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Keynote Speakers

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Professor Ella Arensman

Professor and Chief Scientist, School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health & National Suicide Research Foundation, University College Cork, Ireland


Professor Ella Arensman is Research Professor with the School of Public Health, University College Cork, Chief Scientist with the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF), Ireland, and Co-Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Surveillance and Research in Suicide Prevention. She is Vice President of the European Alliance Against Depression, and past President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. She is Visiting Professor with the Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Brisbane, and an expert advisor for WHO.

Prof Arensman has been involved in research and prevention into suicide, self-harm and related mental health and social issues for more than 30 years and she leads a multidisciplinary research team. Her interests and expertise represent multiple research areas, including risk and protective factors associated with suicide and self-harm, real-time surveillance of suicide and self-harm, effectiveness of suicide prevention and self-harm intervention programmes, and clustering and contagion of suicidal behaviour. In Ireland, she played a key role in developing the first and second National Suicide Prevention Programme: Reach Out, 2005-2014, and Connecting for Life, 2015-2020. She has published over 140 papers in peer review journals as well as reports for government departments and policy makers.

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Professor Silvia Sara Canetto

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology and Gerontology, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, USA; M.A., General Psychology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel; Doctor of Psychology, Physiological, University of Padova, Italy

Silvia Canetto is Professor of Psychology at Colorado State University, USA, with appointments in the Psychology and in the Human-Development-and-Family-Studies Departments, and in the International Development Studies and in the Women’s Studies programs. She speaks Italian, English, French, Spanish and Hebrew.

Prof. Canetto is most well-known for her research on cultural scripts of gender and suicidal behaviors. Her article (with Sakinofsky) “The gender paradox in suicide” is among the top-cited in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. She received the American Association of Suicidology’s Shneidman Award for early-career research on suicide, and the American Psychological Association Denmark-Reuder Award for outstanding scholarship on women and gender. She is Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the Gerontological Society of America. 

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Dr. Julie Cerel

Dr. Cerel is a licensed clinical psychologist and Professor in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky. Her research has focused on suicide exposure/bereavement, suicide attempt survivors and suicide prevention. She current serves as President of the American Association of Suicidology. She completed her PhD from The Ohio State University, an internship and post-doctoral fellowship from West Virginia University and a post-doctoral fellowship specifically in suicide prevention from University of Rochester. She has served as Research Division Chair and Board Chair of American Association of Suicidology. She is the author of over 65 academic publications and co-author of Seeking Hope: Stories of the Suicide Bereaved. Her work has been funded by the Military Suicide Research Consortium from the U.S. Department of Defense, the CDC, SAMHSA, SPAN-USA and AFSP. She is an Editorial Board Member for Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. Dr. Cerel mentors and collaborates with a diverse group of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students at UK and internationally. Her work on suicide exposure has recently been expanded to examine the correlates and consequences of work-related suicide exposure for law enforcement officers, first responders, mental health professionals and other workers.

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Ying-Yeh Chen, M.D. Sc.D

Director, Department of Community Psychiatry and Attending Psychiatrist at Taipei City Psychiatric Center; Professor, National Ying-Ming University

Professor Ying-Yeh Chen is a psychiatrist and a social epidemiologist. She earned her M.D. from Chung-Shan Medical University, Taiwan and got her Doctorate degree from Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard University, USA. She received her psychiatric residency training at Department of Psychiatry, National Taiwan University Hospital, where she continued to work as an attending psychiatrist for 2 years before going to Harvard.

Professor Chen has been working at Taipei City Psychiatric Center after returning from the US in Oct. 2004 and has started to take academic position at National Yang-Ming University the next year. On top of her clinical work and teaching responsibilities, she has dedicated to suicide research and suicide prevention work in the past few years. Her research focuses on socio-environmental influences on suicide and suicidal behaviors; the social factors she evaluates include the mass-media, gendered socialization, childhood environment and access to suicide means. She also conducts a series of studies on suicide attempters, covering topics on media influences, outcome assessment and rationale for method choice.

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Dr. Chan Lai Fong

Dr. Chan Lai Fong is currently Associate Professor of Psychiatry & Consultant Psychiatrist at the National University of Malaysia. She trained in psychiatry at the National University of Malaysia and completed a Clinical Fellowship in Mood & Anxiety Disorders at the University of Toronto, followed by a Master of Science in Affective Neuroscience at Maastricht University.

Dr. Chan’s research interests and current focus of published work are in the area of gene-environment, as well as socio-cultural interactions in suicidal behavior; within a wide-range of population groups such as adolescents, young adults and high-risk clinical populations i.e. treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder & SLE. Clinician suicide prevention and postvention are emerging areas of clinical & research interest.

In addition to receiving grant funding from national agencies, Dr. Chan has also been awarded international travel grants and scholarships for early career researchers such as the Spinoza Grant by the European Accreditation Committee in CNS (EACIC), the Travel Grant for Young Scientist by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Asian Psychiatrist Training Fellowship Travel Award at the 3rd World Congress of Asian Psychiatry. Dr. Chan was awarded the 2017 De Leo Fund Award by the International Association of Suicide Prevention for outstanding research on suicidal behaviours carried out in developing countries.

Dr. Chan is actively involved in organizations that focus on suicide prevention both nationally and internationally. Her current community-based suicide prevention and advocacy-focused research includes engagement with the media and collaboration with community leaders as well as advocacy for media safe reporting of suicide-related content.  She is currently the interim Malaysian representative of the International Association of Suicide Prevention (IASP) and is a scientific member of the IASP World Congresses (2017-2019). She is actively engaged in the Zero Suicide international summits and has been involved in the development of an International Declaration of the Zero Suicide (2016-2018). She has recently been elected to be part of the 5th Zero Suicide  Global Summit England 2020 International Working Group. She is also a member of the International Initiative for Mental Health Leadership, lifetime member of the Malaysian Psychiatric Association & junior member of the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

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Helen Christensen is Professor of Mental Health, Faculty of Medicine at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and the Chief Scientist and Director of the Black Dog Institute, which is Australia’s only independent medical research institute that focuses on mental health across all age groups. She was one of only two prestigious National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) John Cade Research Fellows. Professor Christensen is a leading expert on using technology to deliver evidence-based interventions for the prevention and treatment of suicide, self-harm, depression, and anxiety. She has published approximately 500 peer-reviewed research articles, including more than 180 in the last five years, placing her in the top 1% of international scientific researchers according to ISI Essential Science Indicators. She has a leading role in international research initiatives, including ImpleMentAll. She has been President of the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions (ISRII), and the Society for Mental Health Research. Helen has received numerous awards for her work including the Innovation NSW Premier’s Prize for Leadership in Innovation in 2017, UNSW Sydney Innovation in Leadership in 2016, and a Lifetime Achievement Award by ISRII 2019.

Professor Helen Christensen 


Erminia Colucci, PhD

Erminia Colucci is Senior lecturer at the Department of Psychology at Middlesex University London and Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Global and Cultural Mental Health Unit, Centre for Mental Health, The University of Melbourne. She uses qualitative and arts-based/visual methods in her research, teaching and advocacy work in Cultural and Global mental health and Applied Cross-Cultural Psychology. Erminia’s work has largely focused on suicide and suicide prevention, human rights abuses, domestic and gender-based violence, and traditional/faith-based healing in Low-and-Middle-Income countries and people from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. Erminia is Chair of the IASP SIG on Culture and Suicidal Behaviour and the World Association for Cultural Psychiatry SIG on Arts, Media and Mental Health, and Founder of Movie-ment ( In 2015, she was awarded the IASP Andrej Marusic Award dedicated to innovative research among young researchers and in 2017 a Rotary International prize for her ethnographic documentary about human rights and mental health 'Breaking the chains' .

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Annette Erlangsen, PhD

Annette Erlangsen PhD is an Associate Professor and Leader of Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention at the Research Unit of Mental Health Centre Copenhagen, Denmark. She holds an Adjunct Associate Professorship at the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the USA and at the Centre for Mental Health Research, Australian National University, Australias.

Dr. Erlangsen is the national representative for Denmark as well as co-chair of the Special Interest Group on Suicide in Older Adults for the International Association of Suicide Prevention. She is a member of the Danish National Partnership for Suicide Prevention. In addition, she is member of the Editorial Board of Lancet Psychiatry, Crisis, and Suicidology Online. In 2003, she received the Young Lecturer Award at the European Symposium for Suicide and Suicidal Behaviour and in 2014 she was awarded the Alexander Gralnick Award from the American Association of Suicidology and the Danish Nordentoft Award.

Dr. Erlangsen’s research interests include suicide in high risk populations, older adults, bereaved by suicide, affected by suicide attempt, and psychosocial interventions for people at risk of suicide as well as research applied to record linkage data. She has published numerous papers in peer reviewed journals as well as book chapters and editorials.

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Madelyn Gould, PhD, MPH

Madelyn Gould, PhD, MPH, is the Irving Philips Professor of Epidemiology in Child Psychiatry at the Columbia University Medical Center in the U.S. and a Research Scientist at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where she directs the Community Suicide Prevention Research Group.  During the past three decades, she has obtained extensive experience in the area of suicide prevention, conducting numerous federally funded grants from the National Institute of Health (NIMH), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and publishing several seminal articles on youth suicide risk and preventive interventions.  Her current projects focus on the evaluation of telephone crisis follow-up services and interventions with callers at imminent risk; chat and text crisis services; and continuity of care enhancements in emergency departments. Dr. Gould has a strong commitment to applying her research to program and policy development. She has participated in U.S. government commissions on suicide prevention, and her research - most notably in the areas of suicide contagion/clusters; screening and assessment of suicide risk; and crisis interventions - has laid the groundwork for state and national suicide prevention programs in the U.S.  Her research contributions have been recognized by numerous awards, including the Shneidman Award for Research from the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), the New York State Office of Mental Health Research Award, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) Research Award, the NYS Suicide Prevention Center’s Excellence in Suicide Prevention Award, and the 2013 Dublin Award from AAS.  Dr. Gould has been a member of IASP since 2002. She is the IASP USA National Representative and serves as a Co-Chairperson to the Council of National Representatives.  

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David Gunnell, FMedSci

David Gunnell FMedSci (@SASHBristol) is Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Bristol’s Department of Population Health Sciences. He is a member of the National Suicide Prevention Advisory Group for England and advises WHO on their suicide prevention work. He has received research awards from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the International Association for Suicide prevention

His research is focused on two main areas: (1) national and international strategies for preventing suicide and improving mental health; (2) early life influences on adult health, particularly mental illness, and the biological mechanisms underlying these influences.

He has led a number of National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) funded studies on the causes and prevention of suicide and self-harm, focusing on suicide methods – in particular pesticide self-poisoning, socioeconomic influences on suicide and factors influencing trends in suicide.


Georgie Harman

Georgie has significant and broad-ranging leadership, policy and service delivery experience in the community, public and private sectors.

Georgie was appointed as the CEO of beyondblue in May 2014 where she has led a significant expansion of effort and results in service innovation, suicide prevention and digital solutions.

Previously, she was the Deputy CEO of the National Mental Health Commission, providing independent advice to government on mental health reform. 

From 2006-2012, Georgie had national responsibility for mental health, suicide prevention, substance misuse, cancer and chronic disease policy and programs as a senior executive at the Commonwealth Department of Health. She led the development of the largest ever mental health Budget package. At the same time, she was responsible for the strategy and development of legislation to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products in Australia – a world first.

Georgie has also led national reforms to lift Australia’s organ and tissue donation rates and worked in the HIV/AIDS sector in Australia and the UK.


Professor Keith Hawton

Keith Hawton is Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Centre for Suicide Research at Oxford University Department of Psychiatry. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and an Emeritus National Institute for Health Research Senior Investigator. His research group conducts investigations concerning the causes, treatment, prevention and outcome of suicidal behaviour. He has received the Stengel Research Award from the International Association for Suicide Prevention, the Dublin Career Research Award from the American Association of Suicidology, the Research Award of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Morselli Medal from the International Association of Suicide Research.


Professor David A. Jobes

David A. Jobes, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology, Associate Director of Clinical Training, and Director of the Suicide Prevention Laboratory at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC. He has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and six books in clinical suicidology. Dr. Jobes is a past President of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS) and he is the recipient of various professional awards including the AAS Dublin Award for career contributions in suicidology.

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Professor Nav Kapur

Nav is Professor of Psychiatry and Population Health at the University of Manchester, UK and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust. He has spent the last 20 years researching suicidal behaviour, particularly its causes, treatment and prevention. He has led committees for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) including those developing guidelines for how all clinical staff should treat people with self-harm. He sits on the main advisory group on suicide for the Department of Health in England and is currently helping to lead a national quality improvement project to prevent suicide.


Professor Murad Moosa Khan

Prof. Murad Moosa Khan is Professor of Psychiatry at the Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan. He is a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, UK, with higher specialist training in General Adult & Old Age Psychiatry and PhD from University of London.

Prof Khan was elected President of International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in 2017. In this position, he leads IASP’s global suicide prevention strategy. He was one of the international contributors to the World Suicide Report, 2014 of the WHO.

He is also a member of the International Association for Suicide Research (IASR) and has served on the international governing committee of the International Federation of Psychiatric Epidemiology (IFPE). He was an international contributor to the World Suicide Report of the WHO and has been on the WHO’s Mentor-Violence & Injury Prevention (VIP) program. Prof. Khan is the principal investigator of the Karachi Suicide Study (KaSS), using the psychological autopsy methodology, one of the few such studies in the Islamic world

He has published on suicidal behavior in Pakistan and developing countries and has several book chapters, including in the Oxford Textbook of Suicidology and Suicide Prevention and the International Handbook of Suicide Prevention. He is on the editorial board of a number of journals, including Crisis, International Journal of Social Psychiatry and International Review of Psychiatry. Prof. Khan serves on the boards of several mental health associations in Pakistan including Basic Needs (Pakistan), Aman Health and Karawan-e-Hayat. Prof. Khan leads the multi-disciplinary mental health research group at the Aga Khan University. His research interests include epidemiology of suicide and self-harm, mental health of women and elderly, health services development, medical ethics and narrative medicine.


Yutaka Motohashi MD, PhD

Director of Japan Support Center for Suicide Countermeasures, National Center for Neurology and Psychiatry, Japan; Professor Emeritus at Akita University School of Medicine, Japan

Dr. Yutaka Motohashi is Director of Japan Support Center for Suicide Countermeasures (JSSC), National Center for Neurology and Psychiatry, Japan.  During the past two decades, he has been involved in research and policy-making of suicide prevention in the community as public health specialist.  He is also Director of WHO Collaborating Center for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention (JPN92), and Professor Emeritus at Akita University School of Medicine. 

Dr. Motohashi, after an inauguration of director of JSSC, played a key role in developing the National Suicide Prevention Strategy of Japan, as chairman of the Committee for Developing the General Principles of Suicide Prevention Policy of Japanese Ministry of Health, Welfare, Labor (2017). He has been engaged in the management of the Innovative Research Program on Suicide Countermeasures (IRPSC) aiming to promote studies of suicide countermeasures from an international and interdisciplinary perspective since 2017. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Suicide Policy Research, an international journal published by JSSC. 


Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, MD, PhD

Thomas Niederkrotenthaler, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor and head of the Unit Suicide Research & Mental Health Promotion at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria. His team has coined the Papageno effect which describes suicide-protective potentials of media reporting. He has published more than 100 articles in the area of suicide prevention and has received several grants for his research on media effects. He is the current Treasurer of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, co-chair of IASP’s  Media & Suicide Special Interest Group, board member of the German Association for Suicide Prevention and chairman of the Wiener Werkstaette for Suicide Research (


Matthew K. Nock, Ph.D.

Matthew K. Nock, Ph.D. is the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Professor Nock received his Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University (2003) and completed his clinical internship at Bellevue Hospital and the New York University Child Study Center (2003).

Nock’s research is aimed at advancing the understanding why people behave in ways that are harmful to themselves, with an emphasis on suicide and other forms of self-harm.  His research is multi-disciplinary in nature and uses a range of methodological approaches (e.g., epidemiologic surveys, laboratory-based experiments, clinic-based studies, digital monitoring via smartphones and biosensors, and web- and social-media-based experiments) to better understand how these behaviors develop, how to predict them, and how to prevent their occurrence.

This work is funded by grants from the US National Institutes of Health, US Department of Defense, US Army, and private foundations and has been published in over 250 scientific papers. Nock’s work has been recognized through the receipt of career awards from the American Psychological Association, the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and the American Association of Suicidology; and in 2011 he received a MacArthur Fellowship (aka “Genius Grant”).

At Harvard, Professor Nock teaches courses on statistics, research methods, self-destructive behaviors, developmental psychopathology, and cultural diversity—for which he has received teaching and mentoring awards including the Roslyn Abramson Teaching Award, the Petra Shattuck Prize, and the Lawrence H. Cohen Outstanding Mentor Award.

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Professor Rory O'Connor

Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland and a current Vice President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention


Rory O’Connor PhD CPsychol AFBPsS FAcSS is Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, Past President of the International Academy of Suicide Research and a current Vice President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Rory leads the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory (Web:; Twitter: @suicideresearch) at Glasgow, one of the leading suicide/self-harm research groups in the UK and also leads the Mental Health & Wellbeing Research Group.  He has published extensively in the field of suicide and self-harm, specifically concerning the psychological processes which precipitate suicidal behaviour and self-harm.  In addition, he is author of Understanding Suicidal Behaviour (with Noel Sheehy), co-editor of The Routledge Major Works Series on Suicide (with Keith Hawton) and of the International Handbook of Suicide Prevention (2nd edition with Jane Pirkis).  He serves on the Scientific Review Board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Archives of Suicide Research and Associate Editor of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, and Behavior Therapy.  Rory acts as an advisor to a range of national and international organisations including national governments on the areas of suicide and self-harm.  He is also Co-Chair of the Academic Advisory Group to the Scottish Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group. 

Siobhan O'Neill

Professor Siobhan O’Neill

Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University

Professor Siobhan O’Neill is a Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University.
In 2008 Siobhan coordinated the largest ever study of mental health in Northern Ireland, the NI Research and Development Office funded, NI Study of Health and Stress. This study revealed the high proportions of the NI population who had unmet mental health needs and the extent of mental illness and suicidal behaviour associated with the NI conflict. Siobhan is also a coordinator of the NI suicide study, a study of the characteristics of over 1600 suicides and undetermined deaths.
Siobhan is an advisor to several suicide prevention and mental health organisations who provide services and interventions for mental health and suicide prevention. She sits on national and international research committees. She has over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals, including several ground breaking studies of mental health and suicidal behaviour in Northern Ireland.


Her current research programmes focus on maternal mental health, mental health in school children, and the transgenerational transmission of Troubles related trauma. She is currently involved in studies of mental health in students, the biological basis of mental illness and suicidal behaviour, and suicide crisis line caller behaviour and outcomes.

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Professor Jane Pirkis

Professor Jane Pirkis is the Director of the Centre for Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. She has worked in the suicide prevention field for nearly 25 years and has a particular interest in reporting and portrayal of suicide in news and entertainment media. She is Vice President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), and was a founding co-Chair of IASP’s Suicide and the Media Special Interest Group. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Crisis, and recently co-edited The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention.

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Dr. Alexandra Pitman

Dr Alexandra Pitman is a Clinical Associate Professor in Psychiatry in the UCL Division of Psychiatry and an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust.  Her research interests are in the epidemiology of suicide and self-harm, particularly in relation to suicide loss, loneliness and social isolation, and in developing approaches to prevent suicide. She is funded by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to investigate mediators of suicide risk after suicide bereavement. She co-leads, with Professor Sonia Johnson, the ESRC-funded Loneliness and Social Isolation in Mental Health network.

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Associate Professor Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson is an Associate Professor at Orygen the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, where she leads the suicide prevention research unit. Under her leadership the unit has sustained a consistent upward trajectory. It supports one project manager, two research fellows, nine research assistants, and several students. The unit is regarded as the leading centre of youth suicide research in the world.

A/Prof Robinson’s work focuses on the development, and rigorous testing, of novel interventions that specifically target at risk youth across settings, on evidence synthesis, and on the translation of research evidence into practice and policy. Examples of some current projects include the development of a multi-layered and systematic approach to youth suicide prevention across north-west Melbourne, the establishment of a self-harm monitoring program in emergency departments across Victoria, and a suite of studies examining the potential utility of social media platforms in suicide prevention. The latter includes a national study, funded by the Commonwealth Department of Health that lead to the development of the #chatsafe guidelines, the first evidence-based best practice guidelines for safe peer-peer communication about suicide online in the world. The guidelines will be brought to life via a national social media-based suicide prevention campaign designed by, and for, young people. A/Prof Robinson has also led the production of a series of systematic reviews that have informed clinical practice and service development.

She has a keen interest in policy development and evaluation and has led the development of two major policy reports and is regularly called upon to provide advice to both state and federal government.

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Professor Dr. Gwendolyn Portzky

Gwendolyn Portzky is professor Medical Psychology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science of Ghent University (Belgium). She is director of the Flemish Centre of Expertise in Suicide Prevention (VLESP) at Ghent University. VLESP is the official partner of the Flemish Government for the prevention of suicide in Flanders and coordinates the development and implementation of the Flemish Suicide Prevention Action Plan. She is coordinator of the Unit for Suicide Research (Ghent University), of which Kees van Heeringen is director. She has been involved in suicide research since 1999 when she started working at the Unit for Suicide Research. In 2006 she finished her PhD about Suicidal behaviour in young people. She is also responsible for the prevention of burn-out and the mental health policy for students and health professionals at the Faculty of Medicine at Ghent University. As a clinical psychologist and cognitive-behavioural therapist she is attached to the Department of Psychiatry of the University Hospital Gent, where she is specialised in the treatment of eating disorders, burn-out, depression and suicidality.

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Professor Ellen Townsend

Ellen holds a BA Hons in Music from the University of Leeds and a PhD in Psychology from the University of Nottingham. She completed her postdoctoral work in the Centre for Suicide Research at the University of Oxford. Ellen is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Nottingham where she leads the Self-Harm Research Group (SHRG) which investigates the psychological factors associated with self-harm and suicidality, and interventions that promote recovery. The SHRG uses sequence analysis, the Card Sort Task for Self-Harm (CaTS) (a novel task, co-created with young people with lived experience), experiments, questionnaires, epidemiology, interviews and systematic reviews in our work which has influenced policy and practice for self-harm. The SHRG team are passionate about Public Engagement and have developed innovative methods to involve the public and those with lived experience with research. You can keep up to date with our work by following us on Twitter @selfharmnotts.


Gustavo Turecki, MD PhD

Gustavo Turecki MD PhD is a clinician scientist whose work focuses on understanding brain molecular changes that occur in major depression and molecular processes that explain treatment response. In addition, his work aims to elucidate the neurobiological basis of the suicidal brain. Dr. Turecki is Full Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University. He is the Scientific Director of the Douglas Institute and the Director of the McGill Group for Suicide Studies, a multidisciplinary suicide research group ( that comprises the Douglas Bell-Canada Brain Bank ( He is also the director of the FRQS Réseau québécois sur le suicide, les troubles de l'humeur et les troubles associés (

Dr. Turecki has conducted pioneering research which has led to our understanding of how traumatic life experiences impacts brain gene function and increases long-term risk for suicide by epigenetically regulating critical genes involved in stress responses and behavioral development. He has authored over 450 publications, including research articles in leading peer-reviewed journals such as Nature Neuroscience, Nature Medicine, and Lancet. His work has been cited 30,000 times and his contributions to the field have been recognized through 28 awards. He also serves, or has served, in the advisory boards of several scientific journals, and international scientific institutes.

Dr. Turecki is also an engaged clinician and heads the Depressive Disorders Program at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, where he treats patients with refractory major depressive disorder.

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Kees van Heeringen, MD PhD

Kees van Heeringen, MD PhD, is a full professor of psychiatry at the University of Ghent. He is the Director of the Unit for Suicide Research at the University of Ghent, and founding boardmember of the Flemish Expertise Center for Suicide Prevention (VLESP). He is a fellow at the International Academy for Suicide Research and a member of advisory boards, working groups and associations related to suicide research and prevention. He has published more than 150 scientific papers and 10 books including The Neuroscience of Suicidal Behavior (2018). His research covers three areas in suicidology: epidemiology (e.g. monitoring of attempted suicide, survey studies), neurobiology (e.g. neuropsychology and neuroimaging) and prevention (development and testing of preventive interventions including CBT and neurostimulation). 

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Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar

Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar is the founder of SNEHA, an NGO in Chennai for the prevention of suicide. She is the Head, Department of Psychiatry, Voluntary Health Services, Adyar, Chennai. She is a member of the W.H.O’s International Network for Suicide Research and Prevention . She is an Honorary Associate Professor in the University of Melbourne, Australia and Hon Adjunct Professor,  University of Griffith, Australia.

She has been conferred Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FRCPsych), U.K. for her work on suicide prevention and also has been conferred FRCP (EDIN). She was awarded the Ringel Service award by IASP in June 2015.

She has published widely in peer reviewed journals and has authored several chapters and edited two books.

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