Recognising the importance of the voice of lived experience, speakers will be encouraged to incorporate the voice of lived experience into each presentation. The program will also have a strong representation from people with a lived experience of suicide.

The full program is coming soon.


International Keynote Speakers


Director, Suicide Prevention Office at the Ministry of Health New Zealand

Carla joined the Ministry of Health in October 2019 as the Director of the Suicide Prevention Office. She came to the position after having spent the previous 12 years as a coroner committed to understanding the context of suicides, taking the approach that suicides must be seen not simply as the consequence of a mental health problem or a moment of distress of the person who took their life, but as an event that is considered in its broader socio-cultural context. Through this work, Carla developed an alternative model of suicide investigation, which sought to build effective engagement with whãnau and communities. This resulted in greater understanding of the dynamics of the respective cases, and much greater potential to engage with whãnau and communities to develop recommendations to lower future risk.

Carla has a BA(Hons) in sociology and Maori Studies and worked in policy and research before training as a lawyer and practicing in the fields of employment and family law, focussing primarily on relationship property and child care work.


Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow

Rory O’Connor PhD CPsychol AFBPsS FAcSS is Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, a Past President of the International Academy of Suicide Research and a Vice President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention. Rory leads the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory (Web:; Twitter: @suicideresearch) at Glasgow, the leading suicide/self-harm research group in Scotland. He also leads the Mental Health & Wellbeing Research Group at Glasgow. He has published extensively in the field of suicide and self-harm, specifically concerning the psychological processes which precipitate suicidal behaviour and self-harm. In addition, he is author of Understanding Suicidal Behaviour (with Noel Sheehy), co-editor of The Routledge Major Works Series on Suicide (with Keith Hawton) and of the International Handbook of Suicide Prevention (2nd edition with Jane Pirkis). He serves on the Scientific Review Board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Archives of Suicide Research and Associate Editor of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, and Behavior Therapy. Rory acts as an advisor to a range of national and international organisations including national governments on the areas of suicide and self-harm. He is also Co-Chair of the Academic Advisory Group to the Scottish Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group.


Founder and Managing Director, Suicide Bereavement UK

Dr Sharon McDonnell is the Founder and Managing Director of Suicide Bereavement UK and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Manchester. She has specialised in suicide bereavement research for over 20 years and is a recognised international leader in this field. Prior to setting up Suicide Bereavement UK, Dr McDonnell led research at the Centre for Mental Health and Safety at the University of Manchester, an internationally recognised research centre with a major influence on UK policy and practice.

Sharon and her research teams have translated research findings into evidence-based suicide bereavement training. These include Postvention Assisting those Bereaved by Suicide (PABBS) and Emergency Services Postvention Response (ESPR) training. Both help address an unmet need and are first of their kind internationally. Dr McDonnell is currently leading the National Suicide Bereavement Survey, a collaboration between the University of Manchester and Support After Suicide Partnership. Over 7,000 people participated in this study. Making it the largest suicide bereavement survey internationally. The report will be launched later this year and will generate national, international and media interest. Sharon has been personally bereaved by suicide and the reason why she works in this field.


Professor of Mental Health Sciences, Ulster University and Interim Mental Health Champion Northern Ireland

Siobhan O’Neill is a Professor of Mental Health Sciences at Ulster University, and Interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland. Her research programmes focus on trauma mental illness and suicidal behaviour in Northern Ireland, and the transgenerational transmission of trauma.

She is now on a mission to improve the mental health of the people of NI by promoting evidence-based services and care for those who suffer from mental illness and suicidal thoughts.

As Interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, she will advise and assist in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing though all policies and services throughout the province. Her role is as a public advocate for mental health, and to be a voice for those otherwise voiceless. Her goal is to communicate the collective voices of people with lived experience and their families and carers, and to advocate for communities impacted by mental health inequalities.


Virtual activities will be built into the program, to allow delegates to network. Further details will be available shortly.