Protective pathways for preventing suicide

Project Summary

Each year it is estimated that over 800,000 people die by suicide worldwide and there is a need for research into what helps people defend against suicidal thoughts and behaviours.

This 2-year project explores risk and protective factors for suicide in the community. 

The project aims to better understand how protective factors (e.g., social support, meaning in life) can be used for suicide prevention and intervention from lived experience perspectives.

It is hoped that this project will help contribute to the development of research in the area of suicide protection. 

About the Survey

As part of this project, we will be asking people recruited from Qualtrics’ Market Research Panels to participate in a 25-minute online, anonymous survey. The aim of this survey is to better understand how suicidal thoughts develop into behaviours in the context of risk and protection. The survey will ask participants to share their thoughts and feelings around stressful and/or traumatic life events that they may have experienced, the future, interpersonal relationships and social support, self-coping and resilience, current and past history of mental and physical health symptoms, health service use, suicide history, as well as some demographic questions that have been previously associated with suicide risk

Frequently Asked Questions

Are my answers confidential?

As the survey is anonymous, none of the information that you provide can be traced back to you. All of your information is treated with the utmost privacy, and surveys will be stored on secure servers on the Qualtrics platform (see Qualtrics Security Statement) and at the ANU.

How will my survey answers be used?

The findings from this study will be used in research publications and presentations to, for example, provide lived experience informed recommendations for suicide prevention initiatives and services. Data will only be published or presented in aggregate form.

What if I don’t want to participate in the survey?

Participation in the survey is entirely voluntary. You may, without negative consequences, decline to take part or withdraw from the research at any point before completion of the survey without providing an explanation by discontinuing the survey. You can also decline to answer any questions presented. If you choose to withdraw your data will be deleted.

Who is running the study and where can I find out more information?

If you have any queries about the project or further requests for information, please feel free to contact the Primary Investigator, Dr. Jennifer Ma (email:

How can I obtain information about the results of the study?

Findings from the study will be posted here on the study website after results from the completed surveys are collated.

What should I do if I am feeling distressed?

If you experience any distress related to this study or otherwise, please do not hesitate to contact any of the following established state and national based crisis support services and mental health service providers:

Lifeline Australia: 13 11 14

Beyondblue: 1300 224 636

MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78

Kids Helpline (for people aged 25 and under): 1800 55 1800

Suicide call-back service: 1300 659 467


New South Wales: NSW Health or 1800 011 511

Victoria: Vic Health or 1300 651 251 (SuicideLine)

Queensland: QLD Health or 1300 642 255

Western Australia: WA Health or 1800 676 822 (metro) or 1800 552 002 (rural/remote)

South Australia: SA Health or 13 14 65 (crisis team)

Tasmania: TAS Health or 1800 332 388 (crisis team)

Australian Capital Territory: ACT Health or 1800 629 354 (crisis team)

Northern Territory: NT Health or 1800 682 288 (crisis team)


Mental health information lines:

MindSpot: 1800 61 44 34 (8am-8pm weekdays, 8am-6pm Sat)

SANE Australia: 1800 187 263 (10am-10pm weekdays)


Does this study have ethics approval?

The ethical aspects of this research have been approved by the ANU Human Research Ethics Committee (Protocol 2022/121).

If you have any concerns or complaints about how this research has been conducted, please contact:

Ethics Manager

The ANU Human Research Ethics Committee

The Australian National University

Telephone: +61 2 6125 3427




This project is supported by a Suicide Prevention Australia Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship and 2022 National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health (NCEPH) Research Seed Funding Award.