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Gold Coast Professor receives grant for suicide prevention research

Bond University Professor Chris Stapelberg has been awarded $560,000 in Federal Government funding for research into suicide prevention treatments to be trialled on the Gold Coast.

Suicide Prevention Australia (SPA) announced the grant will go towards Professor Stapelberg, who is the Chair in Mental Health for Bond University and Gold Coast Health, and his research team.

The project, anticipated to begin early 2019, will run for three years and focus on Gold Coast patients presenting through emergency departments and community health settings with suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

The money is part of $2.3 million in funding announced by the SPA for four research projects, in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. The grants are the first to be awarded from the Australian Government’s National Suicide Prevention Research Fund.

Professor Stapelberg said he and his colleagues were appreciative of the support from SPA, with suicide prevention at the forefront of healthcare issues in Australia, killing twice as many Australians as road crashes.

“Suicide is the leading cause of death among all people 15-44 years of age in Australia and it’s a substantial challenge worldwide,” he said. Professor Stapelberg said he was hopeful the project would quickly make a positive difference.

“This is one of those research projects that we hope will have a very clear path to translation, which means we go from research to reality in a relatively short space of time,” he said. “If we can show that one of the interventions is really effective, then we can incorporate that into the treatment that we offer those seeking our help.”

The study will see Professor Stapelberg lead a multinational team including academics and researchers from Gold Coast Health’s Mental Health and Specialist Services, as well as the University of Rochester in the United States and the University of Bern in Switzerland.

For further information visit the bond website.

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PIR is a Federally funded program. Other consortia members include Gold Coast Health and Mental Health Association QLD