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Leading suicide prevention expert announced as inaugural Trevor Waring Expert in Residence

20 September 2018
Rory Photo Aas

Professor Rory O’Connor has been announced as the inaugural Trevor Waring Expert in Residence and will be travelling to Newcastle to deliver a series of seminars, workshops and meetings from 12-16 November 2018.

The new annual Trevor Waring Expert in Residence Series for the Hunter Region was announced in 2017 as part of Everymind's 25 year celebration, as a legacy to Professor Trevor Waring, the founding Director of the Newcastle-based Institute. It will be an annual event aimed at engaging local health workers, researchers, businesses and the broader community. 

Jaelea Skehan, Director of Everymind, said the Trevor Waring Expert in Residence Series was a partnership between Everymind, the Hunter New England Local Health District and the University of Newcastle, as a way of recognising the significant role Professor Waring played in the community throughout his distinguished career. 

“The Expert in Residence Series and Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture acknowledges the significant roles Professor Waring played in mental health and suicide prevention, and the contribution he made to partnering organisations and the broader Hunter community,” Ms Skehan said.

“Professor Trevor Waring was a mentor to me and many others across our region. He was someone who invested in people and shared his knowledge with clinicians, researchers, health and community workers, workplaces, families and members of the community."

Professor Rory O'Connor is a registered health psychologist with a long-standing interest in suicide research and prevention and has been working in the field since 1994. He is the Director of the Suicidal Behaviour Research Laboratory at the University of Glasgow and the Vice President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention, to name just a few accomplishments.

“Professor Rory O’Connor is a well-respected researcher, clinician and suicide prevention advocate and has demonstrated a keen commitment to sharing his knowledge, collaborating with others and building the next generation of suicidologists. This make him an excellent choice for our inaugural Trevor Waring Expert in Residence,” Ms Skehan said. 

Professor O'Connor has published extensively in the field of suicide and self-harm, specifically concerning the psychological processes which precipitate suicidal behaviour and self-harm. He is the author of ‘Understanding Suicidal Behaviour’, co-editor of The Routledge Major Works Series on Suicide and co-editor of the International Handbook of Suicide Prevention. He also serves on the Scientific Review Board of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is Deputy Chief Editor of Archives of Suicide Research, an Associate Editor of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, serves on the editorial board of Psychology and Health, Crisis, the Open Access Journals Suicidology Online and Psychiatry Journal. Rory acts as an advisor to a wide range of national and international organisations including national governments on the areas of suicide and self-harm.

Professor O’Connor has visited Australia for the National Suicide Prevention Conference in the past and said he looks forward to returning.

“I am really looking forward to visiting Everymind and meeting with people in the Hunter region as the first ever Trevor Waring Expert in Residence,” Professor O'Connor said.

“I have admired the work being delivered by Everymind and other partners for some time and I am excited to explore areas of common interest as we continue to tackle suicide and its prevention.”

Hunter New England Local Health District and the University of Newcastle are working with the team at Everymind to plan Professor O’Connor’s visit to the region. His schedule will include a workshop for local clinicians, a corporate lunch, a series of meetings and talks with local and national services and researchers, as well as the delivery of the inaugural Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture.

“There are many people across our organisations and across our services who will benefit from Professor O’Connor’s visit. He is an excellent speaker, he is generous with his time and he is on the cutting edge of research, policy and practice in suicide prevention internationally,” Ms Skehan said.

“There are many organisations and individuals who have been working together locally and nationally to redesign our approach to suicide prevention and we hope Professor O’Connor’s visit will help to consolidate that work and forward momentum.” 

People are being asked to ‘save the date’ for the first annual Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture, which will be delivered at the Newcastle Conservatorium’s Harold Lobb Concert Hall on the evening of Thursday 15 November. A full schedule of events will be released in the coming weeks, with most events free of charge for local services, researchers and community members.

You can find out more about Professor O’Connor and his work at www.suicideresearch.info, or engage with him on Twitter before his visit @suicideresearch.