Suicide Prevention Research

The suicide prevention research program includes epidemiological research into the causes of suicide and the distribution of suicide risk factors across the NT; investigation of specific causes and determinants of suicide in communities or among high risk groups; the effectiveness of clinical services and interventions and intervention research involving the and evaluation of suicide prevention strategies in different contexts.

Suicide prevention involves work across all sectors of government and the community: child protection, community justice and education, mental health and the community sector. The aim of the suicide prevention research program is to provide a comprehensive research response to the urgent problems of suicide and self-harm in NT communities, to inform development of policy and to support the development of suicide prevention strategies. A particular focus of the research program is to promote early intervention and prevention targeting vulnerability to suicide from early childhood through to young adulthood.


Program Leader: Professor Gary Robinson

 Multi-disciplinary research is a feature of the program:

  • Data linkage and epidemiological studies
  • Ethnographic and psychological research
  • Intervention studies using mixed methods in mental health, parenting and prevention, life skills interventions
  • Programs in community engagement and capacity building in prevention


Current Projects

  • Investigating the outcomes and opportunities for the prevention of deliberate self-harm hospitalisations in the NT
  • Evaluating the "Counterpunch Program", a sports (boxing)-based suicide prevention initiative for disengaged secondary school students funded by the Mental Health Branch of the NT Department of Health
  • Investigation of the early life determinants of suicide and self-harm and the development of effective early intervention strategies
  • Effective early intervention for secondary school aged youth through the development of life skills and support during the transition from school to work


Previous Projects

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Strategy

A Study of Suicide Deaths of NT Children from 2006-2010

Investigators: Gary Robinson, Sven Silburn, Bernard Leckning
Project Start/Finish Dates: 2011-2012
For more information, please contact:

The team was commissioned by the NT Child Deaths Review and Prevention Committee to conduct a retrospective audit of suicides of all persons under 18 years of age for the period from 2006 to 2010. The aims of the study were to:

  • Document the recent trends in child and youth suicide deaths in the Northern Territory.
  • Identify the relative influence of any specific factors elevating the risk of suicide among children and youth including the existence of 'suicide clusters'.
  • Investigate any improvements to monitoring and evaluation of child and youth suicide deaths in the Northern Territory.
  • To provide a concise review of literature on suicide relevant to the prevention of suicide among children and youth in the Northern Territory.

The public release report can be downloaded from here.

For further information about the suicide prevention research program, please contact:

Bernard Leckning
Coordinator, Suicide Prevention Research Program