College of Presidents

The College of Presidents is made up of the past presidents of IASP who bring together their wealth of knowledge and experience of IASP to strengthen the wisdom of the Association and be a source of counsel.

The College of Presidents provides mentorship to the Executive Committee through their committee representative and are available to represent the organization, provide advice and expertise, undertake investigations and reviews, and present recommendations and conclusions.


Ella Arensman

Professor Ella Arensman

Professor Ella Arensman is Director of Research with the National Suicide Research Foundation (NSRF) and Adjunct Professor with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Cork, Ireland. She holds an MSc and PhD from Leiden University, The Netherlands.

She has been involved in research and prevention into suicide and self-harm for more than 28 years, with emphasis on risk and protective factors associated with suicide and self-harm and effectiveness of suicide prevention and self-harm intervention programmes. In Ireland, she played a key role in developing Reach Out, the National Strategy for Action on Suicide Prevention (2005-2014), and she is currently involved in the development of the new Irish Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention, 2015-2020. In recent years, she developed an innovative Suicide Support and Information System (SSIS).

She has published extensively in scientific peer reviewed journals and international textbooks, and she fulfils an advisory role on many national and international steering groups, and editorial boards, including Crisis.

Professor Arensman has a pro-active approach towards international collaboration in suicide research and prevention, reflected by her longstanding involvement in many international consortia, such as the WHO/Euro Multicentre study on Suicidal Behaviour, the European Alliance Against Depression (EAAD), Optimised Suicide Prevention Programmes and their Implementation in Europe (OSPI-Europe), Preventing Depression and Increasing Awareness through Networking in the EU (PREDI-NU), and Mental Health Training through Research Network in Europe (MARATONE).

In collaboration with the World Health Organisation, she has been pro-active in the development of national suicide prevention programmes in countries with limited government support. She has been involved in the recent IASP-WHO Global Survey on Suicide Prevention, which has provided new insights into suicide prevention in regions across the world for which limited information was available.

Professor Arensman’s vision for IASP over the coming years would be to actively encourage international collaboration in suicide prevention and research resulting in a more effective global strategy. A key direction would be to bridge the gap between researchers and policymakers in order to strengthen the implementation and evaluation of national suicide prevention programmes. For the growth of IASP, it will be important to empower young professionals to have an active role in the work of IASP.

Diego de Leo

Emeritus Professor Diego De Leo AO, DSc

Doctor of Science (DSc) in Suicidology and Psychogeriatrics, Diego De Leo is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at Griffith University, where he directed the Australian Institute of Suicide Research and Prevention (AISRAP) [1998-2015]. At AISRAP he is Director Emeritus of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Suicide Prevention. Past President of both the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the International Academy for Suicide Research (which he co-founded), he has successfully established and managed high-level international collaborations. Editor in Chief of the journal CRISIS, he is the Chair of Postvention Australia and the Chair of the Department of Psychology, University of Primorska, Slovenia, where he directs the Slovene Centre for Suicide Research. Professor De Leo is widely published (>400 journal articles) and the winner of several national and international awards. In 2013, he was appointed as an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia, awarded for "distinguished service to medicine in the field of psychiatry as a researcher and through the creation of national and international strategies for suicide prevention." Professor De Leo’s research expertise includes definitional issues, old age suicide, international trends and suicide prevention programs.

Lars Mehlum

Lars Mehlum

Professor Lars Mehlum MD, PhD is the founding director of the National Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention at the Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway. A psychiatrist and psychotherapist, he has had several leader positions both at the national and international level. He is a past president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the current president elect of the International Academy of Suicide Research (IASR) and of the European Society for the Study of Personality Disorders (ESSPD). He was a visiting professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons 2011-2012 and has lectured widely in many countries. He has established several advanced training programmes, among them a Master’s degree in suicide prevention at the University of Oslo and national therapist training programmes both in Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Complicated Grief Treatment (CGT). The founding editor of the journal Suicidologi published since 1996 he is also a member of the editorial board of several international journals. With his research group he focuses on the clinical course of suicidal and self-harming behaviours with respect to etiological and prognostic factors such as stressors and negative life events, personality traits and disorders, major psychiatric illness and the effectiveness of interventions, among them Dialectical Behaviour Therapy. He has also conducted studies of the epidemiology of self harm and completed suicide in the general population and various non-clinical populations. He has published widely on these subjects and received several national and international awards.

Brian Mishara

Brian Mishara

Brian Mishara is Director of the Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide and Euthanasia (CRISE) at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Professor of Psychology and Vice-chairperson of the Trustees of Befrienders Worldwide, an international organization of helplines. His published seven books in English and five in French, include research on new technologies and suicide prevention, the effectiveness of suicide prevention programmes, how children understand suicide, theories of suicidality, ethical issues, euthanasia and assisted suicide, and evaluations of helpline effectiveness. He was a founder of Suicide Action Montreal, the Montreal suicide prevention centre, a past president of the International Association for Suicide Prevention and Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. He also consults and conducts suicide prevention training internationally and has held the Bora Laskin National Fellowship in Human Rights Research for studies in human rights issues associated with euthanasia and assisted suicide.

JP Soubrier

Jean-Pierre Soubrier

Jean-Pierre Soubrier, MD, is professor emeritus at the Collège de Médecine des Hôpitaux de Paris, France, and honorary chief psychiatrist at University Hospital Paris (AP-HP). His suicidology research career began in 1965 as a Fulbright Research Fellow at the Suicide Prevention Center, Los Angeles, USA. He has been IASP member since that time. He was Founding President of the Groupement d’Etudes et de Prévention du Suicide (GEPS), France (1969), Past President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) (1995-1997) and Chairman of IASP College of Past President (2001-2003) , WHO Advisory Board Member International Committee on Suicide Prevention. First Chairman of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) Section on Suicidology (2002-2008). His awards include Silver Medal, Faculty of Medicine, Paris (1965); Best Film Medical Festival ‘Suicide prevention: Myth or reality?’, Paris (1974); Stengel Award, IASP (1981); Annual Award, Académie Nationale de Médecine, France (1985); and Best Scientific Poster: ‘Print media and Suicide’, European Congress of Suicidology (ESSSB), Rome, Italy (2010). He is Consulting Editor of the journal Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior (USA) and is a member of the Scientific Committee National Strategy on Suicide Prevention (France). He was Chairman of the Taskforce Suicide Prevention in old age (2009–2011) and opened a resource center on suicidology (CRES) in Paris, France in 2012.



YearsPresidents of IASPCountry
2013 – 2017Ella ArensmanIreland
2009 – 2013Lanny BermanUSA
2005 – 2009Brian MisharaCanada
2003 – 2005Lars MehlumNorway
1999 – 2003Diego De LeoAustralia
1997 – 1999Robert GoldneyAustralia
1995 – 1997Jean-Pierre SoubrierFrance
1991 – 1995David LesterUSA
1989 – 1991Nils RetterstølNorway
1985 – 1989Kalle AchtéFinland
1979 – 1985Walter PöldingerSwiterland
1973 – 1979Norman FarberowUSA
1971 – 1973Erwin StengelUnited Kingdom
1961 – 1971Erwin RingelAustria