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Dr Laura Biggs

Dr Laura Biggs

Dr Laura Biggs of Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and in collaboration with James Cook University, was awarded $99,980 for their Innovation Research Grant project titled:

The hidden epidemic: Suicide in the perinatal period.

Effective perinatal suicide prevention relies on an understanding of the phenomena of suicidality at this time. No research has been identified that reports on women’s experiences of suicidality in the perinatal period. This knowledge is crucial in order to implement effective suicide prevention measures. The study will explore the nature of suicidal thoughts and the social and contextual factors that contribute to suicidal ideation and behaviour in the perinatal period. The research will be undertaken in collaboration with Australia’s leading consumer perinatal mental health service, PANDA – Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia, and James Cook University.

This research aims to:

  • Understand women’s experiences of suicidality in the perinatal period;
  • Produce a grounded theory that explains:
    • The development of ideation;
    • Barriers and facilitators to help-seeking;
    • Access to adequate care;
    • Protective factors against suicidal behaviour.

In a statement, Dr Biggs explains:

“The receipt of this grant allows the research team to conduct the first study to explore and explain women’s experiences of suicidality in the perinatal period. Although suicide is the leading cause of maternal death in Australia, very little is known about women’s experiences at this time. An understanding of factors that contribute to the phenomenon is needed to develop appropriate approaches to assessing and managing suicidal risk in this vulnerable group. This study will achieve this understanding through the development of a theory that explains suicidality during pregnancy and the year following birth.”

For more information on the funding opportunities available through the Suicide Prevention Research Fund please visit this page.