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Prof. Rory O'Connor

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Professor Rory O'Connor completed his PhD at Queen's University Belfast. He is a President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and Past President of the Intern...

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What is your background?

I am a psychologist. There are lots of different types of psychologists, and I'm a health psychologist and the work that I've been doing over many years is trying to apply psychology to different types of psychology, to understanding the suicidal mind.

What is suicide?

Suicide suicide's just devastating. Suicide in terms of definitions, is the self-destruction of an individual. Suicide is a taking of one's life. There are lots of different interpretations of suicide and different words to describe suicide across the globe, but ultimately, suicide is about ending someone's life.

Why do people take their own life?

People take their own lives for many different reasons. There's no one simple explanation for why suicide happens. We've been doing research on this for many, many years, and I've developed a model of suicide to try and understand suicide risk and why people die by suicide, and people die by suicide because they feel trapped by unbearable mental pain. The causes of that pain can be many, many different factors. There's often mental health problems in the context. We know the people who die by suicide are often depressed, but there's a whole range of other factors going on. There could be early life trauma, there could be unemployment, there could be bullying, and what we're trying to do if we're trying to understand suicide risk is understand this perfect storm of factors that leads to suicide, and somewhere in the region of 700,000 people who die by suicide each year.

Is it selfish when someone dies by suicide?

What is the Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab?