Showcasing cutting edge research in suicide prevention at the SSRU 2023 Conference | News and Events

Showcasing cutting edge research in suicide prevention at the SSRU 2023 Conference

Over 100 people gathered at The Curve in Prestwich – both in person and virtually - to attend the Suicide, Risk and Safety Research Unit (SSRU) 2023 Annual Conference on Tuesday 12 September.  

Following on from World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, it was fantastic to see so many people from a variety of professional backgrounds, curious to find out more about Greater Manchester Mental Health (GMMH) NHS Foundation Trust’s latest research in understanding, treating and preventing suicidal experiences and self-harm.  

                                  Photo of speaker and audience at the SSR Conference

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, you can access support by calling 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Helpline at 0800 953 0285 or visiting  

  • Paula Duxbury and Eiran Kerry presented initial findings from the Mental Imagery for Suicidality in Students Trial (MISST), which looks at the effectiveness of Broad-Minded Affective Coping (BMAC) therapy across universities in the north of England. In the space of six sessions, students struggling with recent suicidal thoughts or behaviours are guided through BMAC techniques, using mental imagery to strengthen their ability to recall and relive positive memories. The understanding is that the more a person accesses a negative thought path over time, the easier it is to access those suicidal thoughts, however by making positive thought ‘paths’ stronger, the more readily available it is when a person begins to feel low.  

  • Isabel Adeyemi presented the case for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) in treating those with experiences of self-harm. CAT is a talking therapy that is already widely used in the NHS that transforms patterns of relating to others and oneself – but little research exists to date for it being tested as a specific treatment for self-harm. An ongoing trial – known as RELATE (Relational Approach to Treating Self-Harm) – is examining the use of an eight-session CAT programme for adults who self-harm at both GMMH and Rotherham, Doncaster & South Humber NHS Trust. At present, the trial is ongoing, and the team is still seeking to recruit more service users to participate - via referral or self-referral - until February next year. You can get in touch with the RELATE team via

  • Lana Bojanić presented her studies into the Suicide Related Internet Use (SRIU) by Patients Under the Care of Mental Health Services as part of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health (NCISH). The studies examined the role SRIU plays in service users who are at risk of a suicide attempt, as well as doctors’ and therapists’ understanding of how to talk to patients about internet use. Discussions at the conference looked at the role artificial intelligence could play in the future when examining SRIU.  

  • Trish Gooding showcased the findings of CARMS (Cognitive Approaches to Combatting Suicidality) study which tested the efficacy of a new psychological talking therapy known as Cognitive Behavioural Suicide Prevention for psychosis (CBSPp). The trial involved 250 participants who experience or have experienced both psychosis and suicidal experiences, and over the course of their treatment examined their perceptions of 1) social support, 2) their ability to regulate emotions and 3) their ability to solve problems. The findings from CARMS indicate a significant decrease in suicidal ideation with the added CBSPp therapy, with further decrease for every additional session of therapy undertaken. Dr Gooding specifically thanked the “CARMers” – a group of service users who have lived experience of suicidal ideation and psychosis and provided invaluable insight for the study.  

  • Tessa Birch and Rose Hutton shared their experiences working on a study in the male prisoner population – a group in which the suicide rate is between 5 and 8 times higher than in the general public. The Prevention of Suicide in Prisons: Enhancing Access to Therapy (PROSPECT) is researching the effectiveness of CBSP talking therapy over five years, involving 360 male prisoners in four Category B and C prisons in the North West and Yorkshire. The team shared their intent to not only provide evidence of CBSP’s impact, but to create an implementation guide for mental health workers in prisons at the end of the study.  

  • Paula Duxbury welcomed members of the Suicide, Risk and Safety Research Group (SSRG), a patient participation group which regularly meets to reflect on participant experiences of a research trial and what can be changed or improved. Bibi, Zach and Gareth told the audience about their role in helping researchers understand the lived experiences of service users, and the value that patients found in taking part in mental health research. The presentation underlined the essential part that services users play in all mental health research – and this important feedback loop ensures that studies are accessible, easy to understand and relevant for those participating.   

                                                Photo of notebook

Overall, the SSRU Conference demonstrated the innovative research that is ongoing at GMMH to improve our mental health services in the Trust and across the country, as well as to understand and better treat suicidal thoughts and self-harming behaviours. Throughout each presentation, two themes were abundantly clear:  

  • There is hope for translating these new therapies and approaches into the real world in the near future; 

  • Service users, clinicians and mental health workers have a vital role to play in GMMH’s research – as SSRU’s Director, Daniel Pratt, said: “None of the glory is possible without the contribution of Research Advocates and Research Participants.”  

Want to know more about SSRU’s work and research – or are you interested in becoming a research advocate or participant in a study? Visit: or email or  

You can also request a copy of the conference presentation slides by contacting

As a patient

As a service user, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Find resources for carers and service users  Contact the Trust

We place cookies on your computer to help make this website better. You can at any time read our Privacy Policy to find out more. By using this site we will assume that you are happy to continue.

Please choose a setting: