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UCC project on Early Identification of Suicide and Self-Harm Risk awarded €1.5m HRB funding

22 Nov 2021
HRB Collaborative Doctoral Awards 2021

A project hosted at University College Cork (UCC) that will increase research and training on earlier intervention in suicide and self-harm risk has been awarded €1.5m in funding from the Health Research Board (HRB).

Early Identification of Suicide and Self-Harm Risk and Comorbid Mental and PHysical Disorders: An INterdisciplinary TrAining, Research and InterventioN Programme (MHAINTAIN) hosted at UCC has been awarded under the Collaborative Doctoral Awards (CDA) 2021 scheme, which provides for structured training for up to five PhD candidates. 

MHAINTAIN will address the need for doctoral training and career paths to improve early identification and intervention in suicide and self-harm risk. It will comprise four research projects with the following focus areas:

  1. Early identification of risk of self-harm and suicide and comorbid mental disorders among people diagnosed with cancer and chronic respiratory illnesses
  2. The impact of an improved Cognitive Behaviour Therapy programme on self-harm patients in terms of neuropsychological and biological markers
  3. Early identification of risk factors for repeated self-harm in children and adolescents aged 10-18
  4. Services and supports to minimise risk of suicide, self-harm and comorbid mental and physical health outcomes during public health emergencies.






MHAINTAIN involves an interdisciplinary team of researchers, health professionals, and people with lived experience from the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), University College Cork (UCC), the Clinical Research Facility Cork (CRF-C), University College Dublin (UCD), National Office for Suicide Prevention, and international partners from City University of London, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, the University of Melbourne, and the University of Massachusetts.

According to Professor Ella Arensman of the NSRF-UCC leadership team:

By integrating expertise from all relevant disciplines and involving a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives from patient advocacy, this innovative training programme will improve knowledge and expertise.”


In addition, the highly experienced partners will bring added value to the training and research programme by facilitating interdisciplinary research and training placements for the PhD scholars.”

John F. Cryan, Vice President for Research and Innovation and collaborator on the MHAINTAIN project congratulated Prof. Arensman & colleagues on their success. 

The societal importance of increased research and training into mental health cannot be overstated. Moreover, this project continues the longstanding and very fruitful relationship between UCC and the National Suicide Research Foundation along with other national and international collaborators,” he said.

According to Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, Chief Executive at the HRB:

This HRB funding will equip a new generation of health and social care researchers and professionals to ensure research done in academic and clinical settings is translated into better care. This will improve the lives of people and their loved ones affected by these difficult diagnoses."

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For more on this story contact:

Professor Ella Arensman

School of Public Health

Scoil na Sláinte Poiblí

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