UC Science Radio Season 2: Episode 8
Taylor-Jane Cox: Solving the suicide crisis
Growing up in rural New Zealand, Taylor-Jane Cox felt first-hand the impact of losing people she knew to suicide. Now, she is investigating what’s behind our country’s alarming suicide statistics and seeking solutions to support our most susceptible group – young men.
Studying clinical psychology at the University of Canterbury, Taylor-Jane’s research focuses on the risk factors that contribute to, and protective factors that buffer against, hopelessness and suicidal ideation in young men, especially rural men. Learn more in this episode of UC Science Radio.
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In this episode
0.56 For my research, I looked at psychological risk and protective factors of suicidality, which is both suicidal ideation and behaviours.
1.40 about 75% of suicide in New Zealand is men, and the highest group is this really vulnerable stage between 18-30 years old. That's where we wanted to start first of all.
2.31 A really sad statistic that came out of our study was around 10% of the men identified as having attempted to take their life at some point or had serious suicidal behaviour.
3.10 The reason why we wanted to focus on rural men as well as their own type of group is because there are high rates of suicide in rural areas, and there's lots of things that contribute to that. For example you know social isolation, lack of supports in rural areas, poor mental health services
3.45 I saw first-hand the impact of losing some people that I know to suicide, in rural areas, and seeing the wave effect it has on that society.
4.55 we focused on hopelessness, which is a really strong predictor of both suicidal ideation and behaviour… we also wanted to look at things like resilience and grit, which are these quite new and emerging protective factors of suicide.
6.42 everyone has bumps in their road and high grit means that you are able to persevere through those things and come out the other side.
7.15 everyone has a strength in them, even if they don't feel like they do at the time.
8.07 I think that we need to keep growing and starting to move towards this protective approach against suicide, because the way we've been approaching it hasn't been working and our stats are continuing to rise and so I think it needs a huge uphaul from the way we tackle it.
9.03 Social connectiveness, you know, is such an important factor in being mentally well, and so we need to really think about what types of groups and community supports we have out there.
Read a transcript of the full interview.
Meet our speakers
Taylor-Jane Cox is a Master’s student studying clinical psychology at the University of Canterbury. Her research focuses on the risk factors that contribute to, and protective factors that buffer against, hopelessness and suicidal ideation in young men, especially rural men.
“I think that we need to keep growing and starting to move towards this protective approach against suicide, because the way we've been approaching it hasn't been working and our stats are continuing to rise and so I think it needs a huge uphaul from the way we tackle it.”
Molly Magid is an MSc student at UC. A recent graduate of Brown University, Molly is working on research in conservation genomics with Associate Professor Tammy Steeves from the School of Biological Sciences. Molly is passionate about finding ways to communicate science to the public in a clear, novel, and engaging ways. Most recently, Molly worked as the lead student producer on the podcast Possibly, which answers listener's questions about sustainability using relevant science research.
Where to get help
Need to talk? Phone or text 1737 - for support from a trained counsellor.
Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 - for support if you’re in distress or someone may be at risk of suicide or for those who are grieving a loss.
Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254 – for support for people living in rural communities.
Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or free text 4357 (HELP) - for counselling and support.
Samaritans: 0800 726 666 - for confidential support for anyone who is lonely or in emotional distress.
The Lowdown: 0800 111 757 or free text 5626 – for counselling and support for young adults.
Warmline: 0800 899 276 (0800-89-WARM) – for peer support for mental health issues.
EAP Services: 0800 327 669 – for counselling and support for staff.
Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234, email email@example.com – for support for young people, children and their families.
What’s Up: 0800 942 878 – for support for 5-18 year olds.
Kidsline: 0800 543 754 – for support for children up to 18.
Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 – for support with depression.
24/7 Anxiety Helpline: 0800 269 4389 – for support with anxiety.