Black Dog Institute, University of New South Wales
Research Field: Suicide prevention and mental health

Suicide is a complex, devastating disease burden and remains the leading cause of death among young people aged 15 to 44 years. Less than 30% of people seek help after a suicide attempt, and suicide has a complex aetiology, which makes prediction difficult. This means that for many, suicide risk remains undetected and untreated. To combat this, improvements are needed in the timing, quality, and reach of prevention initiatives.

Over the past three years Dr Tye has sought to achieve this through: trialling innovative, evidence-based prevention programs that have population reach, and targeting key developmental risks, (e.g. a community-based multi-level “systems” approach in NSW [LifeSpan]; Good Behaviour Game in primary schools; Youth Aware of Mental Health in high schools), and using technology and data to drive prevention efforts forward (i.e. building geographical information systems from suicide data to develop suicide risk profiles for local regions to inform prevention efforts). The significance of this research is reflected in grants awarded to support this work ($15m in the past two years), and its strong, immediate translational impact, given it has influenced suicide prevention policy [NSW proposed suicide prevention framework], and guided improvements in health system responses to suicide [e.g. commissioning guidelines for Primary Health Networks].