Conference Review: Using Data to Inform Suicide and Self-harm Prevention

By Rebecca Musgrove and Lana Bojanić.

A number of netECR members attended the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) and NIHR sponsored “Using data to inform suicide and self-harm prevention” at the Royal Statistical Society in London on Monday 25th February 2019. This was the first in a series of events to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Centre for Social Research.

The packed agenda was put together with a lot of thought and gave a really good balance between accessing and using population level data and being able to identify and research high-risk or under researched groups such as middle-aged men, autistic people, women in the perinatal period, and those in debt.  Two key messages were repeated by presenters, firstly the importance (and difficulty) in accessing available data and secondly the possibilities found in linking multiple data sets.

The Mental Elf was in attendance, in the form of Andre Tomlin, who recorded a number of short podcasts on the day with presenters and participants available from the following link. The Mental Elf was also one of the most active twitter users at the event, helping to spread the event ‘beyond the room’ so be sure to check out the event hashtag #SelfHarmData. The day was chaired by Professor Louise Arseneault from Kings College London

Important disclaimer: These conference review notes are based on the authors’ understanding and recollection of the meeting. Therefore, they are not deemed to be an accurate interpretation or representation of the conference content.

Click on the options below to read about each specific session.

Session 1: Context and Aims

Session 2: General Population and Cohort Surveys

Session 3: Registered Suicides

Session 4: Healthcare Context 

Session 5: High Risk Groups

Session 6: Data Hubs and Platforms


Rebecca Musgrove (@beckymus) is currently researching for a PhD in Epidemiology with a focus on suicide and self-harm for people who have recently been discharged from mental health inpatient care. She is also a Senior Analyst in Mental Health at NHS England (

Lana Bojanić (@BojanicLana) has a Master’s degree in psychology and is a Research Assistant at the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Safety in Mental Health, University of Manchester (

Featured Image: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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