Prof. Rory O’Connor

Rory O’Connor (@suicideresearch) is Chair in Health Psychology, Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at Glasgow University where he also leads the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory, the leading suicide and self-harm research group in Scotland.

He is co-editor of “The International Handbook of Suicide Prevention“, Deputy Chief Editor of Archives of Suicide Research, and Associate Editor of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.

As well as serving on the Scientific Review Board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, he also sits on the Scottish Government’s national suicide and self-harm implementation and monitoring group.

In today’s conversation we explore some common myths about suicide, why men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide and the role and responsibility of the media when it comes to reporting on this particular issue.

We discuss the development of Rory’s theory of suicidal behaviour and his mission to discover what separates the few people who die by suicide from the vast majority who don’t, the effectiveness of suicide awareness campaigns, why suicide should never be seen as a cop out and suicide attempts never dismissed as attention seeking.

We also spend a good deal of time exploring some practical advice for people, and the friends and relatives of those people, who are themselves feeling suicidal.



Integrated Motivational Volitional (IMV) Model of Suicidal Behaviour



SAMARITANS (UK & ROI): 116 123 – Available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This number is FREE to call and won’t appear on your bill. You do not have to be suicidal to call.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US): 1 800 273 8255 – Available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. This number is FREE to call, but may appear on your bill (please check with carrier). You do not have to be suicidal to call.

Live outside the UK or US? For a comprehensive list of international helplines, or to find a crisis centre in your area please click here!

Recommended Links

Suicidal Behaviour Research Lab

Media Guidelines for Reporting Suicide – Samaritans

How to Help Someone who is Suicidal and Save a Life – HelpGuide

How to make a suicide safety plan – SuicideLine

Books Mentioned in This Episode


Image courtesy: Colin Knowles


2 replies
  1. chocolatediva
    chocolatediva says:

    Made me cry…so relatable to me. Jumping from the burning building allegory made sense of my mixed up feelings in the past…and how I might explain them the friends and family in the future

    • Danny Whittaker
      Danny Whittaker says:

      ChocolateDiva, I remember you from the old MOWE site 🙂 Can’t help but smile at that name. Thank you for commenting.

      Yeah, it’s a kick in the chest that David Foster Wallace quote. Precisely the reason more people should be familiar with it. ~ Danny


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