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Suicide Research Unit

Director: Prof. Helen CHIU

The Suicide Research Unit was established in 2004 to address the worldwide public health burden related to suicidal behavior. Our primary goal is to build collaborative national and international research network that ultimately translates research findings to effective intervention strategies and health policies. Our unit has been working closely with the World Health Organization, Peking University's Institute of Mental Health, The University of Rochester's Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide through a number of research projects that investigate biopsychosocial risk factors for suicide in high-risk communities and population sectors in Hong Kong and China, namely "Psychological Autopsy Study of Elderly Suicide in Hong Kong", "Psychological Autopsy Study of Non-elder Suicide in Hong Kong", "Prevalence of Suicidal Ideation and Its Correlates in Rural Chinese Residents Ages 16-34 in Mianyang, Sichuan", "Cerebrovascular Risk Factors and Late-Life Suicide", "Trend analysis of suicide surveillance data and evaluation of the effect of SARS outbreak on elderly suicide rates in Hong Kong", "Epidemiologic survey on prevalence of clinically significant depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation among cognitively-impaired elders in the community", and "WHO's START!" (World Health Organization's International Collaborative and Comparative Study in the Western Pacific Region, Suicide Trends in At-Risk Territories). The series of high-quality suicide studies have received supports from competitive research grants such as the Research Grant Council and the US Federal Government's National Institute of Health.

Selected Publications:

  1. Chiu HFK, Yip PSF, Chi I, Chan SSM, Tsoh J, Kwan CW, Li SF, Conwell Y, Caine ED. Elderly Suicide in Hong Kong??A case--controlled Psychological Autopsy Study. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 2004; 109(4): 299-305.
  2. Tsoh J, Chiu HF, Duberstein PR, Chan S, Chi I, Yip PS, Conwell Y. Attempted suicide in elderly Chinese persons: a multi-group, controlled study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2005;13(7):562-71.
  3. Chan SSM, Chiu HFK, Lam LCW, Leung VPY. Elderly Suicide and the 2003 SARS epidemic in Hong Kong SAR. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2006; 21:113-118.
  4. Sandra S Chan, Jeffrey M Lyness, Conwell Yeates. Do Cerebrovascular Risk Factors Confer Risk for Suicide in Later Life? A Case-Control Study. American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 2007; 15(6): 541-544
  5. Chan SSM, Pang EPF, Chiu HFK. Validity of best-estimate methodology for assessing psychosocial risk factors and making psychiatric diagnosis among suicide attempters. The Hong Kong Journal of Psychiatry 2007;17(2): 55-63