Orygen research fellow Dr Katrina Witt has received the prestigious Andrej Marušič Award in recognition of her research work in youth suicide prevention.
The award was presented at the 30th World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) in Northern Ireland in September.
The Andrej Marušič Award recognises young researchers who are invited to submit a research proposal relating to suicidal behaviour and prevention for consideration.
Dr Witt’s research proposal seeks to examine if there is a pattern in the treatment and services given to young people who present to the emergency department for self-harm. She will examine the effectiveness of different treatment plans on rates of recurrent incidences of self-harm and death by suicide, and how services can be improved to meet future demand in this area.
A major public health problem, suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between 15-44 years, peaking in young people between 15-25 years.
“By investigating how services are currently meeting the needs of young Australians at risk of suicide and how services can be improved, I hope results from this project will provide the blueprint required to achieve stated commitments at both the state and federal government levels to reduce Australia’s suicide toll by half within a decade,” Dr Witt said.
“Given the impetus provided by both the National Productivity Inquiry and the Royal Commission into Mental Health Services in Victoria, it is an opportune point in time to reflect on how we might transform services to better meet the needs of young people at risk of suicide.” Dr Witt said.