News and events

Please see below for latest news and upcoming events

New Website!

posted Jul 7, 2018, 7:12 PM by Ellen Townsend

Our website has moved to a new location, and it's had a complete overhaul. Our new page will be updated regularly with informative content, news updates, and all upcoming events. You can now find us at:

Small talk saves lives

posted Nov 15, 2017, 2:15 AM by Ellen Townsend   [ updated Nov 15, 2017, 2:46 AM ]

Small Talk Saves Lives


It sounds much too simple doesn’t it?  Making small talk could save a life.  But the truth is, it really could.  Today SHRG is supporting the campaign launched by the Samaritans. They are asking us all to be courageous and strike up a conversation with someone if we are worried about them at a railway station. MAKE SMALL TALK AND YOU COULD SAVE A LIFE is a new campaign that encourages public to intervene to help prevent railway suicides.  The Samaritans note that for each life lost on the railways, 6 are saved by life saving interventions.  You can find out more about the campaign here: and here

You can hear me speak to Andy and Sarah on BBC Radio Nottingham about the campaign here (The piece starts at 2:08:00 with my bit at 2:10:17)

The myth that work like this will help to dispel is that suicide is not preventable – it is and right up until the last moment.  Johnny Benjamin was brought back from the brink of a suicide attempt by a caring stranger (Neil Laybourn) who he managed to track down through the incredible ‘Find Mike’ campaign so he could thank him for saving his life

Kevin Hines, who survived a serious suicide attempt, maintains that he felt he could have been diverted from his attempt if just one person had asked him ‘Hey kid, are you OK?’

Dr Christabel Owens from the University of Exeter has produced a great leaflet to help get people talking about suicide if you are worried about someone, which you can access here:

So let’s all be courageous.  You won’t make things worse.  Start a conversation and save a life.


Oh what a night! Cafe Connect event - moving and inspirational

posted Jul 24, 2017, 6:00 AM by Ellen Townsend   [ updated Jul 24, 2017, 6:02 AM ]

On 23rd July SHRG led the last of the Cafe Connect events funding by our Welcome Trust People Award.  Young people with lived experience who became part of our research team though the project spoke eloquently and movingly about their involvement in the project and their experience generally. Harmless, an award winning user-led support service also collaborated with us on the project and participated in the event. Two extremely talented spoken word artists performed and we had a Q&A session led by the young researchers.  The night was a celebration of what we have achieved together and a platform to disseminate what we have found. The evening was attended by people of all ages, experiences and backgrounds.  As a research team, we have been pushed in directions not anticipated by our young researchers which has been an incredibly exciting experience. We hope this will be the first of many more such events.

View the press release about the event here.  

Me too - Emma Nielsen's blog on mental health and disclosure

posted Jul 24, 2017, 5:36 AM by Ellen Townsend

SHRG student Emma Nielsen's blog on mental health and disclosure is a powerful must read for anyone researching in the field regardless of their career stage.

Eating difficulties are hard to talk about: help us find new ways

posted Jun 15, 2017, 4:27 AM by Ellen Townsend   [ updated Jun 23, 2017, 3:56 AM ]

Next week, help shape research about eating difficulties

See flyer below about SHRG work in Cafe Connect 29/30 June 2017.

Prizes galore for SHRG PhD students Emma and Jo

posted May 25, 2017, 6:50 AM by Ellen Townsend

We are extremely proud of SHRG students Emma Nielsen and Joanna Lockwood who have both received prizes for their work in the past few weeks.  

Emma Nielsen has received two prizes in two weeks!  Last week she received the 'Best paper award' at the Institute of Mental Health Research Day for her paper  'Dealing with difficult days: functional coping dynamics in self-harm ideation and enactment. Journal of Affective Disorders, 208, 330-337, DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2016.08.036.  

Today Emma was the recipient of a University of Nottingham endowed PhD prize for her fabulous academic achievements as a PhD student (5 papers published and counting before her PhD is finished) and her wonderful work on Public Engagement and Outreach - particularly via the IMH Blog. 

Jo Lockwood received a very well deserved prize for 'Best Oral Presentation' at the Institute of Mental Health Research Day.

Two new papers from Listen-Up project to be published

posted May 16, 2017, 8:58 AM by Ellen Townsend

We are delighted to announce that two new papers emerging from our Listen-Up! project have been accepted for publication in the past week.  Congratulations to Dr Ruth Wadman (now at the University of York) who is lead author on these papers. Both papers focus on the experience of looked-after young people who self-harm.  Looked-after young people have been virtually neglected in the field of self-harm/suicide prevention despite their high risk. More details will appear on our publications page in due course.

Self-harm and eating issues can be hard to talk about, help us find new ways.

posted Apr 22, 2017, 10:29 PM by Ellen Townsend

Take part in SHRG research at Cafe Connect 4-5 May 2017.

If you have first hand experience of self-harm or problems with eating, join us to talk to our research group at Nottingham Contemporary from 10-1pm on Thursday the 4th and Friday the 5th. You will have the opportunity to take part in our research developing a new communication card sort task. The task will take about 20 minutes and asks about how you felt and behaved during times you've struggled with self-harm and/or eating difficulties. A £10 inconvenience voucher will be offered for your participation

Nottingham Contemporary is in Nottingham City Centre and is easily accessible via public transport: 

Weekday Cross, Nottingham, NG1 2GB

Shape SHRG research @ Cafe Connect 23/24th March 2017

posted Mar 15, 2017, 1:54 PM by Ellen Townsend

On 23/24th March 2017 Cafe Connect is 'popping-up' again at Nottingham Contemporary (

Could you help shape our research?

Self-harm can be hard to talk about, help us find new ways.
If you are over 16 and have first-hand experience with self-harm, join us in The Studio from 2-5 to speak to the Self-Harm Research Group (one-to-one) about new methods we are developing. You will have the opportunity to help us develop the Card Sort Task for Self-Harm (CaTS) which will take around half-an-hour.  You can also speak to Harmless (an award-winning user-led support service for self-harm) and chill in our relaxation zone.
Understanding self-harm.
If you are over 16, come along from 10-1 and meet the Self-Harm Research Group and find out about, or take part in, our research on understanding self-harm. Harmless (an award winning user-led support service for self-harm) will also be on hand to talk to people throughout the day.

SHRG research in The Psychologist

posted Mar 8, 2017, 5:44 AM by Ellen Townsend   [ updated Mar 8, 2017, 5:46 AM ]

Last week Ellen travelled to Penrith to deliver a keynote presentation about SHRG research to the 'Suicide Prevention: New Frontiers' conference organized by the Health Science Network North East and Cumbria.  The conference has been featured in The Psychologist in an excellent article by Ella Rhodes.  The piece can be viewed here:

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