Project Title

Suicide among young females: a comparative case study in Australia and India to investigate trends, drivers and service response

Project Type



Research interests of the research team offering the project

The suicide prevention research program comprises a number of discrete projects that together seek to examine the efficacy, safety and acceptability of interventions specifically designed for at-risk young people. It also has a strong focus on informing and evaluating national, and state-based, suicide prevention policy.

Details of the project

Suicide is a leading cause of mortality among young people, worldwide. Suicide rates among young females both in developing and developed countries have seen an upward trend over the past 10 years. We urgently need to understand why young female suicide rates are increasing so dramatically, compared to young men; and what are the different trends, drivers and service response between developed and developing countries.

Aim: to examine what drives suicide rates among young women in Australia and India by looking at the demographic and clinical profile of young females who died by suicide over the last 10 years; and explore young women’s help-seeking behaviours and how services respond, in order to understand possible barriers and facilitators to optimal treatment.

Methods: a comparative case study approach in Australia and India using mixed-methods will allow the PhD student to interrogate these trends to try and understand more about what may be happening, for whom and why. It will also enables us to gain in-depth understanding into the underpinning contextual moderators and mechanisms of self-harm and suicide in the different international contexts.

Project references

  1. Stefanac, N., Hetrick, S., Hulbert, C. et al. Are young female suicides increasing? A comparison of sex-specific rates and characteristics of youth suicides in Australia over 2004–2014. BMC Public Health 19, 1389 (2019).
  2. Global Burden of Disease Collaborative Network. Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 Results. United States: Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), 2018.

Scholarships and fees

A stipend is not available for this PhD project.

Scholarships are available through the University of Melbourne – find out more here. Other scholarship opportunities may also be available but are highly competitive, so please speak to the contact person below for further details.

Information on fees for domestic and international students is available here.

How to apply

  1. Read information for future students here and check your eligibility here.
  2. Read our frequently asked questions here.
  3. Liaise with, and gain the support of, the supervisor/s. Please contact them using the details below and attach a copy of your CV and university transcript(s). 
  4. Once you’ve gained supervisor support, follow the steps outlined by the University of Melbourne here. You can go straight to Step 3. 

You are strongly encouraged to submit your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.


Associate Professor Jo Robinson