Suicide Prevention in Primary Care


Dr Maria Michail
Dr Faraz Mughal
Dr Pooja Saini
Dr Hayley Gorton
A/Professor Jo Robinson


Primary care has a vital role to play in a system wide approach to suicide prevention. General practice, community pharmacy are key settings for identifying, communicating with and supporting people who self-harm and might be at-risk of suicide. Enhanced and integrated primary and community mental health services provide the platform for coordinated, inclusive and personalised care for those at-risk of suicide.

This special interest group (SIG) will provide the platform for bringing together a cross-disciplinary group of researchers, clinicians, people with lived experience, commissioners and policy-makers to identify opportunities for optimising the role of primary care and community-based services in suicide prevention.


  1. Develop an international, cross-disciplinary network of researchers, clinicians, people with lived experience, commissioners and policy-makers dedicated to the study and prevention of suicide in primary care.
  2. Work in collaboration with our network members to identify research priorities that will inform the work of this SIG, informed by patient and public input.
  3. Facilitate international collaborative grant applications (e.g. Global Challenges Research Fund) to progress international comparative research, prevention and policy in this area.
  4. Use research resulting from the SIG to facilitate impact in policy and practice at a national and international scale.
  5. Disseminate (e.g. conferences, online workshops, webinars, peer-reviewed publications) the work of the SIG in order to raise awareness of the key role of primary care in the prevention of suicide.
  6. Act as an expert reference group for individuals and organisations seeking information in relation to suicide prevention in primary care.

Planned On-going Activities

Planned activities for 2019/20


Dr Maria Michail

Dr Maria Michail is a Senior Birmingham Fellow and leads the suicide and self-harm research group at the Institute for Mental Health, University of Birmingham. Her work focuses on understanding the processes that underlie self-harm and suicidal behaviour in young people with multiple vulnerabilities; and, using this knowledge to develop evidence-based interventions and clinical decision support systems to improve young people’s care and outcomes. She has significant experience working in primary care settings. Dr Michail’s research has had demonstrable impact on UK policy and practice. Her research has informed the development of an educational resource on youth suicide assessment and management for GPs which has been adopted by the Royal College of General Practitioners in the UK. Dr Michail is a member of the Birmingham Suicide Prevention Steering Group and is working closely with a number of third sector organisations including the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).

Dr Faraz Mughal

Dr. Faraz Mughal holds a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research GP Career Progression Fellowship at the School of Primary, Community and Social Care, Keele University, and is a GP in the National Health Service (NHS).

Having previously held a NIHR In-Practice Fellowship, Dr Mughal’s research is focused on improving the care of people who self-harm in general practice, with particular interest in young people. He led and published the first global evidence synthesis on the role of the GP in self-harm management. He is passionate about delivering high-quality evidence to influence national and international clinical practice and health policy. He is a member of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence self-harm clinical guideline development committee.

Dr Mughal is principal investigator on a Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Scientific Foundation Board grant to explore young people’s experiences of self-harm care in general practice. He has won regional and national RCGP awards, given evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee, and advised NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care on young people’s mental health in primary care.

Dr Pooja Saini

Dr Pooja Saini is a National Award Winning Senior Researcher/Chartered Psychologist who joined Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), School of Psychology as a Senior Lecturer in January 2018. Dr Saini’s research is focused at an individual-level, community-level and whole systems approach on risk management and decision-making processes for individuals, professionals, and service providers within forensic, clinical and non-clinical settings. Her main research interests are in suicide and self-harm prevention particularly in young people, cancer prevention in Black and Asian Ethnic Minority Groups, reduction of health inequalities and coproduction. A key activity for Dr Saini is public engagement and she aims to incorporate this in all aspects of her teaching and research.

Dr Saini collaborate with key mental health charities (e.g., JWSMF, PAPYRUS, YASP, Samaritans, YPAS), and Public Health Departments. Dr Saini is an active member of the Suicide Prevention Operational Group and Support after Suicide Task Group which aim to integrate suicide prevention and postvention initiatives in Cheshire and Merseyside across mental health charities, NHS trusts, public health departments, transport networks, and local councillors. Dr Saini is leading on world leading research, the founder of the Suicide and Self-Harm Research Network North-West and the LJMU Suicide and Self-Harm Research group.

Dr Hayley Gorton

Dr Hayley Gorton (PhD MRPharmS MPharm FHEA CF) is a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice at the University of Huddersfield in the UK, and a practicing community pharmacist. In her PhD, she studied suicide and self-harm epidemiology using large, electronic healthcare datasets. Her current research focuses on community pharmacists and their teams, and medicines, in suicide prevention. She champions the role of pharmacy teams in the primary care setting and is working to bring them into suicide prevention strategies. By co-chairing this SIG, Hayley hopes to embed suicide prevention activities and pharmacy amongst wider primary care suicide prevention research and policy. Supported by her 2018 Fellowship of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust (WCMT), Hayley travelled to explore the role of pharmacists in suicide prevention internationally. She hopes to integrate this niche group of researchers and pharmacists within this SIG, IASP and the wider suicide prevention community.

A/Professor Jo Robinson

Jo Robinson is an Associate Professor at Orygen, where she leads the suicide prevention research unit, which 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. Her work has a strong focus on the potential of social media platforms in suicide prevention. This includes the development of the #chatsafe guidelines, the first evidence-based best practice guidelines for safe peer-peer communication about suicide online, which were recently brought to life via a national social media-based suicide prevention campaign that reached over 3 million young people.

Examples of other 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 large-scale school-based study.

A/Prof Robinson also 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.