for the Commission’s website entitled ‘Let’s ask what’s happening to you…not what’s wrong with you’. The blog post is available to read here.

Drought and mental health media release

Professor Nicholas Procter recently explained how drought and associated feelings of uncertainty can affect the mental health of farmers in Australia. Professor Procter was interviewed on the subject by regional news outlets such as the Whyalla News (SA), Mirage News (NSW), Sunraysia Daily (VIC), 2CME Orange (NSW) and ABC Riverland and ABC South East (SA). Read more here.

Conferences

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group members have contributed to numerous local, national and international conferences in 2018: 

National Nurse Educators’ Conference, Melbourne, Australia

Professor Nicholas Procter delivered a Keynote Address at the National Nurse Educators Conference in Melbourne on 2 May. Prof Procter spoke about the Shared Learning in Clinical Practice philosophy including its origins and background, how it informs research and teaching activity, and what we have learned from the approach over the last 10 years.

International Association for Suicide Prevention Asia Pacific Conference, Bay of Islands, New Zealand

Dr Monika Ferguson, Dr Miriam Posselt and Professor Nicholas Procter delivered papers at the IASP Asia Pacific Conference in New Zealand in May 2018, focussing on two major MHSPRG projects over the last two years:

  • Evaluation of a targeted suicide prevention education program for people working with refugees and asylum seekers
  • The impact of MATES in Construction: A mixed-methods study of a workplace suicide prevention training program in the Australian construction industry (led by Dr Monika Ferguson)

Shared Learning in Clinical Practice, Adelaide, Australia

Shared Learning in Clinical Practice is a policy relevant and service delivery focussed collaboration to promote best practice in mental health and suicide prevention. The strategic purpose of the initiative is to demonstrate through research and practical example, how much consumers, clinicians, policy makers and academic faculty can achieve working together to capture and spread new ideas and know-how in mental health practice and challenge traditional ways of thinking. More than 1500 nurses, consumers, carers and health workers from across South Australia have participated in Shared Learning training and events.

The 10th Shared Learning in Clinical Practice Symposium Connecting with People Suicide Prevention and Mitigation was held at City East on Tuesday, 29 May. 81 people attended and the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive. A summary of the day’s themes and participant feedback were published in Issue 15 of the Shared Learning in Clinical Practice newsletter.

Annette Jones speaking at SLICP 10 Symposium

Annette Jones, Senior Social Worker, Noarlunga Emergency Mental Health Service

John Dawkins MLC speaking at SLICP 10 Symposium

The Hon John Dawkins MLC, Head: Premier's Council for Suicide Prevention

Dr John Brayley speaking at SLICP 10 Symposium

Dr John Brayley, Chief Psychatrist, SA Health

In support of the Shared Learning in Clinical Practice initiative, the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group has published four additional practice development newsletters and supplements designed to assist clinicians to advance fresh thinking at the point of care:

National Suicide Prevention Conference, Adelaide, Australia

MHSPRG members presented five papers at Suicide Prevention Australia’s National Suicide Prevention Conference in Adelaide from 24-26 July, representing a culmination of various projects running from 2015-18:

  • Dr Monika Ferguson: A study of MATES in Construction Suicide Prevention Training in South Australia
  • Dr Monika Ferguson: Multi-Disciplinary Suicide Prevention Training in Rural SA: Improving Attitudes and Confidence
  • Dr Monika Ferguson: Developing an Evaluation Toolkit for Suicide Prevention Networks: A Participatory Action Research Project
  • Prof Nicholas Procter: Evaluation of a Targeted Suicide Prevention Education Program for People Working with Asylum Seekers and Refugees
  • Prof Nicholas Procter & Dr Mark Loughhead: The Effectiveness of Suicide Prevention Education Programs for Nurses

The Mental Health Services (TheMHS) National Conference, Adelaide, Australia

Professor Nicholas Procter presented in two symposia at the TheMHS Conference in August 2018:

  • A national quality improvement program for suicide prevention programs and services – by invitation of Suicide Prevention Australia
  • Teaching Trauma – What are the next generation learning about trauma? What should they be taught? – by invitation of TheMHS

I Am an Activist - Floor Talks for Mental Health Week 2018

Professor Nicholas Procter was invited by the SA Mental Health Commission to give a talk during Mental Health Week 2018 as part of the 'I Am an Activist' series. Held at the Centre of Democracy on 11 October, Professor Procter's talk was entitled 'Changing the story in mental health: Advocating for a person-centred approach'. Professor Procter discussed the work of the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group in helping to build capacity within communities and systems to support recovery with dignity. Find out more about the 'I Am an Activist' series here.

Current Research Projects

Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research Group members are currently involved in the following research and consultancy projects:

Chair in Mental Health (Practice and Research)

  • Investigators: Professor Nicholas Procter
  • Funding: Office of the Chief Psychiatrist, SA Health

Reflective Practice Oral History Project

  • Investigators: Professor Nicholas Procter
  • Funding: Overseas Services to Survivors of Torture and Trauma

Lived Experience Academic

  • Investigators: Dr Mark Loughhead
  • Funding: Mind Australia Inc.

Suicide Prevention Education for NGO Caseworkers (Phase 2) – conducting in-depth investigation into the value of safety planning for clients at risk of suicide.

  • Investigators: Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr Monika Ferguson, Dr Miriam Posselt
  • Funding: Sansom Institute for Health Research

Systematic review of asylum seeker mental health

  • Investigators: Dr Monika Ferguson, Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr Miriam Posselt
  • Funding: HOST International

Help-seeking for mental health concerns by emergency service first responders

  • Investigators: Dr Amy Baker and Professor Nicholas Procter
  • Funding: The Repat Foundation – The Road Home

A mixed-methods evaluation of a suicide mitigation training program for South Australian health professionals and custodial officers

  • Investigators: Emily Blackman, Professor Nicholas Procter, Dr Monika Ferguson and Associate Professor Rachael Vernon
  • Funding: 4MentalHealth

A mixed-methods investigation into the nature, extent and drivers of suicidal ideation amongst Australian construction industry workers

  • Investigators: Professor Nicholas Procter
  • Funding: Mates in Construction Inc.

The Rural and Remote Inpatient Mental Health Unit Artist-in-Residence Program: Practice-based research through art and partnerships in South Australia

  • Investigators: Dr Amy Baker, David Moseley and Professor Nicholas Procter
  • Funding: SA Health Country Health SA LHN and the University of South Australia