2016 Press Releases
UCC Professor to improve care for self-harm patients
The Health Research Board (HRB) has appointed Professor Ella Arensman of UCC and the National Suicide Research Foundation as one of four new Research Leaders.
Professor Arensman has been awarded €1.4 million over five years for her project titled Individual and Area Level Determinants of Self-Harm and Suicide in Ireland: Enhancing Prediction, Risk Assessment and Management of Self-Harm by Health Services.
The National Self-Harm Registry Ireland has identified significant variation across hospitals in the assessment and management of patients presenting to hospital for self-harm, with a significant number of patients leaving without a care plan.
Professor Arensman intends to improve the care provided in Irish hospitals for people engaging in self-harm, which is expected to reduce repeated self-harm and suicide nationally.
The vision of the proposed partnership between the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), UCC, the National Clinical Care Programme for Mental Health (NCCP-MH) and the National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), is for Ireland to take a leading role in improving the care for people who engage in self-harm and to reduce repeated self-harm and suicide.
The NCCP-MH and the new National Strategy to Reduce Suicide in Ireland, Connecting for Life, 2015-2020, overseen by the NOSP, prioritise the improved assessment and management of self-harm patients presenting to hospitals in Ireland and the early identification of self-harm and suicide clusters. However, resources for addressing these strategic priorities are lacking.
In conducting the five-year research programme, Professor Arensman will examine predictive factors associated with risk of repeated self-harm and suicide among people with a history of multiple self-harm acts and those engaging in highly lethal self-harm acts.
In addition, she will develop, implement and assess the effectiveness of a sustainable Self-harm Assessment and Management programme for General Hospitals (SAMAGH) and a pulse system for early identification of emerging suicide and self-harm.
Professor Kathleen Bennett of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (awarded €1.4 million over five years); Professor Eamon O'Shea of the National University of Ireland, Galway (awarded €1.6 million over five years) and Professor Eilish McAuliffe of the University College Dublin have been also appointed as Research Leaders, with their work encompassing the areas of suicide prevention, safe prescribing, dementia care and team leadership in the health services.
The Research Leaders will act as role models and mentors to help build a ‘critical mass’ of people with the specialist skills required to conduct population health and health services research, and apply their findings into policy and practice.
According to Graham Love, chief executive of the Health Research Board: “These awards are designed to address knowledge gaps in our health service. If you want to turn good services into brilliant ones, then research will give you that edge.”